FPFC members hear from food bloggers

10/11/2012 04:16:00 PM
Tom Burfield

CERRITOS, Calif. — Three prominent Southern California food bloggers tipped off members of the La Mirada-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council about effectively working with bloggers at their Oct. 10 luncheon meeting.

Blogger panelists Priscilla Willis (from left), Nancy Buchanan and Dorothy Reinhold chat with moderator Jin Ju Wilder, president of Status Gro, South Pasadena, Calif., prior to the Oct. 10 luncheon meeting of the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council.Jin Ju Wilder, founder and president of Status Gro, a South Pasadena, Calif.-based consulting firm, moderated a panel of bloggers made up of Dorothy Reinhold of ShockinglyDelicious.com, Nancy Buchanan of ACommunalTable.com and Priscilla Willis of ShesCookin.com.

“No matter where you are in the supply chain,” Wilder said, “there’s an opportunity to work with food bloggers to promote your product, your service or your stores.”

Nancy Buchanan makes a point during a panel discussion with three Southern California food bloggers during the Oct. 10 FPFC luncheon meeting.People are drawn to blogs because, “They feel like they’re having a conversation with a person versus being sold something,” said Buchanan, a registered dietetic technician who teaches at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif., and doubles as a personal chef, recipe developer, food photographer and stylist.

Reinhold, a food writer and recipe developer who spent 25 years as a newspaper editor, said many of those who read her blog “don’t even know the basics about cooking.”

It’s the role of the blogger to help real people put real food on the table, she said.

Willis, a food writer whose husband has struggled with heart disease for 11 years, often focuses on heart-healthy menu options available at restaurants.

“People want to know how to eat healthy,” she said.

Companies themselves can use bloggers to tell their stories and stories of their employees “and let people get to know you,” Willis said.

The process can appear overwhelming at first, she said, but templates are available.

“It’s all a learning game,” she said.

There are “thousands of ways” you can work with bloggers, Buchanan added, but it’s important to first learn what their interests are and what appeals to them.

Brian Cook (left), director of sales for San Miguel Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., shows some of the company’s products to Mark Carroll, senior director of produce/floral purchasing and merchandising prior to the Oct. 10 FPFC luncheon meeting.Companies can spread the word about their products though sponsored blogs, which means bloggers are compensated to talk about or review products, but they are legally required to report that the blog is sponsored or that a company supplied product, Reinhold said.

“Earned” coverage is not compensated.

Some companies sponsor bloggers who attend conferences where they hand out materials and promote the company and collect information, Willis said.

Sometimes they’re even hired as brand ambassadors, Reinhold said.

Public relations firms sometimes can help companies find appropriate bloggers, Wilder said.

You also can do it yourself, but it takes a lot of research, Willis said.

Sometimes just doing a Google search of your commodity can bring up a suitable blogger, Reinhold added.

The luncheon was held at the Sheraton hotel.



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