Vida Vegan Con: The Accidental Journalist

Hi Everyone! I’m at the Accidental Journalist panel at Vida Vegan Con. When you become a blogger, you might not think of yourself this way but you essentially become a journalist. This panel covered techniques for bloggers on grammar, style, publishing and finding your blog’s identity. All of the speakers, Gabrielle Pope (author, playwright and co-author of the blog Vegans on the Move), Dawn Quinn (blogger at Vegan Moxie) and Michele Truty (Vida Vegan Con co-founder and blogger at Vegtastic Voyage), hail from a publishing background.

Here are their tips for better blogging and publishing:

  • Consistency is key.
  • Pick a style and stick with it. Language is always changing; the dictionary changes every year. You’re not going to keep up with it but neither are your readers.
  • Don’t repeat yourself.
  • The longer your piece, the less likely someone is going to read it. Try to trim extraneous words. (Uh oh…I’m in trouble!)
  • Be aware of economy of language. If it shifts to a new post, write a new post.
  • Personal anecdotes are engaging.
  • Readers are going to come back for you. “Don’t edit yourself out. Let you be you in your writing.”
  • Keep “so what?” in the back of your mind. Why should someone across the country care about a restaurant review in your city/town. Connect it to a larger issue.
  • If you have recipes on your blog, you need to create your own format. Keep your directions simple. Don’t have to over explain. List ingredients in the order they’re added.
  • Put as much info in there as possible. When writing events or restaurants be sure to put contact information, hours, location, website, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.
  • If you’re a recipe blogger, when you get a recipe from a cookbook, don’t post the recipe online. Get permission from the person. (Yikes! I’m in trouble again!)
  • Double check facts and hyperlinks. Make sure names are spelled correctly.
  • Read your post aloud before publishing.
  • Have a friend read your post before publishing.
  • Before publishing your post, walk away for an hour or even sleep on it and come back to it.
  • Many established blogs welcome guest bloggers. A great way to put your foot in the door.
  • If you’re really established and you want to pitch, send query letters. Most magazines don’t accept unsolicited pieces.
  • When sending query letters, get to know who you’re reaching out to really well. Don’t send a magazine or a high traffic website a full piece. Explain in the query letter why your piece is perfect for the site/publication. Find the editor’s name to show you’ve done research.
  • Don’t confine yourself to vegan magazines. Pitch to many different outlets.
  • Choose your words carefully. Once you put your words out there, they’re out there.

I think these are great tips for vegan bloggers, food writers…and all bloggers in general!

Read all my posts on Vida Vegan Con 2011 and follow my tweets at #VidaVeganCon.

2 thoughts on “Vida Vegan Con: The Accidental Journalist

  1. well, I’m screwed on the length thing too. I tend to babble once I get rolling….clearly I need to work on self editing 🙂 Thanks for posting the highlights!!! I didn’t make it to this one. And it was awesome meeting you tonight!

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