07 August, 2008

Blogging This 'n That: All about Food Blog Events

With many new bloggers creating their own food blogs every single day I thought of writing few posts on “Blogging This 'n That” which will help any newbie or fresher food blogger. The response I got for my post on “Don't Learn Safety by Accident!” was amazing and I received few e-mails from my dear fellow bloggers to write similar posts. So here I am with my next post of Blogging This 'n That which is All about Food Blog Events.

Remember this and this which I had posted some months ago (or is it a year ago? Well, never mind!). It was about the conversation between me and my much better half when I started participating in food blog events. Like many new blogger I had no idea about food blog events when I started my own food blog. I learnt about food blog events after many months of blogging and slowly started taking part in them. Unlike today, there were very few food blog events hosted by few bloggers who according to me were senior bloggers. I came to know about these blogging events while browsing different blogs as there were no blog aggregators. Thanks to people like Mathy & Indira, Sailu and Red Chilli, who created these wonderful food blog aggregators giving more exposure to food bloggers and food blog events and made our lives easier.

Today we have many food blog events being organised by bloggers around the world. JFI, MBP, MEC, A-Z, WTSIM, WBB…AWED, AFAM, RCI… these are just few to name from one long list of blog events!!! What makes them so special that people from all over the virtual world take part in them? Well, for one thing these events give us the feeling of being a part of one large and ever-growing community, here its Food Blog Community. Food blog community is a place where people are passionate about food they cook, something that you too are passionate about. Thus the bonding is stronger as there are many people like you for whom food and cooking is not just a chore. Participating in such food blog events gives you the feeling of belongingness as it is a great opportunity to meet new people who have similar love and passion and make new friends on a way. And there is also a benefit of Link Love which will drive more traffic to your blog (I will discuss about link love in another post).
cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

While it is great to participate in these food blog events, there are some rules or guidelines to follow. Food blog events too have some Do's and some Dont's which every blogger need to remember. Food blog events involve two kinds of people, Event Host/Hostess and Participants. Let me first start with few guidelines for Participants then proceed to guidelines for Event Host/Hostess.
Guidelines for Participants:
  1. First and foremost rule for any participant is to go through the rules or guidelines very carefully. Sounds simple and straight forward but most of the bloggers fail to do it (I am talking this from my own experience and also from my other blogger friends who have hosted the events). Most of the food blog events have similar rules/guidelines but don’t be under the impression that you don’t have to go through them by assuming they might be the same. Even if you have participated in some hundreds of events and you are one hot shot blogger (is there someone like that? LOL;) it is still required you to go through the rules as they might be slightly different from the other events. Trust me, you will be making it much easier for the host/hostess by reading all the rules they posted and host/hostess will be able to do the round-up dot on time. So always remember to follow the instruction and send all the details the host asked you. If they ask for Perm Link/Post URL then send the same, not some link. Always link back to the announcement page while posting your entry in your blog and sometimes you may be asked to link back to the blog who initiated the event. Use the event logo when asked. There are few events which let you to send same entry for other blog events but there are also few which want you to post the recipe exclusively for their events. If they have asked you to send particular sized image then do so. These small details are what make host/hostess’s life easier. If there are any doubts or queries regarding the rules or guidelines posted, e-mail or leave a comment to the host. Usually most the hosts respond to your e-mails promptly. If you think some details might be missing or wrong information is given, don’t hesitate to contact the host. Usually hosts greatly appreciate your feedback.
  2. Always remember to send the entries before deadline. Don’t assume your entries will be included if you forget to send your entries or send it quite after the deadline. Don't expect the host to come and pick your entries when you fail to mail them and don't assume such entries will be included in the round-up. Most of the new bloggers and even some not-so-new bloggers may find it difficult to understand how difficult it is to host any event and then post the round-up right on time. If you are unable to send the entries before deadline you can always contact the host through e-mail or by leaving a comment as why you were not able to do so. Most of the hosts will are really sweet and kind enough to include even the late entries and include it in the round-up but don’t be offended if they don’t agree to do that. Each host have their own set of rules and bear in mind it is nothing personal. Be polite and kind when ever you send you entries.
  3. Many hosts will respond to your e-mails within 3 days, though e-mail or by leaving comment in your blog. Remember that hosts have many other important things to do other than hosting food blog events. So be patient and don’t keep sending e-mails now and then. If they still not have responded to your e-mails in 3-4 days then you can send an e-mail or leave a comment, asking them politely if they have received your entry or not. Hosts usually notify the participants if they are out of the town and will not be able to respond to your e-mails. So it is always good to check their blog for any notification before mailing.
  4. If you are sending the same recipe for more than one event, it is always better to send it in separate e-mails with event name in subject line. Main reason to do is one event guideline may be different from other and it is quite annoying when a host receives a e-mail with some 3-6 blog event names and it is more annoying when the participant has not included the details asked or has sent unnecessary information which was asked for other events.
  5. Believe me when I say food blog event, like any event you might host in real world, takes host’s good amount of time and commitment. So be patient and don’t pressurise the hosts by asking them when they are going to post the round-up. If the host fails to do the round-up they have their own reason to do so. So don’t get annoyed. or angry Same thing applies when it comes to hosting the blog events. I have seen people asking questions around why particular blog event announcement has not been made by the bloggers who were supposed to guest host that month’s blog event. Remember there is more to life than food blogging.
  6. Your responsibility doesn’t end after sending the entry. Check the round-up when it is posted and leave a ‘thank you’ note. Many a times there will be more than 60 bloggers participating in a blog event and not more than handful of comments thanking the host for their hard work. Always leave a note of thank you saying how much you appreciate the host for doing such a splendid job. It is a small courtesy to the host who has spent hours and sometimes even days to compile all the entries and post the round-up.
  7. The number of entries and participants may vary from one event to other. Some events might have few handfuls of entries and some might cross two-digits. There is a possibility of your entry missing from the round-up. That time contact the host through e-mail or by leaving a comment gently reminding them of the mistake or any correction needed. Don’t be rude to them. To err is human and with so many entries to put together there is a chance of missing your entry from the round-up.
  8. Last but not the least, never ever be under pressure to participate in blog events. Participating in food blog events should be fun and not because you are asked to do so. You are under no obligation to participate in any food blog events if you wish so even if the person asks you to send him/her entries. Always remember, your personal life comes first and rest all comes later.
cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

