Hmm,  Queensland the  sunshine state??

Whilst the weather wasn’t exactly horrible it certainly wasn’t a shining example of what Queensland can do if it tries. Team that with a long weekend, and bloggers busy with family commitments meant  my first Nuffnang Gold Coast Food writers picnic was an intimate affair of just six lovely people.

As one of the attendees reminded me, it isn’t about the quantity of writers at these meet ups, it’s all about the quality, and we certainly had quality!

In attendance was the lovely Krissie from Pearls of Style, a website dedicated to fashion and of course style. It’s apt that the first story I read on Pearls of Style was about the relaunch of Australian Elle Magazine because if I was going to equate her website with a magazine it would be something gorgeous,sophisticated and glossy, with a little bit of youth thrown in such as Elle.  By day Krissie is a marketing and journalism graduate who now works for Billabong Head Office at the Gold Coast.  Her website benefits from her amazing, natural sense of style, her background in writing & marketing, and the experience she gains working behind the scenes in one of our most loved fashion and lifestyle surf brands.

Date & Walnut Loaf

Pearls of Style- Date & Walnut Loaf

Krissie strolled up to our picnic table with a gorgeous cane basket, lined with a red gingham cloth. Inside this “Little Red Riding Hood” Picnic basket was a  freshly baked date and walnut loaf. Oh the aroma of hot baked loaf cake on a chilli day. I don’t know about you but I feel that  fresh date loaf requires lashings of real butter so that it can melt over the soft crumb…. oh just amazing. We all happily devoured the warm loaf whilst we introduced ourselves.

The  most experienced food writer among us was  Marj Osbourne from Good Food Gold Coast.  A former writer for Mietta O’Donnell. (Melbourne based restaurateur,chef, leading culinary publisher and food critic.) Marj produced reviews for Mietta’s publications for approximately four years and is now busy mapping the Gold Coast food scene on her own website. With a solid literary background it was immediately obvious that there was so much I could learn about writing from this lady.

Nuffnang Gold Coast Bloggers Picnic

Nuffnang Gold Coast Bloggers Picnic

Also at our picnic table was the technological guru behind the very popular recipe plug in “Easy Recipes” and the website “Fooderific.” The very knowledgeable John Shaw who was able to throw light on many SEO questions that I had, and some that I didn’t even know I had… Twelve months ago I was told that my website was loading slower n my new platform.  At the time I just shrugged and wondered why it would matter. Now I understand the importance of load time and google rating!

I also finally got to meet Maureen, the ever smiling, chatty lady behind the website Orgasmic Chef.  I have been following Maureen for quite some time and I knew even before I met her that I would love her.  The warmth of her personality comes through in her writing. I am sure this is one of the reasons why her website is so popular.  I think Maureen is also the queen of social networking and social media platforms.  The names of websites she loves and follows, the knowledge of each writer and what they were all doing was incredible. She has her finger on the pulse of every blogger, chef, ingredient and recipe… I was in awe. No wonder she has such a large and loyal following!

Chocolate Crunch Slice

My Chocolate Crunch Slice w fresh Strawberries

Then lastly there was me from Gourmet Getaways. Now just over three years old and going strong.  Whilst I have been communicating with readers the longest, I felt there was so much more I could learn from these ladies… if only there were more time. What a professional team of bloggers.  We all brought a different knowledge base to the table and for me the  experience was invaluable.  Oh and I also brought my favourite, easy to prepare, Chocolate Crunch Slice just for an extra sweet touch

So what do a group of writers from all different specialties talk about?

So many topics… such a little amount of time!

Bloggers Picnic Cheese Platter

Cheese Platter

Increasing Visitor Traffic

  1. Joining all the relevant social media platforms
    • Google +
    • Pinterest
    • Twitter
    • Facebook page
    • Instagram etc
  2. Follow as many people as you find interesting on all of these platforms.  You need to follow people to be followed initially.
  3. The importance of commenting on other bloggers sites and making an effort to visit new and interesting blogs and saying hi. Invite other bloggers over to your blog.
  4. Join a linky party, cooking challenges, and other blogging social groups

How to monetize your blog

Whilst all in the group acknowledged we blog for the love of writing, for the love of food, and for me for the love of travel and photography, we were all interested in discussing how we earn money from our websites.

  1. Adding paid links in stories
  2. Recieving payment to include a story written by a third party as a guest post
  3. Being paid to write sponsored stories for a client
  4. Independent advertising banners on our sites

Advertising Rates for Bloggers

There was also a very interesting discussions on the rates of pay we expect and are achiving for the various types of advertising on our sites.  Whilst we all agreed that we do what we do for love, we would never sell our work short.  It was very valuable for me to listen to the various pay rates for different things

I was very happy to share with the group what I am paid for various income producing activities.  I think it is important that as an industry we understand our value.  This is a relatively new industry and those that have gone before us have done an amazing job of paving the way, and not accepting a pittance for their work. As bloggers, writers and photographers we have a duty to not sell ourselves, or them short. If we are approached by someone to promote a product, restaurant , service or hotel it is because that PR Company, tourism authority or media executive understands the material worth of your blog and the social media platforms you operate on.

I also spoke to the group about my experience with Nuffnang.  I have been with Nuffnang for over two years now.  It’s a group that I am happy to be a part of, I am paid my worth for my work.  The Nuffnang executives negotiate on my behalf with brands, and I’m happy with the quality and relevance of the  advertiser and the rate paid.

I make a reasonable income from advertisements placed on my site and I also benefit from product reviews, movie premier events and socialising with other bloggers from different fields.  Nuffnang monitors my statistics, and from time to time I add a poll to help everyone understand my demographics.  This is all completed with very little interaction or effort on my part.

Why am I talking so much about the business of blogging? I want all new bloggers to understand that if you produce quality content, and a third party wishes to benefit, you should be remunerated.

Just today I read some interesting statistic on Food Bloggers, one of the interesting finds of the survey was bloggers who attend conferences are more successful, earn more income and have more followers than those that don’t.

WHY! They are part of a community, they have a voice, they are known  among their peers and industry, and they benefit from the wealth of different view points, and areas’ of expertise held by the group.

Check out this link; The state of Food Blogging

Whilst my intimate writers picnic wasn’t so grand as to be a conference I understand why the stats say this is a valuable experience.

Bloggers Picnic Date Loaf

Pearls of Style – Date Loaf

I know I learned so much from our own little get together.

Most importantly I have met some lovely people that I am now following on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and RSS.  I am looking forward to being styled by Krissie, directed to lovely Gold Coast Food finds by Marj, have my blog questions unraveled by John and continue to enjoy Maureen’s happy and delicious website. I have made a connection with my community and put faces to the blogs that I enjoy.

Although our picnic was a small affair I will definitely be hosting this again, it exceeded my expectation and left me with a blogging bounce in my step… I hope you can join me next time!

So share the blogging love.  Comment, Tweet, Follow and Google + and I will return the favour!