I already posted the first 9 highlights from the BlogHer Food ’10 conference on Monday, and in that post, I alluded to further elaboration on the intertwining significance of numbers 3 and 2, and how they led to number one: Finding our authentic voices, and thus our authentic blog.
Let me back up a minute here.
Variations on one message kept coming to both Donna and I, together and separately, in public sessions and in private chats. Authenticity. Honesty. Owning one’s story, and nurturing it organically. All the SEO optimization in the world, all the #strategic #hashtagging and carnival participation and promiscuous commentary on other blogs that one can manage* and still find time to sleep (and cook!) won’t make a bit of difference if what you’re actually doing is inauthentic, and comes off as contrived. And it’s a cliche, but hey, there’s a reason that cliches become cliches: Be yourself.
[*Just to be clear, I have nothing against any of these things, and could certainly stand to do more of it myself/ourselves! The point is that no amount of promotion can make up for what a product is lacking, at least in the long-term, big picture sense.]
Right from the beginning of this conference, I was discovering more and more blogs that spoke to me in ways that go beyond the recipe. It’s not that food blogs are new to me – I’ve been following food blogs for several years now. But my use of them has been a bit, how shall I put it? All-business. It was all about the recipes, really. When looking for recipes online, I love getting recipes from food blogs rather than some of the huge recipe sites because they’re more likely to talk about the process, the trial and error, what worked and what didn’t. They were also likely to lead me to more of what I was looking for in terms of dietary needs, such as South Beach-oriented Kalyn’s Kitchen or the many excellent gluten-free blogs like Elana’s Pantry, Gluten-Free Goddess, Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen and Gluten-Free Girl, just to name only a few of my favorites. But (true confession time) if there was a lengthy intro to the recipe, I usually either skimmed it or skipped it altogether. Please forgive me, I just had recipe tunnel-vision there for a while – and frankly, it was my loss.