Called ShiftCon, the event will feature workshops on social media best practices, food safety, nutrition & wellness, GMOs, organic and sustainability. The event will also feature networking opportunities and a product expo, offering a way for these bloggers to learn more about the brands that they might bring to their audiences, said host Leah Segedie, with the stated goal to create a healthier, more sustainable world.
Among the nationally-known participants who will address the gathering are:
• Gary Hirshberg, Chair of Stonyfield Farm and co-founder of Just Label It
• Anna Lappe, nationally known author of Diet for a Hot Planet
• Gunnar Lovelace, co-founder and CEO of Thrive Market
• Robyn O'Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth, Executive Director, Allergy Kids
• Jenny McGruther, author of Nourished Kitchen
The people they will be addressing, the bloggers, are almost without exception women. Finding better products and foods to feed their children and then sharing what they learned in that process is a common thread, Segedie said.
“It’s almost 99% women. We joked that we didn’t even make any T shirts in mens’ sizes,” Segedie told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We have speakers who have years of experience in the industry. Some of them have experience working with NGOs, and we have a bunch of people who have experience at non profits,” she said.
“And we have bloggers who have Masters degrees, or PhDs, and at least four of our bloggers are lawyers. In addition to blogging they do a lot of other things like consulting, or affiliate work with brands. I’d call them media professionals in a sense,” Segedie said.
The event is a two-way affair in a way, Segedie said. Not only is it an opportunity for bloggers to learn about brands and organizations, but it will also help those brands and organizations learn about how to best engage bloggers. Bloggers need to create a constant stream of content to remain relevant, and for brands to successfully engage with them, they need to keep that in mind and make the individual blogger’s job easier, Segedie said.
“It’s not like your average conference,” Segedie said. Having a few tired slides and a rote speech won’t cut it, she said. “The bar is a lot higher for bloggers because they have to create a media moment for everything they do.”
But for brands that incorporate that message, the payoff can be huge, Segedie said.
“It’s such an easy way for these food brands to reach out. That one blogger might be worth a million people,” she said.
While blogging might present a turbocharged version of sharing information on new foods and other products with fellow mothers at a play date, the practice is not without controversy. Some national brands have felt put upon by some high profile bloggers whom the brands consider to be ill informed and who spread inaccurate, possibly even defamatory messages.
That won’t be an issue at ShiftCon, Segedie said. This will be a strictly preach-to-the-choir event.
“They are passionate about creating a new food system in the US,” she said. “They are passionate about organic food. We even made sure all of the products used in the conference met those standards.”
ShiftCon will take place on September 24 - 26 at the Marriott Manhattan Beach Hotel in Manhattan Beach, CA. For more information, click here.