I attended my first ever food conference last week and I loved every second of it!! Twitter was buzzing the entire time, and the love fest continued all throughout closing dinner.
— Lori’s Culinary (@snowluvnferret2) May 22, 2016
The three days were packed with valuable information, sponsor networking, and of course, excellent food. The A-list speakers ranged from top entrepreneurs, leading food bloggers, and brand strategists. This year, Everything Food Conference was hosted by Kami and Sabrina and took place in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah. Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income kicked off the conference as keynote speaker, so you know it started off on the right foot!
— Phil Pallen (@philpallen) May 20, 2016
The conference was inspiring and needless to say, it was hard to leave. I left Salt Lake overwhelmed (in a very good way), motivated to get back to work, and with lots of great new connections. Here are the five things I learned at Everything Food Conference 2016.
1. Work Smarter
In the busy space of food blogging, the number of things to do is always growing: writing posts, learning photography, managing email, mastering social media. I get sidetracked too easily and veer off course far too often. Pat Flynn focused his talk on working smarter by focusing on just one thing.
This concept was best shared in his example showing a couple different projects in the works, for example working on a post and managing a newsletter. If you work on your post on Monday, and the newsletter on Tuesday, and then back to the post on Wednesday and so on, you will have finished your blog post and partially completed the newsletter by the end of the week.
Another way to approach this is to start with the post on Monday and continue working on it on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Once the blog post is published, you move onto the newsletter on Friday. By the end of the week two projects have been completed.
An even more focused approach is to start with the post on Monday and continue working on it for several days. By Thursday you think of exciting ways to improve the blog post even more so that it becomes a cooler and even better post. By the end of the week, by focusing on just one thing, the post has turned into the best version of the post possible.
2. Brand yourself
In a crowded sea of bloggers and entrepreneurs it is important to stand out. What makes you special? How can you influence others? But finding and verbalizing your identity is really hard to do.
Phil Pallen, an L.A based brand and social media strategist had us do an exercise to drive this point home. We were given one minute to explain our brand to a partner. After one minute of fumbling around and trying my best to piece together my identity, my partner gave feedback and was asked to retell my brand back to me. When I heard her interpretation of my brand, I realized I had a lot to work on. This was eye opening and really tough to do. Try it for yourself. Set a timer and go!
It’s hard, right? But branding yourself is essential to building your ideal audience. Phil put it perfectly when he said, “your vibe attracts your tribe.” Just make sure you can explain your vibe in one or two sentences.
3. Choose three social media platforms
The number of networking, sharing, and promoting platforms is endless; Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Google plus, Youtube, Reddit, etc. You get the picture. Instead of doing many platforms poorly, choose three and do them well.
Phil Pallen suggested we choose three platforms, give them purpose, and be consistent. By doing this we can stay focused and committed to making them great. This is the best way to engage your audience, build more fans, and maintain sanity!
4. Livestreaming is the future
Chef Dennis from Ask Chef Dennis said it perfectly when he said, “livestreaming is the future and the future is now.” If you haven’t made a Facebook, Snapchat, or Youtube account yet, it is time to start. People love watching them and brands are hungry for them.
The truth is, I know nothing about all of this. I didn’t even know Facebook had livestream capabilities! But I do now, and thanks to Amanda Rettke from I am Baker, I gained some clarity in the all-too-frustrating world of Facebook. She shared insights on setup, analytics, editing, and equipment necessary to succeed. If you have a recipe to share, or questions to answer, just take it live!
5. Keep it about the food
People come to your blog to read good content and that starts with great food photography. Lindsay Ostrom, the founder of Pinch of Yum stressed this point as she shared her power tips for capturing great food photos.
But taking good photos, expressing yourself, and finding your personal style is hard to do. The best lesson I learned from this was studying food photography in a tangible way. That means finding photos that inspire you, then analyze and compare them to your own. Write down what you like and what you don’t. Continue to practice and take lots of photos. The more you do, the more of you you’ll find in your photography.
I left Everything Food Conference with new exciting tools and ideas on how to improve myself and my blog. If you’re thinking about attending a food conference, take the plunge and do it. To be honest, I was nervous about going and hesitant to sign up. But, I am so glad I did! I learned so much and had a blast finally meeting other bloggers in person.
How about you? Did you go and did you enjoy it as much as I did? If so, email or comment and tell me about it!