If you haven’t attended the Food Wine Conference, you really should. It’s the blogger family reunion you didn’t know about combined with some excellent speakers to help you nurture your blog and brand.
OMG y’all. I’m still reeling from all the things I learned this past weekend at the Food Wine Conference. I feel energize and ready to get back to blogging and building my brand. There were some inspiring speakers at the conference this year. And some AH-mazing food.
Isabel summed it up when she said that one of speakers told her she had to go back to her room and edit her speech. You see, that speaker said that she had never attended a conference that was more of a family reunion than a blogger conference. And she has been to MANY blogger conferences, but none like the Food Wine Conference.
I’ve been participating in the Sunday Supper Movement #SundaySupper events consistently since 2013. Day one, they welcomed me to the table and I truly felt like family. Of all the groups I’ve participated in over my few years of blogging, this one has truly embraced, helped me, and helped my blog grow. They recommended me for sponsored events so I could get my feet wet earning money.
The Sunday Supper Movement family have also introduced me to many brands so I could start reaching out to my local community and seeing what support and influence I could have in my home town. Just gonna clue ya in right here; I’m dropping hints of some things I learned this weekend. I’ll spell it out in a minute.
Each company, brand, blog, family has to be nurtured. And as it grows it needs different things along each growth spurt. My Sunday Supper family have done that with the Sunday Supper Movement, the Food Wine Conference, and my own little blog. Consequently, going to the Food Wine Conference for me was a much needed family reunion and I loved every minute of it!!
Friday was registration (read swag pick up and LOTS of family hugs). They had delicious latkes from Idaho Potato Commission and a cookbook swap. Since I don’t have a ton of cookbooks, I didn’t bring any. The ones I have I plan on keeping. But there was Ina Pinkey there with her cookbook. I’m always a little intimidated about speaking with people of great influence like that.
I sauntered over to take a pic of Spuddy Buddy on her books for this post and she started chatting with me. Instead of me asking HER questions, it was the other way around. What do you blog about? What is your specialty? How long have you been blogging? I was blown away. This famous cornerstone of not just Chicago, but breakfast in Chicago was asking ME about myself and my blog.
I am a person with a name that I will have from birth to death. I have a blog with a name. Which means I have a brand. A brand I need to nurture and grow. The Food Wine Conference did just that this past weekend; help me nurture and grow my blog and my brand.
Dinner was the fabulous Taste of Rosen Shingle. The restaurants in the hotel (of which there are many) serve up bites of their fabulous foods. The fried lasagna was fabulous but a “gut bomb.” So, only have one piece. Just saying. I LOVED the beef tenderloin on mushrooms and baguette. And you can never go wrong with a good antipasto with delicious salamis and cheeses. The hubs had his fill of sushi. Two plates worth, I think. I did have the cooked shrimp sushi which was succulent!
I didn’t have the beignets. From what I heard (moans and groans from the others around me) they were fabulous. I had the lemon mascarpone cheesecake and the chocolate truffle. I have to say that the lemon cheesecake was SO light and refreshing after the nibbles I ate. The chocolate truffle was rich and creamy. The hubs had the bread pudding and ice cream that was sooooo good. The bread pudding had just enough sugar and spice to make it not overpower. Topped with ice cream it was decadent.
That’s just one night. We had 4 more meals that weekend. I am still stuffed!! LOL
If you’re following me on Twitter, you probably noticed it was blowing up with tidbits of wisdom this weekend. If you’re not following on Twitter, shame on you! Why not? Head over there and follow me right now!! I’m not done sharing what I learned this past weekend.
I’m just going to start with the welcome speech from Isabel and go from there. I’ll be sharing tidbits, anecdotes, and stories of how the conference went; at least in my eyes.
From the start, Isabel shared the history of the Sunday Supper Movement. She explained how she was amazed the power one tweet can have. That’s how all this started; one tweet. Then she went on to explain that raising a blog or business is like raising a child. You have to nurture it along the way and adapt as its needs change.
Then she introduced Ina Pinkney. I loved hearing her story about how she came to own that landmark of a restaurant in Chicago, how she married an African-American man in the 60’s, and how she has handled being a polio survivor. I took many notes of not just blog lessons, but life lessons!
- It takes less energy to be courageous than afraid.
- If you can read you can bake. – In response to having a birthday cake delivery service when she never baked a cake before in her life.
- Women change the culture of business.
- No one is invisible in business. – From the dish washer to the cooks to the front of the house everyone is important and no one should be invisible.
We got stuck, not literally, with the Idaho Potato Commission’s fork. It was part of a giveaway. You had to Instagram yourself with the fork with the hashtag #gotforkd. We got so many comments from this photo. Ironically, the blogger who won is a friend of mine and I took the photo she shared!
The best advice I took away from hearing Ina speak is to pivot. Take everything you know and simply move it in another direction. Don’t think of it as changing a career or path. You’re taking what you know and applying it to something else; a career, a business, a blog.
Now, I’m not really ready to write a cookbook. But I still took copious notes from Diane Jacob for when I’m ready to write one. The first being you have to write a proposal! Imagine that! But not just a proposal for a book. Think of it as a proposal for business with a pitch, strategy, and plan.
