Monday, May 23, 2011

Food Blogger Festival Etiquette and Tips

Hi, I love your blog, wanna trade links?
There's been a proliferation of food blogger festivals over the last few years. Some of the reasons are obvious, like the explosion of new food blogs being published. It's now common knowledge that food blogging is incredibly fun, almost no work, and extremely profitable, with most bloggers making six-figure incomes.

Some reasons are less obvious, like how much money these events net for the promoters. These people are making out like Goldman Sachs. My sources report that the last BlogHerFood brought in an estimated 765.3 million dollars. Of course that's not all profit, as they did spend a couple hundred dollars on the food. Also, I believe that's all tax free, since they probably qualify as a religion.

It's all about the Benjamins.
Photo (c) yomanimus
Anyway, since there's a pretty good chance that you, or someone you know, or someone you would like to know, will be going to one of these events soon, here are some friendly tips and a few pointers on festival etiquette:

1.) Never approach a blogger who has more traffic than you. You can do nothing for them. Besides, they have more important things to do than listen to you drone on about finding your "voice." They don't give a crap about your voice, and 30 seconds in, are probably wishing you didn't have one.

2.) Never approach a blogger who has less traffic than you. These parasites just want to suck from the sweet teat that is your referral traffic. Screw them and the sustainably raised, heritage breed hog they rode in on.

3.) Only approach bloggers who have the exact same traffic as you. Of course, it's a huge breach of etiquette to ask someone what their traffic is, so just assume everyone at the festival has the same numbers as you do.

A huller!! Score!
4.) Never complain about the swag bag. There's a reason all that junk is free. Did you think they were going to throw a Kitchen Aid in there? Just happily take your strawberry huller, your silicon-coated whisk, and your little rice sample (is there anything sadder than rice for one?), and do what any experienced, self-respecting blogger would do…re-gift it!

5.) When drunk tweeting, NEVER use the phrase, so and so was "kicking ass during the panel." After three cocktails before noon, that "L" key is waaay too close to the "K" key for comfort.

That bald guy sure likes the sound of
his own voice.
6.) Only ask questions at a panel discussion that directly relate to how awesome the panelists' blogs are. That's why we, oops, I mean they, are up there. You're lucky to be in the same room as they are, so consider listening to them answer your off-topic question that was actually a self-serving statement, as gravy. 

7.) When deciding who's exclusive after party to attend, just use the following system to rank the events. Take the number of celebrity bloggers hosting, times that by the number of books they've written, then add the number of times Ruhlman has mentioned them in a tweet. Compare these numbers, and then go have a drink at the hotel bar where you're staying. You're not getting into any of those parties anyway.

Hi, my name is John, and
I'm a food blogger.
8.) Take pictures of everything. You'll want to be able to look back and remember those three bloggers you posed with in the lobby, you know, the ones you don't remember. Sure, you can close your eyes and imagine how epic Hank Shaw's beard was, but why not pull up that picture of him and make sure?

I sincerely hope this list of tips helps you enjoy your next big food blogger festival experience! By the way, this post was not a parody. There is no way I wrote this post with tongue-in-cheek. My tongue was nowhere near my cheek. In fact, it was sticking straight out the whole time. :-P

Disclaimer: I did not attend the BlogHerFood event. I was in town for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, but partied with a bunch of BH attendees (high-traffic bloggers, of course). This post was not a review of BlogHerFood. I'm making light of the food blogger festival-going experience in general.

54 comments:

Saltyseattle said...

My conference days are numbered & the reasons why are peppered throughout this post.

Sincerely,

Someone who forgot to eat the brown acid @ BlogHerFood

Chef John said...

You had a good run. ;-)

The Cooking Photographer said...

Lol I shouldn't laugh but I love your cynical take... Bad me.

L

Brooke said...

You are brilliant. It hurts how good you are. Too bad I can't learn one thing from you. And you have nothing to learn from me. My biggest regret of not going to blogher was that I didn't get to see you. Xxxxooo
Brooke

merry jennifer said...

Love this SO much. Way more practical than my post. :)

BB said...

