I recently went to my first food blog conference from Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2. It was called “Eat, Write, Retreat” and was put together by two incredible individuals: Casey Benedict and Robyn Webb. Casey is the founder of TasteStopping, which publishes beautiful food photos that were rejected by other giants: TasteSpotting, FoodGawker, and Photograzing. She is also the founder of Kitchen Play, which connects food bloggers and food PR. Robyn is a well-known cookbook author and nutritionist who has been featured on networks such as ESPN, Food Network, Discovery Channel, Lifetime, and more!
Casey and Robyn put together this intensive learning retreat to help strengthen connections in the food blog community. This year is the third year they held this conference and seeing as it was literally right in my own backyard in Philadelphia, PA, I had to go!! I will admit, I went into it a little timid. I had no idea if I would be surrounded by very experienced bloggers and feel overwhelmed by it all. But I was happy to find with close to 100 attendees, it ranged from people just starting out in blogging to people who have been doing it for years. There was even someone I became friends with, Ketki, whose blog unfortunately was recently hacked and is not currently up and running. But that didn’t stop her from attending and getting all the information she could to use once her blog is back up! Check her blog out: The Language of Spices – if it’s not up now, hopefully it will be soon! (**Update as of 8/21, this website no longer exists**)
There were a handful of local bloggers as well as people from all over the country. There were even some bloggers that came all the way from Canada!!! (I had a super-fun time one night introducing them to Steve’s Prince of Steaks and teaching them the correct way to order a Philly Cheesesteak! They initially doubted me on the whiz, but immediately knew it was the right decision once they took the first bite!)
Throughout the weekend, I not only had the chance to meet some really cool people but had the opportunity to expand my knowledge about blogging. I learned more about search engine optimization, tips on using google analytics, and got some great food photography tips. I got some insights on the importance of networking for my blog, gained some tips on prioritizing, and saw some great canning and BBQ demos! Oh, and an added plus? There were prizes and giveaways all weekend…and guess what I won!?!? A $500 Calphalon gift card! Time to do some serious shopping!!!
I’m definitely looking forward to sharing some of my newly gained knowledge over the next few weeks of blogging. Stay tuned!
And in the meantime, check out some of my new food blogger friends who are local to the Philadelphia area!