Reflections of A Future Food Blogger on Food Blog South 2013

Food Blog South 2013 gave me 10 Takeaways to make the work I present here as a blogger better. And, I’m just about ready to offer insights related to food elsewhere on the World Wide Web.

HOMEWOOD, Ala. — After spending an entire Saturday talking about food at Food Blog South 2013, I am just full of ideas as I plan to eventually provide some blog posts that focus on the subject of food in the very, very near future.

Outside of an alert, those food-related posts WON’T BE HERE on this blog.   But, you’ll be the first to know when I launch into this area of interest in a space that I’ve had set aside for a couple of years.

Today, I had the pleasure of participating in what I think was the BEST conference I’ve ever attended on JUST the subject of blogging.   We talk about the kind of stuff I do here all the time at journalism gatherings. But, most of time, it’s a single 75-minute session or a mini-workshop or seminar with a few tips and that’s it.

Since eight o’clock  this morning, I’ve been hearing the stories of those who have been blogging for many years and some who have started only recently.   I heard firsthand how blogging can make a difference in one’s life– beyond just in the  information or insight provided.

“The refreshing thing about blogging is it’s relevant and we don’t really know where it’s going, said Hunter Lewis, executive editor of Southern Living.  “The way we share information has changed, the content [we share] has not.

Lewis, who previously served as food editor at Bon Appetit, urged the more than 200 attendees at this third edition of Food Blog South, to remember to serve their audience.

“You’re nothing without your readers,” he said.

Lewis was part of the “Welcome panel” that kicked a day of sessions related to all aspects of blogging from getting one started to coming up with memorable recipes to share to writing blog posts about restaurant experiences.

Attendees came from all across the Southeast to gain insight from those who have “made it big” on cooking television shows and as publishers of multiple books on food.

Organizers say this soldout event was the biggest Food Blog South since the January event started in 2011.   Attendees were encouraged to register now for the 2014 gathering.

Not enough knowledge

One thing I learned is that I have a lot of learn about writing in this space.   Despite my professional journalism training and teaching,  I’m still a major neophyte when it comes to blogging.

My very first blog post on October 11, 2005, was more than seven years ago.  It had pictures and links.  But, great blog posts have community.   Even after moving from that original blogging platform here more than two years ago, that community is still rather elusive, at least based on the traffic to the blog.

“It’s more important that you post than to have a post that gets you traffic,” said Adam Roberts, author of the The Amateur Gourmet, who did a session today on “How to Write a Really Good Blog Post.”  “You have a pact with your readers.”

According to Roberts, every time I post here, I am making good on a pact that I have with you here.

His list of 10 Post Types is worth repeating:

  1. The Beautiful Recipe Post
  2. The Novel Recipe Post
  3. The Pop Culture Reference Post (THE MOST SUCCESSFUL)
  4. The Carefully Researched Post (MY FAVORITE)
  5. The ‘Eat Your Way/Cook Your Way Through It’ Post
  6. The List Post
  7. The Creative Storytelling Post
  8. The Negative Rant Post
  9. The Food TV Recap Post
  10. The Emotional/’ Bear Your Soul’ Post (The MOST TOUCHING)

I had never heard of Roberts or most of the presenters and the sponsoring organizations at FoodBlog South.

Roberts and several other men presented at the conference.  But, in the audience, there seemed to few bloggers of the male persuasion taking in the knowledge.

I even asked one of the speakers, why there were so few guys at this conference, which seemed to be about 80% women.

Chip Brantley was one of the males who has inspired me to share my food interests online.   He's the reason I came to FoodBlog South 2013.  Today he moderated a panel one of two ALL-FEMALE blogger panels I attended.
Chip Brantley was one of the males who has inspired me to share my food interests online. He’s the reason I came to FoodBlog South 2013. Today he introduced panelists for one of two ALL-FEMALE blogger panels I attended.

Not enough guys

The female blogger, who shall remain nameless, frankly said that guys who blog are either talking about booze (beer and wine),  meat, or they’re gay.

As frank or matter-of-fact as her comments were, they also were kind of sad.    Lots of men who cook also blog and they’re NOT in one of those above-mentioned categories.

Hunter Lewis’ experience as a foodie who made it big was reported recently in a radio story at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, proves it.

There are hundreds or even thousands of “Men Who Cook” around the Southern U.S.  But, is our food blogging an area where women dominate?

I don’t drink and I’m not gay, but I do LOVE meat.   Perhaps I will fall into that meat-loving box of “blogging roles for men.”

So, with what did I leave Rosewood Hall in Homewood, Ala. (a very nice facility, I might add) as I get ready to dive into some aspect of food blogging from the perspective of George Lamar Daniels???

10 Takeaways from Food Blog South 2013:

  1. I need a mission statement for this and any other blog I manage.
  2. I need to learn how to take pictures with an iPhone or smartphone or other mobile device with Apps

    Beau Gustafson now shoots food photographs for Birmingham's B-METRO Magazine.  His insight on images with mobile phones was invaluable.
    Beau Gustafson now shoots food photographs for Birmingham’s B-METRO Magazine. His insight on images with mobile phones was invaluable..
  3. I need to read widely online. (There are so many food and recipe web sites to which I was oblivious)
  4. I need to read at least two books in this arena.  ( I purchased them today)
  5. I will have lots of competition.  (Food bloggers are great in numbers, but the good ones will rise to the top)
  6. I need to find my niche.  (While I may start out talking about a meal I fixed, enjoyed at a restaurant or want to learn how to make, I have to go another level)
  7. I need to bring my students along for the ride.  (This venture today was also about what I can add to my teaching.  There was plenty to share as early as this MONDAY in class.)
  8. It’s not just me who a spends hours researching and writing a post.
  9. I must market myself.
  10. I am my only limitation  (Finding the time to do this will be difficult, but fun.  The only person stopping me from doing this is me.)

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

4 thoughts on “Reflections of A Future Food Blogger on Food Blog South 2013”

  1. That woman was misinformed. There are a range of male bloggers; just recently there was the Dad 2.0 Summit where dad bloggers had a conference.

    There are also the sartorial male bloggers who truly are the sharp dressed blogging men, both gay and straight. Even in food blogging there are guys that specialize in Paleo, Gluten Free and Vegan blogging.

    Folks need to be careful about the pigeon holes and pre-conceived notions. Those pigeon holds are cramped placed.

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