Tuesday 27 September 2016

Food Bloggers Descend Upon Philadelphia for Eat, Write, Retreat 2013

Online and off, food bloggers reveal in their shared passion. Whether it’s in the kitchen, on a stage or around a table, conversation encompasses more than the food, exploring culinary journeys through memories of taste, aroma and the emotional ties of sharing a meal with loved ones.

These conversations are the root of Eat, Write, Retreat, a weekend-long food conference that brings together a passionate group of foodies in an intimate setting to learn about food outreach from a digital and traditional sense. Blogging tips mix with cooking demonstrations for an experience that leaves attendees filled of knowledge and good food.

Two members of the Edelman food team attended Eat, Write, Retreat in Philadelphia between May 31 and June 2 on behalf of The Mushroom Council.* In addition to networking and sharing the mushroom love with fellow foodies, the Council hosted a one-hour educational session with Tony and Joe D’Amico, mushroom growers from family-owned To-Jo Mushrooms.  The session, and the entire conference, provided key takeaways not only for a food-centric audience, but a digital one as well.

1) Think outside of the box

Keynote speaker and food writer, Monica Bhide, referenced in her opening speech, “In order to be creative, it’s important to look at resources completely unrelated to your topic of interest.” This might mean exploring fashion, even when writing about food. Regardless of whether one is a food writer or a community manager, it’s important to step out of one’s comfort zone in exploring creative possibilities.

2) Visuals are key online and offline

The importance of beautiful visuals can never be underestimated, especially in the digital landscape where we taste with our eyes well before the first bite.  However, offline events require the same degree of focus on visuals. The days of a simple PowerPoint presentation are not going to garner hundreds of hashtag references on Instagram or Twitter.  The Mushroom Council brought in live mushroom growing beds, which dramatically captured the attention of food bloggers upon entering, and jumpstarted the social sharing before the session even began.

3) Determine the layers of the story

A story is never contained within the one-hour session. In today’s food world, the kitchen table is where a story begins, but it’s the rich content and stories from a blogger’s voice that can connect a young professional from New York with a grandmother in North Carolina. As a brand or blogger, taking a break from the computer to sit down to share a meal with the vision behind a recipe is more valuable than 1,000 Facebook likes.

Have you attended a food conference on behalf of a brand or as a blogger? What was the key takeaway?

*Mushroom Council is an Edelman client

Image credit: Dottie Foley Photography

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