Guidelines for the Event Host/Hostess:
  1. First thing to remember is hosting a food blog event will not make you a famous/popular blogger . Your blog is popular because of the contents posted in your blog. So please don’t be under the impression by guest hosting any popular food blog events or starting your own blog is your way to blog stardom ;) I hope every one of you take this in right spirit and not be offended. Hosting an event does increase traffic to your blog but it will be for just certain time period.
  2. Few questions to ask yourself before you commit yourself into hosting the event. Do you have enough time to host the event and post the round-up on time? Do you have enough time to visit all the bloggers who have sent you their entries and check if they have followed your instructions? Do you commit yourself to respond back to their queries and drop a line when you received their entries?
  3. Next thing to remember is give clear cut instructions/rules/guidelines to the participants and don’t confuse them. If you do not wish to get non-vegetarian entries then make sure that you post it clearly under the guidelines. Many a times participants will prepare a non-vegetarian entry thinking the event in mind and are disappointed when they end up getting a response from the event host saying they accept only vegetarian entries who thought the participant will understand because theirs is a vegetarian blog and they need not write it under the guidelines (I am writing this from experience of one of my blog friends). So think before you write the guidelines and post them. Remember to give your proper e-mail id where you want the participants to e-mail you their entries. If you want a photo to be of particular size and type, then make a note of it.
  4. If you are guest hosting the blog event started by other blogger, it’s always nice to thank them for giving you the opportunity to host it. If you have any doubts or queries about rules, then ask them in advance before you post the event announcement.
  5. It is always nice to respond back to the queries from fellow bloggers. Do it as soon as possible. Same applies when you get an entry. It’s always a great feeling when you know that the host/hostess has taken time to go through the entries. Let them know that you have received their entry either by replying back to their e-mail or by leaving a comment in their blog. Thank them for taking time to participate in the event hosted by you. Even the simple ‘Thanks’ is enough to let the participant know that you have received their entries.
  6. If the participant doesn’t send you all the details you asked, mail them back gently reminding them about the missing details. Always be polite.
  7. Never pressurise the bloggers to send you entries. You can always drop a line asking them to send the entry, if they wish, when the recipe posted on their blog fits the event theme.
  8. If someone sends a late entry and want to be included in the final round-up, it is upto you to decide if you want to include the late entries or not. If you are fine with receiving a late entry then go ahead and post it. If not, reply to their mail saying you can’t include it in the round-up. Never be partial by including few late entries and leaving other.
  9. Post the round-up on promised date. Make sure you have double checked all the entries you received and have included them in the round-up. Include the entry in the round-up as soon as possible when a participant mails you pointing the omission or make correction as required.
  10. If due to any reason you are unable to post the round-up on time, please make sure that you let the bloggers know. It can be just a simple post apologising for the delay in posting the round-up. You don’t need to give lengthy explanations. And again, if you are not able to post the round-up at all, don’t end up feeling guilty. As I said earlier, you and your family and personal life comes first. I have seen some of the best bloggers who have stopped posting because they are unable to host the event or the round-up which they were supposed to. Common friends, be realistic. This is just a virtual world and the happenings at real world is what important.
Well, that’s it folks. Please note that I am not pointing my fingers at anyone or my intention is to hurt you. My experience of participating in more than dozens of blog events and hosting few blog events has helped me while composing this post. It soon will be two years since I created my blog. All this time I too have made few mistakes, both as a participant and a hostess, and I hope this article of mine helps any newbie while participating or hosting their own food blog events. Food blog events are real fun to host and participate but there is a limit to everything in life. We do get carried away and endup completely getting addicted to blogging. Understanding where to draw line one’s responsibility. Let us all be a part of this ever growing, wonderful food blog world and not spoil it by playing politics. I hope everyone take this in good spirits and not be offended.

