My Top Blogging Tips from Food Blogger Connect 5

I remember thinking about how I wished I had gone to Food Blogger Connect last year and what I really wanted when I visited the bloggers sites that had attended wasn’t really the whole detailed description about the food, who they met or even what they ate. I wanted to know what they had learned. So that is exactly what I have done for you here. The tips I found very useful are all listed below. 

blogging tips

After all, the blogging world is all about sharing information and that is what I love to do. There is just so much to be learned from the likes of David Lebovitz,Emma Gardner, Penny De Los Santos, Karen Burns-Booth, Ren Behan,Emily Jonzen, Niamh Shilelds and Kerstin Rogers to name a few. I think what they all  share is an individuality expressed through engaging with their audience by being themselves and not who they think they should be. Believe me, if you aren’t yourself in your  blogging, but who you think you should be, you will be found out. Don’t do it. Be real.

My top tips for blogging from FBC5 are as follows :-

David Lebovitz

Blogging is hard work. It took David 9 years to reach the tip of his game. So don’t expect recognition for what  you do in the early days. Remember, quality content is good and you will eventually be found and appreciated.

People like to hear about your flaws, imperfections and mistakes. Turn them into a story and win over your readers by admitting you are no more perfect than the rest of us.

Edit then edit some more. No-one needs to see 3 or 4 photos of exactly the same dish but from different angles. This is unnecessary so go with one killer image.

Test you recipes well. David is a complete perfectionist, often testing his recipes 18/20 times before he is totally happy. After all, the recipes are what your food blog is all about. If  your recipes aren’t reliable, readers may not return. If you are lucky someone will tell you about a mistake you have made, but essentially it should be down to you and your desire to get the dish right before posting.

Blogging 2 or 3 times a week is good. 1 is acceptable and any ore than 3 times is too much. Try to keep  consistent in your posting schedule. 

Niamh Shields

Niamh has been blogging for 6 years. Again, no sudden success. But she started out when there really were not many other food blogs out there.

Her advice was to give up on trying to seek approval from Foodgawker and Tastespotting. Rejection can have a negative effect on you and your blog.

This also goes for following your stats too closely on Google analytics. Niamh again, doesn’t pay too  much attention to how many page views or followers from around  the world she has.

She loves to receive comments and feels this is a good way of hearing directly about what readers enjoy about your posts.

Take inspiration from other blogs but do not imitate their styles. You must be yourself in order to be successful and trying to keep up an appearance as someone who isn’t actually you is just impossible anyway!

Emma Gardner

Emma also stopped trying to seek acceptance from Food Gawker and Tastespotting as she was not having photos accepted by them.

In the end, she was trying to fit in with what she thought they wanted her pictures to look like and not doing what she wanted to do. This is bad for you and if you visit Emma’s blog, you will realise how she made the right choice. And she won Food blog of the year last year which proves the point.

Emma also doesn’t rely too heavily on statistics. She uses her own judgement on how to be creative and also tests her recipes many times before posting.

Individuality and having touch of humanity as well as your own voice are essential. 

Karen Burns-Booth

Tips on how to get your work published:-

Enter competitions with your recipes. A great way to get noticed.

Always use high resolution images as good photography will get you noticed.

Karen suggests triple testing recipes before posting. Perhaps a little more realistic than David’s 18 to 20 but remember that the recipes are what you are selling to your readers so reliability is key if you want people to have faith in your food.

Ren Behan

Tips on how to get your work published:-

Find a niche, identify what and who you are. What food and style represents your blog?

There are so many food blogs now, you will have to be very good at what you do to make it and get noticed.

Make connections via other bloggers and attending food blogging events. 

Penny De Los Santos

Penny believes in the importance of telling a story when you are writing about food.How the dish you have made came to be, where the ingredients originate from. Writing about food is recounting a tale that includes social history. 

Penny herself as a successful photographer likes to dig deep under the surface of what she is photographing. There are always two sides to a story, she says. One. What is happening on the surface. Two. What is going on beneath that superficial surface. The second is what Penny likes to concentrate her artistic efforts on. As a result, her work if full of depth and meaning.

