Why do my favorite appetizers have tasty CHEESE in them, let alone slices of potatoes? It was at the recent "Potatopalooza" hosted by the Idaho Potato Commission and presented by Erika of In Erika’s Kitchen that I managed to consume a half dozen of these savory small bites, Idaho Potato Mini Lasagnas with Pesto and Kale.
The recipe can be found here. Erika developed this, along with about a dozen other creative potato edibles. This was by far my favorite, with all the right stuff — layers of flavor, crispy potato, a two-bite party food. YUM.
OK, enough about the food. Let me take this opportunity to present a success story about how bloggers land great paying gigs with brands as Erika did with the Idaho Potato Commission. This was the culmination of several things food consultants like to get paid for: recipe development, social media, putting on events. Potatopalooza is Erika’s brain child.
First, she met Don Odiorne of the Idaho Potato Commission at his first sponsorship of Camp Blogaway, the blogger retreat I produce. Don was there specifically to connect with bloggers.
Erika spent time getting to know Don, and listened to what he hoped to accomplish. She also met his PR agency peeps at Camp (very important part of the puzzle). Erika landed some recipe development gigs for them, as well as a Valentine’s Day photo shoot and then, MORE recipes. She scored a coveted invite to the Idaho Potato Harvest, and all along, she chatted with him about how they can work together more. Knowing food bloggers love to party, they put their heads together and produced their most recent hit – the delicious and creative Sunday afternoon potato tasting event in Erika’s home – Potatopalooza.
If you are a person who wants to land assignments like this, here’s the blueprint:
- Step away from the computer and meet people in person. How? Make an effort to attend functions where decision makers obviously WANT to meet bloggers. Like, uh, Camp Blogaway. Sponsors attend Camp specifically to connect with bloggers.
- Sit with these folks. Listen more than talk. Ask questions without pitching. Care about what they are trying to accomplish, not just about what you want.
- Go home and think about their business. Ask yourself, “What do I have to offer that can help them reach their goals?”
- Reconnect with your contacts. If a great idea pops up, ask if you can present it.
- Along the way, write about their products on your blog. THAT helps a huge amount.
- Then… go ahead and pitch. You may not land the first assignment, but you will certainly have your foot in the door.
Look below at how easy it is to connect with brands at Camp. That’s Don right there under the umbrella, drinking wine, relaxing and chatting. Camp Blogaway 2014 is May 16-18.