So folks, happy cooking and happy blogging and also happy hosting and participating in blog events ;)


PS: I have posted the cartoons so that you don't get bored and fall asleep although it is not exactly related to the article ;) Cartoon credits to Dave Walker.


  1. Nice article - very much like the one I wrote for Dinin Hall all that time back. Should be helpful for many new bloggers. But how does one define a "famous blogger"?

  2. Sia, this is such an informative post for new and also old bloggers. Thanks for taking the time to compile these do and don't!

  3. Sia,

    This is a superb post! It will be helpful to both veterans and newbies. Thanks so much.

  4. Excellent writeup...I completely agree with what u say since I participate as well as host events

  5. I really love the way u spoke out Do & DON'T. I am eagerly waiting the Link Love post.
    I appreciate the time u took to speak out and will surely help us :)

  6. WOW! Sai,how much of work you have put into this post. Was very informative.Will keep these in mind the next time I participate in events.Thanks

  7. wonderful post, Sia! All these little things are so important especially when one is new in the food blog community. I , myself , have learnt a few things from this post. Thanks for taking the efforts and sharing your tips with us. :)

  8. nice one sia,,,thnks for such a nice post,..happy bloggin ...:-)ceeya..

  9. Thats a nice one...well I haven't slept yet..awake enough to write this comment..heheh...kidding..very nice post!

  10. You know how they erect statues in the beach for political heads? I am going to erect one for you, Sia. Beautiful post. One that is going to be perused over and over again.

  11. I agree with each word here .May be I should provide link to this now on to this page when announcing my event.
    Last month I got an entry with subject Mango Mania , it was enough to make me mad , still I did not discard that entry , so nice of me na !!! ha ha ha...
    I am all fine and rocking , just my CPU was crashed suddenly and now got it back that resulted in dew days silence on blog again ... now back and ready to enjoy vacation with sis who is visiting us for 2 week this friday :)

  12. Wow sia nice article...cartoons are superb:)

  13. good one sia...loved the cartoons...sure did keep me awake ;) ..great points for new commers...great going...

  14. Great points. I appreciate your efforts and expect more like these. Added this to technorati.

  15. Sia, those cartoons depict the true nature of the blogging world:D Such an exhaustive post. But, very very relevant! Bookmarked, and I think for new bloggers, this is a must checklist. Thanks a lot for your effort, and encouragement:-)

  16. Awesome post! I will keep these points in mind.

  17. These are some useful tips. Thanks Sia!

  18. Am very very glad finally a post like this came up.....
    [i] Let us all be a part of this ever growing, wonderful food blog world and not spoil it by playing politics [/i] very well said!!!

  19. You are an information powerhouse Sia. I am amazed at how much detailed you are. Even though I have not completely read this, I have bookmarked this. Thanks

  20. Beautiful and well written post sia.Very informative and useful to many of those who are new to food blogging.
    When i started AFAM , i got a rude comment from someone stating " u r doing this t popularize your blog".I chose take it as a challenge and make the event useful and successful.Now fellow bloggers are doing the same with the vent they are hosting.You are very correct about commenting after a roundup and rushing to participate in an event.they got to understand it is not a game that they have to win.

  21. Food Blog Event Guide!
    Thanks for posting this Sia...I'm sure it will be useful to many bloggers.

  22. Hey Sia thats such nice read.. really liked it thank u for sharing

  23. Thank you again Sia! I needed these tips when I started blogging in January, and I was actually confused as to what an event is!! I am also keeping in mind the Ps and Qs..as I am hosting my first event:)

  24. lol..there's more to life than food blogging... u crack me up, sia! but so true....lol

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. As I am quite new to the blogging world and about to post my entry in an ongoing event, just came across your beautiful post about taking part in an event...appreciate ur time and simplicity with which u explain the whole process to make life easy for both host/hostess and participants..hats off to u

  27. Dear Sia,

    hi very nice article must say. Quite informative. I am a new comer too. Just had a query dear. When u say round up what does that mean exactly. What is a host supposed to do for round up. Kindly let me know.

    Thanks in advance

  28. @Shalini,
    when u host any event u will get many bloggers participating in it based on the theme. Usally when u host food blog event based on any theme (like RCI, JFI, MBP etc) food bloggers all around the worl will cook something based on the theme and mail you the details requested by the host. Once the deadline is reached, the host collects all the entries and makes a post of all the entries linking back to the participating blogs. You can refer to the the round-ups of JFI or WBB hosted here in monsoon spice. Hope this gives u some idea.


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