So tell a story when you blog. If you find this hard to do, just imagine you are writing  a letter to your best friend. Make it personal and your personality will shine through.

Emily Jonzen

Food styling top tips:-

Props add movement to a photograph.

When using props, go for dull metals as shiny and new tend to catch the light too much and detract from  the food.

When starting out with props, stick to white and neutrals and build up a collection of props gradually. 

Go to charity shops for your props but also visit a prop hire company for inspiration.

Never over fill your plate with food, it look s heavy and out of proportion.

Use a water sprtizer  to keep your food looking fresh.

Keep your herbs and salad leaves in iced water to stay perfectly fresh and crisp.

Kerstin Rogers

Kerstin was discussing how to set up your own supper club, which is not something I am thinking of doing so I took no notes.

Do you know what, I am so glad I didn’t. Kerstin is a totally engaging, fascinating, strong and oh so witty raconteur. I just listened and laughed and took note that someone with such a great personality was always bound to do well from  blogging. And she has. But, yet again, Kerstin has been blogging for many years. 

Success does not come overnight. She has worked hard at it. A common theme running through all of  these successful bloggers talks. So work hard at your blog and have a voice, your voice. Don’t be flaky.

Regula Ysewijn

Regula is a graphic designer as well as a photographer so she most definitely suggests getting yourself a good logo.

Once you have a logo you are happy with, use it on all of your social media so that people come to recognise you.

Logos don’t come cheap but they are essential to make you stand out from  the crowd and  get noticed.

Develop your own writing style and stick with it. That goes for subject matter. If you are a food blog, don’t start writing about  your toddler tantrums or how amazing your new sofa is. Stick to food and create another blog if you need to write about non-food subject matter.

Choose your typography and make sure it fits with the style of your blog. Are you modern, traditional, floral, bold, whimsical. Choose your style and agin, stick with it. Be consistent.

Regula recommends using the same profile picture on all social media again so that everyone can recognise you.  

That is a long list of very useful tips that I hope have helped you as much as they did me.

I will leave you with a little list of the stand-out food items that took my fancy at FBC5.

blogging tips

  • The Charcoal Biscuit and other cheese biscuits of the highest quality.

  • RareTeaCompany teas with superb flavours.

  • Gran Luchito smoked chipotle paste and more.

  • Moose Maple Butter a maple syrup flavoured butter that is crazily good.

  • Petit Gateau run by Cindy, a self taught artisan baker with huge talent.

    Coming up next on my blog is my Cucumber entry for One Ingredient. If you would like to add a recipe that contains cucumber then feel free to HERE!

 

Comments

  1. Nice summary and good to hear what Kerstin and Regula had to say as I missed their presentations. Thanks!

  2. This is a great round up. I think recipe testing is so important and I also totally agree on logos – can’t wait to get one designed once I’m married and no longer saving for the wedding! :-)

  3. Work hard and stay true to yourself. Good life lessons as well as food blog lessons!
    Enjoyed your post very much.

  4. Great round-up, glad you took something away from my talk and shame we din’t get to meet – or did we? Gosh so many people you meet over the weekend!!
    Take care!

  5. All good tips thank you I shall be putting these into practice .

  6. Thank you for taking the time to compile these useful tips, I particularly like the one about Foodgawker:-)

  7. Some great tips from some of the wonderful speakers at the event. Was lovely to see you

  8. Thank you so much for sharing all these valuable points, I’m sorry I missed FBC5, so many fascinating speakers and I would have loved to see both you and Nazima.
    Have a wonderful summer, lots of exciting cooking ahead I’m sure.
    Jude x

    • It would have been great to see you there Jude. I am looking forward to reading all og your French posts and can’t wait to be in France to eating seafood on the beach. Enjoy your summer xx

  9. Lots of good advice here, thanks for putting it all together Laura – I missed out on FBC5, so it’s been good to catch up on some of the highlights through your post.

    • It would have been great to meet you and talk about gardens but I know it isn’t easy to commit to a full weekend of FBC. Pleased you enjoyed reading about some of what I learned!

