Saturday and Sunday of the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference (which I will refer to as FBC2015 from here on out) was busy, busy, busy and left my head spinning. After leaving the gate running by posting about Friday night ON Friday night, I didn’t open my laptop again the rest of the weekend. There is definitely something to be said for unplugging and enjoying the here and now so that is what I did.
Now on with the show…. I can’t possibly post about it all so here were some of the highlights for me.
- Canadian cooking sensation, Ricardo, gave an inspiring talk about “Taking the Leap”. His hilarious talk went through his journey to his current success…even the foibles along the way. He entered into every situation reaching for the stars and asking “What’s the worst that could happen?” I must admit that his talk gave me a LOT to think about. Oh and stay tuned for a recipe from Ricardo and a giveaway for one of his cookbooks coming this week!
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is and continues to be the bane of my existence. Google chooses to tweak and change its algorithms early and often. Trying to figure out how to get my little corner of the internet to be relevant in Google search feels a bit like flailing around in the dark. Casey Markee of Media Wyse gave us an hour of nitty gritty SEO advice that left my head spinning and wishing that there was a Google silver bullet instead of one million things I need to work at and change. Thankfully he gave us the link to his SEO for Food Bloggers presentation so that we could keep going back again and again to knock out a bit of it at a time. Not sure about SEO yourself, check out the link and you can have your head spin right along with me.
- Next on the head spinning tour was Legalese for Bloggers – Understanding the Basics with Lesley Ellen Harris and Sarah Huggins. Much of it I knew…don’t use images without permission, don’t copy content, etc. Then they got to giveaways. Well, all I can say is that you will be getting a skill testing question whenever you win a giveaway on MerryAboutTown from now on.
- I learned that I need more props that tell stories and that if you make money from your site, you ARE a professional (end stop) from Andrew Scrivani, that I need to get off the internet and WORK if I want to make the leap from hobby blogger to professional blogger from Davida Kugelmass and Ayngelina Brogan and how to develop a magnetic brand from Meghan Telpner. Much of what I heard reiterated what I know I need to do with a few new things sprinkled in.
- I ate ALL the fantastic food. Meals included a delicious dinner sponsored by Canadian Lentils, Montreal smoked meat straight from Schwartz’s Deli, Montreal style bagels from St. Viateur and decadent grilled cheeses from Canadian Dairy Farmers.
The best part of the conference didn’t take place in the conference room. The best part of the conference for me was getting to know the other food bloggers. While I still question whether I am a “real” food blogger (since I don’t just blog about food), I met so many wonderful people and NONE of them made me feel like I didn’t belong. Not one batted an eyelash when I told them about my website. What a welcoming group!
Plus I got to hang out with 4 other wonderful bloggers (left to right: Ginni, Bernice, Fareen, me & Heather) from Calgary (though Ginni has recently moved to Toronto) and explore a teeny bit of Montreal. Overall it was a great weekend and I am going to find a way to attend next year if at all humanly possible.
I posted my biggest takeaway on my Facebook page on Sunday:
My number one takeaway from #FBC2015? I really need to stop apologizing for my pictures on my blog, stop apologizing for what I do or do not decide to post and stop believing those voices in my head that say “You are not a “real” food blogger, you are not a “real” writer.”
I need to surround myself with people who believe in me and love me. People who tear you down to make themselves feel more important are NOT friends.
I think that sums it up.