I woke up on Sunday, 24 June 2012, feeling very excited! The biggest event on any Food Blogger’s event list, South African Food Bloggers Indaba, was on my agenda for the day!
My daughter and I were both attending the event and we left just after seven in the morning. Outside we were met with a rainy, cold and grey day. The event was taking place at the Pick and Pay Conference centre in Kenilworth. Although cold and grey outside, inside we were met with warmth and one could feel the excitement in the air.
It was wonderful, seeing old blogger friends again and meeting new ones. It sounded like a family gathering, with all the: “it is so nice to see you again” and “finally we meet!” etc!
I would have loved to socialise a bit longer, but the formal event started too soon with the welcoming done by Paul Raphaely from NoMU, who was the MC for the day. After the welcoming Paul Galatis of Yuppiechef spoke briefly.
Our first presentation of the day was given by Jeanne Horak-Druiff, the well known author of the blog Cooksister. Jeanne presented on the topic: “Ethics, etiquette and why we blog”, which is a very important aspect of blogging. The most important lessons I took from this presentation were:
- Be consistent and have a policy of how you deal with stuff.
- Be open and honest.
- Credit the work of others.
- Be courteous and professional.
- Be respectful to fellow bloggers.
I enjoyed this session a lot because Jeanne is such a talented speaker and I really wished she presented more sessions.
Our second presentation of the day was by Alida Ryder of the blog Simply Delicious on the topic: “Monetising your blog”. This was the first time I have seen Alida doing a presentation and she is also a great speaker. She turned a possible boring subject into a funny and very enjoyable topic. The most important points I learned from this presentation were:
- Network, network and network!
- You must have an online and offline presence!
Thereafter it was time for coffee. I did not have breakfast before I had left that morning and was I grateful; we were served the most delicious crispy miniature rolls with a wonderful filling, delicious muffins, fruit salad and much more.
After some more socialising, it was time for our next presentation, delivered by Linda Harding from the company The Squashed Tomato. Linda talked about Building your blog brand with social media, something which I haven’t really done before, so I found this presentation very informative. The most important notes I took down were:
- You must determine what your specific goals are.
- Get a unique selling point that will distinguish your blog from the next.
- Decide which social media platforms will promote your goals the best.
- Use your logo across all social media platforms.
- Build your brand’s feeling.
- Be professional and fussy.
- Be trendy and know what other people are tweeting about.
The next presentation, about “Writing for the Web” was given by Carine Visagie from the company John Brown Media. She provided us with loads of information and I am definitely not doing her presentation justice with the few points, but the key points I can remember were the following:
- Online readers are goal orientated and they want information fast.
- Your online information must be easy to read and to scan through.
- Your pictures should correspond with the topic that you are writing about.
- Provide valuable and interesting information in an easy-to-read format.
- Your most important information must be at the beginning and organise your content into categories. Create original content and attribute information and pictures to the sources.
- Make every word count, be concise and credible by providing up to date information and making sure that your content is free of grammar and/or spelling mistakes.
- Always answer comments and comment on other blogs. Become part of the online community.
- To make it easier for searchers to find your posts, always include your primary keywords towards the beginning of your posts and use keyword phrases.
- Become the “go-to-blog” for your specific content.
The following presentation on Pinterest was by John Gardner, also from John Brown Media. Although I have applied and got accepted for Pinterest I have never used it before, simply because I do not have enough time. According to John:
- Pinterest will drive more traffic to your blog than You Tube, Google and LinkedIn together.
- It is the best place to showcase your products.
Lunch was wonderful and we could sample a large amount of Pick and Pay’s Finest Food range. A large amount of vegetables and salads as well as perfectly cooked beef fillet and Norwegian salmon was, amongst other more delicious food, available on the buffet table.
After lunch, each delegate could attend two sessions from a selection of very interesting topics. My first session was with Sarah Graham of the blog “A foodie lives here” on the topic: “Writing and publishing a cookbook”. It was great listening to Sarah’s success story about her cookbook: Bitten! Sarah also did a cooking demonstration and cooked some easy goodies, which I could unfortunately not sample, since I could not eat another crumb after the wonderful lunch.
After a coffee break, with some more delightful thingies to eat, I attended the session: “SEO and live blog audit”, presented by Neil Pursey from WebGrowth. I thought that this session was aimed at a more technical group and there were so many questions from the audience that Neil could unfortunately only spent 10 minutes on the live blog audit. I must admit that this session was the lowlight for me for the day, since all this technical stuff, although very important, place a burden on my enjoyment of blogging as a hobby. Although I would have loved to make money with my blog it seems like everyone is getting so occupied with driving more traffic to their blogs, that they sometimes forget about the fun. The other question that this session left me with, is “Are food bloggers competitors?” or do we want to be a blogging community and family?
After this session some wonderful sponsored goodies were auctioned and more than R13 000 was raised for the charity project: The lavender in Lavender Hill.
Lastly some prizes were drawn and my daughter won a Zoku Quick Pop maker and I was fortunate enough to win a hot chocolate hamper from NoMU. (I seem to be very lucky in winning NoMU goodies! A couple of years ago I attended a cooking demonstration at the first “Kamers vol geskenke” and I won a whole paint can full of delicious NoMU goodies, including spices, herbs, rubs and hot chocolate!)
Hereafter each delegate received three bags full of wonderful goodies, filled with amongst others the following:
2 x 2kgs of Spekko Rice
Verlaque salad dressing
Saint Sebastian Bay Olive Oil
Pestos form the Pesto Princess
Goodies form Pick and Pay
Cheeses and wine from Fairview wine estate
Wines from Welmoed wine estate
Wines from The Tangled Tree
Toffees from Sweet Temptations
Iced teas form Bos
Juices from Sir Juice
I was sad when this day had to come to an end! I would like to congratulate Colleen Grové aka Colly Wolly from the blog BrownieGirl for arranging this wonderful event. My daughter, who blogs at Shrewd Tennis, is not a foodblogger, but she found the day informative and interesting. I think this is one event that bloggers in South Africa, and not only food bloggers, should not miss in future!
My daughter has been making a variety of ice lollies with her Zoku Quick Pop maker. She used the berry ice tea from Bos to make a delicious berry tea lolly, the mango juice from Sir Juice to make mango lollies and milk with NoMU’s chocolate to make her favoured delicious chocolate lollies!