My dearest Canadian food bloggy friends,
If you have the means to attend this year's FBC Food Blogger Conference, but choose not to, you're missing out in more ways than you think.
Allow me to explain.
April 12, 2013. I awoke to a stomach that was fashioned in Boy Scout-style knots. Sleep had eluded me much of the night and Mother Nature was having an epic hissy fit outside.
I'd been deliciously awaiting this weekend for months, but now that it was finally upon me, I grew more nervous as the minutes went by. I could barely eat my breakfast, my second cup of coffee wasn't settling very well, and I still didn't know what to wear, especially with the unexpected shards of ice falling outside my window. Ugh. So much for the super cute dress and kick ass heels I had planned to wear.
It was the morning of my first ever food blogger conference.
And I was bricking it.
I was fidgety, sweating like a sprinkler - no glistening here, folks, and desperately trying hard not to bite my nails and ruin my manicure.
I don't know why I was in panic mode considering I'd been pretty lucky to have met fellow food blogger, Meg from Sweet Twist of Blogging, a week prior to the event. I unofficially met Meg on a US blogger forum we were both members of, but it wasn't until a few months later after posting on her Facebook wall that I discovered she lives ten minutes up the road from me. We met for drinks, hit it off like a house on fire, and I begged talked her into going. As much as I love meeting new people, I did not know anyone that was attending and knew it would be much more fun to go with someone I knew. To follow one's blog or chat over social media is one thing, but to meet up in real life, putting a face to a name, if you will, is something completely different.
To fast forward this little conference fairytale, once we checked in and mingled with everyone in the lobby before dinner started, I soon realized all my irrational fears were just that. Any anxiety I felt about attending was a mutual feeling among most of the bloggers I met. It was so refreshing to know I wasn't alone. By the end of the evening, I felt like I was hanging out with family. For real, it was like one big family. No egos. No agendas. Just friends. It was so amazing to meet so many incredible bloggers I'd long admired - many to which I probably would not have met otherwise. And I'm forever grateful for that experience alone.
Blogging - Like Anything - Is About Relationships
During my journey as a food blogger, and especially since last April, I’ve found that while it’s obviously about the food (oh, the glorious, beautiful, mouthwatering food) it’s become more and more clear to me that it’s also, if not more, about the relationships you choose to form along the way; personally and professionally.
If you told me eighteen months ago I would be hanging out or BFFs with some of the most talented blogger folk to grace the world stage AND I would be working with some of the most fabulous brands around, I would have rolled my eyes quite dramatically, scrunched up my face, and a snarky comment along the lines of, “Pssshya. Yeah. Oo-kay” would have fallen from my lips.
But here I am.
Not only do I have a fabulous ongoing working relationship with some pretty spectacular brands, many of which I met that weekend, but I was also so fortunate to form a super close bond with a fantastic core group of local to me foodie bloggers as well. My girls. Our views and our outlook about food are one in the same, yet we each bring something different to the table.
And these girls get me. Not only do they irrevocably love food as I do, but they understand the necessity to drive three hours for a loaf of bread or trek across the border after work to get the newest flavour of Oreo Cookies. They never bat an eyelash or question when I want to order eight things off the menu and are always there to bounce ideas, recipes, and advice off of. That, for me, is one of the most beautiful things about being a blogger.
Face to Face Networking - It's Important
Networking is a big part of blogging. I’ve heard bloggers express a time or two how they felt like it was an isolating or lonely experience, but just know that it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to find like-minded foodies and make yourself accessible, especially because it makes the ride that much more enjoyable.
And conferences, my friends, are the perfect place to find such folk.
I no longer fret about things that are out of my control such as page views or stats. All I can do is produce quality content and have faith that if it's meant to happen for me, it will. Bloggers (and Brands alike) will find you because they love what YOU have to offer, but you must first to be willing to put yourself out there.
And I wholeheartedly believe that this, all of this, would not have happened when it did had it not been for the FBC conference last year. If I hadn't put on my big girls pants, swallowed my nerves and went, I'm pretty sure blogging would be lost on me and I would have eventually let it fall to the wayside.
Going to the conference may be your defining moment like it was for me. And who knows? We may one day see your gorgeous face grace the cover of the next big foodie magazine.
You just need to take that step.
Today's post was written by Jenny Jack, better known in the blogosphere as The Brunette Baker, where she writes about exceptionally decadent treats that she bakes (and she's brunette - go figure!). Her last trip to Vancouver involved her super fantastic sugar sprinkle chocolate pastry bakery tour. She can't wait to be back next month for FBC2014.