I'll take that huller!!

Winnie said...

Thanks for this. I will stop moping around about how much I thought the conference pretty much sucked and I'll just laugh. Sorry we didn't meet. Then again, must be because I have less traffic than you and you were avoiding me ;)

JoAnn said...

Is that more tongue-in-cheek that most bloggers are making 6-figure incomes? I'm a 2-year veteran in the blogging world and have yet to see 6-figures, let alone 5 or 4. Anyway I enjoy the snappy rhetoric.

ThisDameCooks said...

Is that a tongue-in-cheek statement that most bloggers make a 6-figure income? As a 2-year Veteran in the blogging world I've never seen 6,5, nor 4 figures of revenue. But, I enjoy the craft(s).

Chef John said...

Yes, the "6 figures" was the most tongue in cheek part. :-)

Kristina @ MouthFromTheSouth said...

How did you know I wanted to nestle at the sweet teat of your knowledge? More importantly - I HAVE THAT HULLER!!!

Danielle said...

Now where was this guide when I attended last year's blogger events?? Such a good set of tips, you should start charging for this, like any self-respecting web celebrity ;)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with this more... I was shocked at how poorly done the conference was. And that they gave some panelists $500 stipends and not others. Such bad business. The redeeming part was that I got to bond with some people, but we can just do that on our own!

kaela said...

Pretty much exactly how I pictured it, except without that sweet huller. Totally worth the price of admission.

Burwell General Store said...

Love it! Always a pleasure taking in your specific sense of humor...

Darya said...

I remember once you told me that I'm "cool because I don't go to stuff." Now that I know there's a possibility of 3 cocktails before noon, I may have to reconsider. #whydidntyoutellmeaboutboozeandasslicksuntilnow???

Cathy @ ShowFoodChef said...

Laughed and laughed some more. Your post really licked ass!

Irvin at Eat the Love said...

I loved this post. LOVED. IT. And though you say it was a parody and all, a lot of it rings true. Sadly.

Paul D said...

It's all about the Lasagna videos!!! Nothing else matters!

Artistic integrity, idealism, sportsmanship, and good character are ingredients which don't fuse well with commercialization.

Return to Sunday Supper℠ said...

How did I miss meeting you.... and how did I find your blog? Don't know the answer to either, but I'm still laughing and glad that I read this post!

Chris K. said...

Awesome post, Chef. Can you hear that sound? It's tears of hilarity, splashing softly on my keyboard.

averagebetty said...

I'm afraid you forgot just one tip... Be sure to get on the twitter the minute you're home and @ everyone telling them how much you already miss them :)

Laura said...

What? you know so many folks are sincere at these things. Why else would they look vaguely over your shoulder while dropping you card on the floor?

It's all about the time spent NOT in conference moments, the tucked away bar with a couple of hilarious people. Uh gee guess that's where we met :)

Pantalone said...

New sign of the times ...

"Will Blog for Food"

Diane-The WHOLE Gang said...

Wow this was good, really good. You managed to put into words what the sarcastic voice in my head has been saying. So glad it's not alone. I just posted on the other food festival going on last weekend which I have to say was just the opposite. I've spent way too much time at the one you described.

Brilliant. Off to share this. Oh, should I leave a note on how much traffic my blog gets or how many twitter followers I have?

SteamyKitchen said...

LOL great tips. I'll be sure to use them next week. Bummer missed ya at the RockHer party.....heard you were there!! xoxo

AndreAnna said...

This is perfect.

I'm with Laura above though - the best part of these things is not the conference itself, but rather then tiny moments stolen away with awesome people.

And the knives. Because why WOULDN'T you give knives at a conference where 80% of the people flew in?

Karen said...

I'm confused! Where the heck were you anyway? Festival or Conference? and why both at the same time, Atlanta? I am sure that you must have some even better tips about the festival - the conference is pretty much toast (burned or otherwise.)
You are definitely Kitchen Comedy and I'm tuning in next time for sure!

wendy said...

OK, totally love this!

Patti at Camp Blogaway said...

Hilarious, well done.

