Sep 272009
 

P1100134 BlogHer Food in San Francisco was one long day of group hug. It started at the networking breakfast at 8 a.m. and ended at the after-party thrown by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes beginning at 8 p.m.

Here you can see just part  of the crowd, everyone talking at once in deafening volume, in the hallway in front of the bookseller.

Read about the party… I mean conference, on these early posts from Carrots ‘N Cake and Kath Eats Real Food. Well, girls just want to have fun. And we did.

Sponsors, who subsidized the cost of the event, prevailed between the sessions. Hunky Chef Rocco DiSpirito hawked Bertolli frozen meals over a grouimagesp lunch while they actually served us the frozen pasta as entrees. (Hello?!) Celebrity chef and Citizen Cake owner Elizabeth Faulkner demoed with Scharffen-Berger during a break, and booth people plied us with cans of chicken stock and spray Pillsbury frosting for a cupcake challenge. A classy cocktail party on the rooftop sponsored by Campbell’s Soup Co. capped off the official part of the day. I was so excited about seeing bloggers in person after reading their work online and Twittering and Facebooking with them, I almost didn’t mind.

And oh yeah, we went to sessions on such topics as the blogger’s voice (where I was a panelist), best practices, and new opportunities. More on what I learned later. First I need to lie down.

Did you go or write a post about the day? Have a comment? Let me know.

P.S. Updates: Transcripts of BlogHer Food 09 sessions are now online. More reports on the conference from Simply Recipes, Pioneer Woman, GlutenFree Girl, Tartelette, and Steamy Kitchen.

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Sep 082009
 

images-1Let’s hit the beach, bask in the sun and get to know each other. I’m delighted to announce the first annual Food Blogger Camp at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific in Ixtapa, Mexico, January 9-16, 2010.

Club Med is giving away accommodations for seven nights, coach airfare, and a scholarship for one sweepstakes winner. You’ll get to meet and hang out with me, plus some of the most talented food bloggers, authors, and food photographers in the business.

At the Boot Camp, we’ll have workshops on how to improve blogging, photography Continue reading »

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Aug 052009
 

images 18-55-03A while back I read a piece in the New York Times called “Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest.” It said that according to a survey by Technorati last year, only 7.5 million of the 133 million blogs it tracks were updated in the past 120 days. That means 95 percent are not active with any regularity.

Whoa. I’m trying for two posts per week. It’s only been a month since I started this thing, and I am still surprised by how long it takes me to write and publish an entry. Even if it’s short, it takes several hours. What I’ve learned so far is not to start a new post on deadline day, but to have some  ideas and maybe a preliminary draft in the hopper. (Of course, when I’m advising clients about starting a blog, I tell them to come up with a list of 10 topics before they begin. Easier to dish it out, apparently.)

Looking for inspiration, I asked some food bloggers about creativity and productivity. I started with Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen:

Q. Do you have an editorial calendar to determine blog posts?images 11-22-09
A. Absolutely. Mondays and Tuesdays are my highest traffic days, so I usually post Sunday night or Monday morning, depending how good the TV shows are on Sunday nights. I also find time to post Wednesday or Thursday. Twice to three times a week is my norm.

Q. How far in advance do you write drafts?
A. I don’t write drafts, unless they are recipes that I’m working on. Blogging is a spontaneous medium. I write exactly how I feel in the moment and I’d just feel strange if I was writing for tomorrow.

Q. How do you keep the inspiration flowing?
A. By having fantastic support group and friends like Elise (Simply Recipes), Diane (White on Rice Couple), and Bee ( Rasamalaysia). We’re always throwing ideas back and forth, listening to each other rant and rave, and teaching each other things. We’re a team. That’s important. Plus there’s a whole ‘nother side of blogging that isn’t talked about much: the “job” of blogging. My full time job is my blog, which is very different than 99% of others. The technical and monetization side of blogging certainly keeps me on my toes. Between those three areas, I get all the variety and excitement I need for the week.

Anytime I need inspiration or feel like I need a kick in the pants, I usually start a new branch or project. My newest one is Good Bite.

Q. How many hours per week do you spend on your blog?
A. You don’t want to know.

images-1 11-22-57Then I asked another veteran, Amy of Cooking with Amy, for advice. She said she’s almost always composing posts in her head. “By the time I sit down to write it generally goes pretty quickly. I also no longer beat myself up if I only get one or two posts out a week. I try to write something then save it as a draft and return to it later to edit it.” Sarah at Lettuce Eat Kale said she keeps an editorial calendar and planannehamersky_09032_0482s a month ahead. She posts three times per week. “The best advice I got,” she said, “Is post when you can, keep it fun. If it feels like a chore or burden or added stress, then step back and think about what your goals are. So far, I look forward to writing my posts.”

Now I feel more encouraged. It’s always satisfying to reach out an talk with people who know more about this than me. I also found a terrific article on ProBlogger, “Seven Ways to Keep Fresh Content Flowing. ” And I’d like to learn more.

What about you? If you’re a blogger, how do you keep the posts coming? Do you plan out an editorial calendar? Block out time in your datebook? Write lots of drafts and store them until ready? Please share your strategies with me. I’m the new kid on the block.

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