Everyone LOVES Certified Angus Beef! Isabel couldn’t wait to give one of our best sponsors a big kiss!
Diane went over the 7 reasons with a bonus 8th reason for why your proposal would fail. I won’t go over all of them. The one that sticks out in my mind is relevance! Your cookbook has to relevant and your social media platform could be lacking. Meaning your audience for you book isn’t big enough.
After the break with delicious smoothie bowls from Duda Foods, we heard Amanda Rettke speak about social media. The best take away from that is to choose a mission statement. I never even thought to have a mission statement with my blog. It’s definitely something I’ll need to work on.
That’s a mudslide that we enjoyed at the Cat Tails bar by the pool at the resort. They’re SO GOOD! If you’re at the Rosen Shingle Resort, head to Cat Tails and grab one. They make them special at the poolside bar.
Amanda then went on discuss some strategies for Facebook that work for her. I think we’re all making group pages from our blog page on Facebook to share each other’s content. She talked about clickbait and the power of the video! She suggested to turn your still photographs into a video and posting on Facebook is still a video and treated different than a static post. I have several action items from her presentation.
I couldn’t wait to hear Denise Vivaldo talk about time management. It’s definitely something I suck at. She had 5 simple steps. HA! But they all make sense. I will definitely be putting her suggestions to good use. The best take away from her presentation is flow. When are you happiest? That’s when you’re most productive. Find that place or mindset and just let the creativity flow.
CK Mondavi had a nice selection of three wines to have with dinner. They served their Chardonnay with the mixed greens with Florida citrus, orange vinaigrette, candied pecans and pickled watermelon rind. The pink shrimp and grits was paired with the Merlot. Yes. Red wine with shrimp! It was delicious.
Their Scarlet Five was used in the reduction sauce for the bone-in Certified Angus Beef brand short rib over roasted onions, sweet potatoes, and fresh herbs. There was braised collard greens that were good with Certified Angus Beef Brand schmacon. SCHACON! Beef bacon. What?? Finally, there was cornbread and hush puppies to round out this southern style meal. That was dinner!
No. The photos aren’t matching up with the story. The top photo shows several of the ladies behind the Sunday Supper Movement. Isabel, Renee, Stacy, Marion, Erica, and Nicole. They are a trip and so fun to work with and have in my family. I can’t wait to see them again!
Back to the sessions.
Peter Horst told us that influencer marketing is next big thing for brand awareness. They love the personal and emotional connection we can make with the brand while telling our readers about it. Brands want great social reach and re-usable content to continue the advertising campaign. He went on to offer tips on how to work with brands.
You’ll just have to attend one of his sessions. I took lots of notes and hope to put some of his tips into action with my blog. I am really looking to branch out and work with brands. Ummm…. You hear that Certified Angus Beef brand? Just throwing that out there.
The rest of Saturday we learned about sustainability. A panel of representatives from the sponsors answered questions about what they’re passionate about, how the new media world has changed processes and their environment in their business, and how influencers can help dispel myths and correct misconceptions. Then Debbie Lyons-Blythe spoke about her farm, family, and life. I loved her cowgirl’s definition of sustainability. Take care of the land, people animals, and make money.
Sunday is a whirlwind of sessions to choose from. It starts with breakfast. This time it was at the UCF campus with delicious croissant sandwiches. Then the keynote speaker, Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe spoke about 5 Social Media Strategies to Design Your Personal Brand. She told us there were five things we need to do:
- Own your name
- Be present
- Listen and learn
- Create content that has context
- Have a strategy
And the bonus 6th is to thank everyone to comments and follows you.
Florida Diary Farmers gave a presentation about the health benefits of milk, yogurt, and cheese. I won a t-shirt! Because I know that adults need at least 3 servings of dairy a day to get the 9 essential vitamins and minerals that dairy has.
The rest of the afternoon was a series of sessions you could attend to learn a myriad of skills, techniques, and strategies to further your blog, brand and business. I can’t recap them all. Because I didn’t attend them all. You just have to attend Food Wine Conference yourself to learn, absorb, and experience all that the speakers have to teach you.
Right before lunch, we learned about #instafood and how to style with different lights, situations, and surroundings. Certified Angus Beef Brand had Chef Michael Ollier there to style a gorgeous steak and talk about how to make meat glisten on a plate and keep off the wall of shame. Julios Mayo Jr showed some tips and tricks to get your Instagram photos on the explore page.
Finally, it was time for lunch and the #hashed competition. This year we had Wish Farms berries, CK Mondavi wines, and some delicious cheese from Florida Dairy. We didn’t place, but our drink was killer and so perfect for warm weather. I will have to recreate it and share it with you.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur in getting ready for the Tapa Toro live #SundaySupper. It’s always a blast and full of laughs, good food, and great friends!!
I know. This is the longest post ever. If you read it all I know you’re just as excited as I am to attend the Food Wine Conference next year. Some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned I’m already putting to use and seeing some growth in my social media. I’m proud of my name and own it. With all my heart that’s my name and it isn’t changing. I’ve gained renewed passion for my blog and my brand.
I hope to see you there next year! It’s definitely an experience and I love every blogger family reunion I attend at Food Wine Conference.