So, ummm… this post is late. Really late, like nearly a whole year late. But instead of beating myself up over this I’m choosing to see this as a small part of the build up to the 2013 SA Food & Wine Blogger Indaba.
Last year at the end of *cough* June I attended the third annual SA Food & Wine Blogger Indaba. Pick n Pay were one of the headline sponsors and kindly supplied the conference facilities at their Cape Town HQ as the venue for the Indaba. We arrived bright and early, well not so bright as it was kinda still dark outside and I suspect most sane people were probably still in their warm beds. After registering we were handed our cute wooden name tags, a pen and exam pad for note taking, as well as an apron and WÜSTHOF knife courtesy of the other headline sponsor Yuppiechef. Then we had a chance to grab a cup of coffee and chat to fellow bloggers before heading into the auditorium to listen to the line up of speakers.
Jeanne from Cooksister spoke about Ethics, Etiquette & Why We Blog. She asked us whether we really need a prescribed list of ethics and used Chef John‘s tongue in cheek four point list of ethics as a guideline for her talk.
Alida from Simply Delicious spoke about Monetising Your Blog. She told us if we wished to monetise our blogs we should look at them as businesses and think of blogging as a marathon, not a sprint. Money, advertisers and sponsors aren’t really options until you have a grown your blog audience and created a loyal community.
Linda from The Squashed Tomato chatted to us about Socially Active Blogs & Brands. She told us not to feel pressured to use all social platforms, especially if not comfortable using them or if they don’t suit us. That the not so secret secret of social media is to be social. Every post is a potential first impression. Not to have a separate blog and personal account, your blog is an extension of you so why separate them.
Carine from Fresh Living spoke about Writing for the Web. Telling us that the first two paragraphs of a post are the most read and important sections. To scale pictures for the web, to use captions and alt text tags. To ensure posts are easy to read and do not contain spelling or grammar mistakes. To use meta description tags for each post, include a maximum of two keywords and to never duplicate them. She told us to get to know our audience and find out what it is about our blogs they enjoy.
John from John Brown Media spoke to use about Pinterest. How you don’t have to have a Pinterest account to have a presence there. You can easily see what content of yours is being shared by going to http://pinterest.com/source/ + your blog url (without the “http://” and “www.”), here’s mine as an example http://pinterest.com/source/wotsforlunchblog.com/. Make sure you pictures are pinnable and enable a pin button on your blog.
We then broke for a buffet style lunch prepared with items from Pick n Pay’s Finest range. After which we broke up into different groups for the afternoon workshops we’d elected to attend. I’d chosen to attend Jeanne’s photography basics workshop and the post processing workshop hosted by her and Alida.
After the workshops we headed back to the auditorium for a random draw giveaway session followed by an auction which raised R15,600(!) for the Lavendar in Lavendar Hill project.
Then after a rather long day it was time to head home. But not before picking up our goodie bags, all three of them! A few days later I recorded the unpacking of my goodie bags in a Google+ hangout on air which is embedded at the beginning of this post. It’s just under 30 minutes long, that is how stuffed the bags were.
Big thanks to Coleen (aka Browniegirl) and her team for organising another successfully Indaba. I’m sure most of the delegates would agree with me that it was a great day full of learning and comradery. If you are a food or wine blogger interested in honing your skills and have the opportunity to attend the 2013 Indaba I’d highly recommend it.