  10. Hi Laura

    Reading your account brought back of memories of FBC5, plus enlightened me on some of the presentations I missed. Thanks for this. It was one hell of a weekend, and I learned so much and met so many interesting people.

    Thanks

    Alison

    • I am pleased you came to visit Alison. It was lovely to meet you gain today and I will be over to visit your website as soon as I get a chance. You are right, what a weekend it was!

  11. A very interesting post. Thanks for sharing these tips Laura. It is particularly refreshing to read Emma’s views on statistics/Foodgawker etc. I think too many of us (myself included at one stage) become obsessed by these things with the result that blogging becomes a bit of a chore and we lose sight of why we started to blog in the first place.

    • Thanks Claire, Emma was such so interesting and well spoken and so refreshing to hear her views on blogging and how easy it is to get caught up in the whole stats & FoodGawker thing. I am sure if I did get accepted I would be over the moon but I must admit I prefer the writing side of blogging to the photography side!

  12. A nice summary and really easy to read Laura. I’m glad you shared Emma’s thoughts. I’ve not seen her mentioned in any other post so far – so glad you took time to refer to her here. Interesting that even the award winning photographers get rejected from Foodgawker. I take great comfort from that and will not be pursuing it any longer! Glad you got so much out of the weekend Laura :-)

    • Jac, it would have been great to get to see you there but I know it isn’t always possible. Emma was so interesting and her attention to detail shone through as did her commitment. She has so much talent as did all the speakers. A really varied insight into what they all get out of blogging. Success it seems is now high on the list for them all!

  13. A WONDERFUL write-up Laura and I am so pleased you enjoyed my and Ren’s talk too! You have captured lots of great points in this post and as ever, it was LOVELY to see you again! Karen 

  14. PS: re FoodGawker, I am on a roll at the moment, but I would not recommend it t others as the rejection at first was awful! I am now MUCH more relaxed about it all, and sometimes forget to submit my photos! 

  15. Thanks for mentioning Moose Maple Butter! I really enjoyed reading your piece – thank you! It was great to have met you.

  16. Thank you Laura, this is a really useful summary of FBC for those of us not able to go. The message to “be yourself” comes through load and clear. Most of it is common sense, but it’s really good to hear it from such successful bloggers. Must have been fun to have the chance to meet up with so many.

    • Yes, it was so rest to meet everyone that I would never normally get a chance to meet. Having amazing weather too helped and it was an experience I may not get to do again so well worth going :)

  17. Superb summary of essential points from the weekend. Your shorthand is obviously up to scratch :D Getting a logo is top of my list for sure, but I really need to think about how such a tiny little thing (spacewise) can represent me and my blog. Hmmm. I really enjoyed all of the talks but I have to say Ren and Karen’s double act was fantastically well done and useful. I am not pursuing the publication route at this point in time but I made copious notes just in case! My fave treat was the cold Rare Tea Company tea – they had me at ice! >>Boy howdy, it is hot in your neck of the woods! :D

    • I agree that tea was something special, i could have done with a pint of it. Was great to see you there and I hope to see you again. I was also surprised by how much I had actually written down, which amounted to this blog post!

  18. Hello Laura! This post is very interesting, thank you for sharing what you have learned. I could not be online lately and I am thinking if I want to be online at all. It was refreshing to read that you can be online if you work hard and produce a few good recipes rather than a huge amount of posts about everything. Thanks. Rita

    • Oh I would hate to think you may not continue to be online with your blog Rita and in fact I do sometimes feel blogs can take over your life but at the same time it is lovely to share good recipes with others. It doesn’t have to be more than once a week i think personally. This, as a mother of 3 children is realistic. We have lives to lead but also love our cooking and writing! Difficult to balance!

  19. Thank you Laura for the great write up and mentions. So hard to find any motivation to blog over the summer and it’s hard when the kids are off but I am finally catching up and getting round to reading some of the FBC posts. I was really inspired by David, Emma and Niamh’s first talk – and am planning on getting back to basics come September. More organic content, less PR stuff etc. So pleased you enjoyed the conference. See you again soon x 

  20. Thanks for such a useful post for a newbie food blogger like me!

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