A few weeks ago, I seemed to have the same conversation over and over again with fellow food bloggers about what conferences to attend in 2013. I added a Food & Drink Conferences page to my website a little while back in an attempt to try to keep track of all the various ones going on throughout the year. Each time I go to update it, I find more and more interesting-sounding meetings, ones that, were money and time no object, I’d happily try to get to. In 2012, I sort of maxed out on my conference budget, as there were many gatherings based in New York City. I tried to go to many of the ones held there to save on hotels and travel.
What conferences do I have on my list for 2013? My answer to my blogging friends is the same one that I’ll list here: just a couple of them. I’m still in culinary school through April, so it isn’t really possible for me to afford to go to many of them this year, unlike in past years. The timing doesn’t work for a few of them, like this year’s IACP conference, which is being held in San Francisco a week before I have to take my final exams. I’m trying to reassure myself that I’m missing out on that one for a bigger cause.
One of the conferences I really enjoyed last year that is on the list for this one is the Roger Smith Cookbook Conference. In addition to panels and speakers featuring cookbook authors, PR folks, and publishers, there were also hours of conversations about digital publishing opportunities, recipe websites, apps, and e-books. This seemed to be to be a wonderful, comprehensive look at where we get our information on finding recipes to use as well as on how we as bloggers and writers can look for publishing opportunities. This year, I’ve been invited to be a panelist where I’ll be speaking with Jane Kelly of Eat Your Books (a terrific resource for keeping track of and making use of those cookbooks in your collection).
But, really, why should you go to conferences, spend all that money, take time away from your friends and family, and be cooped up in some hotel or other for several days? Here’s some of my thoughts on the take-aways:
– Pick up helpful hints for your website – Add new skills to portfolio (social media, web design, photography) – Brainstorm ideas with other bloggers – Discover some terrific new blogs to follow – Network and meet other fantastic folks who share your same interests in and passion about food – Make new friends and connect with those folks IRL (in real life) whom you only know through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Google+ – Learn about this ever-evolving industry and how to capture opportunities to grow your blog and your brand – Get re-energized about why it is you blog anyway – Have fun, eat great food, and explore a new city (or get better-acquainted with one you already know) – Come home with some really great swag
These are just a few of the many reasons that I’ve enjoyed the conferences I’ve attended in the past. Check out the list I’ve started for the Food & Drink Conferences I’ve found so far taking place in 2013. Some of these have already started accepting registration (often at early-bird pricing). As more conferences are announced throughout the year, I’ll continue to update this list and will start to add the ones for 2014 to this page as they come up as well, too. Hope you have a terrific time at whichever ones you decide to attend!