G.F.Veg said...

so very on the mark!
went to three last year, zero this year, maybe one next year....maybe.....

Chef John said...

Thank you all for the AMAZING comments!! I just added a disclaimer since some were confused as to whether I was actually there or not. I was (in Atlanta) and wasn't (at BH) :-)

Julie (TheLittleKitchen.net) said...

I was laughed so hard, this post is awesome!

Alicia said...

What is the money for........a prize? Did you win Chef John?

Lori said...

I found your blog via a video about arepas. This post totally cracked me up. I especially liked the part about the "how to get into the hip parties". You are too funny!

Carey said...

This why I love you. Cooking tips *AND* laughter. :)

The Culinary Librarian said...

A general note about drunk food tweeting... if you are having duck, don't tweet about it less than sober!!!

Karen said...

I knew it!! If you'd been where we were, we would have had an explosion! Next time do the "crossing over" magic and levitate into our conference rooms and beam us up!
I am still laughing - which is a really really good thing.

veron said...

This is so funny! I was at blogher food and this was a great parody.

Dianne Jacob said...

John, you are just plain hilarious. Thanks for a hearty belly laugh -- in fact, several of them.

RecipeGirl said...

Cracked me up, thank you :) Panelists were paid? Uh oh. That's not very nice for those of us who weren't. Boo.

debbie koenig said...

Best conference-related post ever. And I love that you weren't even there. Just goes to show how similar these things all are.

Dr. Jean Layton-GFDoctor said...

Funny, but true too. And the best part is to be able to get the inside jokes, you have to have attended at least one of these events.
There are a few that just want to help bloggers improve their craft.
Few and far between though.

And Don't forget, if you can't get to any of the live conferences, there are always the twitter pity parties.

Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

John...always nice to know we can count on you to generate humor (or in the case of anyone buying those figures; angst).

I wasn't there; reading the followup posts make me glad that I 1. Saved my money 2. Planted my garden and 3. Didn't go.

Lemons and Lavender said...

Perfection...in every sense!

Steve said...

For me there is really only one rule that applies and it was taught to me by my mother. ( whom I don't think ever blogged)

Be polite!

Anonymous said...

I really liked it when food was something simple and heart warming, all these conferences and festivals make it seem like food is only for some sort of special people. Remember when food was made with your mother or your grandmother in a small kitchen with whatever happened to be in the pantry/fridge? I just really hate all that food snobbery that comes from these festivals. I grew up in Europe and I have travelled to many countries. Everywhere I've been, and yes this is even counting France, food has always been the best when it was shared family style. I've been at La Tour d'Argent in Paris and it doesn't even come close to the flavors I experienced when I tasted a bouillabaisse made by an little old lady in Marseille. Why are Americans so obsessed with becoming food snubs when most of what they do is trying to reproduce food that originated with poor artisans in Europe? I don't know, I may be alone on this, but I really do think festivals are a way for people to feel good about hiding their culinary insecurities with snobbery.

Tana Butler said...

Oh, Cheffy-Poo,

This is delightful beyond words. Every word is a well-chosen bead in a rosary of hilarity.

God bless your wicked, sweet heart.

You're great on Twitter, and you're great at licking ass and faking names.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Paul D said...

" Anonymous said..." I would like to second anonymous's call for sanity.

If there is a buck to be made, local culture will be usurped by corporations and modern-egoists to flip a buck. This deadly combination is true for not just cooking but all things...I care little for the McDonalization of grandma's cooking in the form of consumerist conventions. Food-blogging is great because it lets us share knowledge and passion, but the introduction of all this other "stuff" is not good. Unfortunately, this is our paradigm.

Chef John said...

Thank you again for all the amazingly generous, and often hilarious comments! Next time I'm fishing for compliments, I'm totally going with another biting parody. :-)

Lana said...

I love your writing! You are hilarious and entertaining! I am so glad I met you for the three seconds on Friday night in the hotel lobby:)

Chris said...

Funniest thing I have read all day. I should have just read this first and quit;)

list of foods said...

nice, this really funny moment

tim watson said...

Well said. I liked the post.