**EDIT** I am no longer blogging as a member of Virtual Potluck for a number of reasons. I still love the whole group and support them wholeheartedly!***
In August, 2011, Morrow books sent out a message that they were looking for bloggers to help promote Emeril Lagasse’s upcoming cookbook. Over 100 bloggers responded; 20 were chosen – including me. After the event, 12 of us decided to keep working together on similar projects and to find fun and interesting ways to support and promote each other in ways that our readers would enjoy.
Out of that, Virtual Potluck was born.
The concept is that we occasionally work together – with or without sponsoring companies – to post about a specific theme on a particular day. It’s not a progressive dinner party or a planned menu – we each bring to the table what we’re good at, within the parameters of the theme. A true potluck of posts.
And then, like party guests everywhere, we talk about the party in anticipation of what will be there (on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever we happen to hang out) and then we talk about it while the event is running. Then, of course, we help clean up the mess, pack up the leftovers, and chitchat about it afterward.
Companies benefit by working with us as a group because they get one person to talk to rather than a dozen individual bloggers. And when the posts go live, they’ve got a lot of bloggers talking about their products all at once.
This approach benefits our readers because we’re giving them good content, introducing them to our fellow bloggers and possibly hosting some fun giveaways. And since we’re picking and choosing the companies we want to work with, rest assured we’re not doing this just for the swag. We like the companies we’re working with, and we like the products we’re writing about. And if a few bloggers aren’t interested in a particular company or product, they’re not obligated to participate.
Since these events are sporadic and probably of short duration – as little as just one post – we won’t be annoying our followers with too many tweets about the same thing. We want these potlucks to be fun – and special – for us and for our readers.
One great thing about our group is that we’ve all got different tastes, different focuses, different connections, and different talents. If you visit each blog during an event (and I highly recommend that) you won’t see the same recipes or the same photos or the same ideas over and over. We complement each other, we don’t copy each other. Even when our themes are somewhat restrictive or we’re all using the ingredients, we’ll bring different things to the table.
We’ve had a lot of fun brainstorming this new group and arranging our potlucks. We hope you’ll like the results.
The Virtual Bloggers are:
Donna Currie at Cookistry
Heather Scholten at Farmgirl Gourmet
Jay Ducote at Bite and Booze
Marnely Rodriguez at Cooking with Books
Matt Weber at Thyme in Our Kitchen
Milisa Armstrong at Miss in the Kitchen
Rachel Gurk at Not Rachael Ray
Shelby Kinnaird at Diabetic Foodie
Susan Benton at 30A Eats
Tara Evans at Tara the Foodie
Theresa Greco at FoodHunter’s Guide to Cuisine
Vanessa Anthony at Groovy Foody
Food Companies! Would you like to work with Virtual Potluck for your next promotion? Any food-related companies, cooking gadget manufacturers, PR companies, and other parties interested in working with us as a group may contact any one of us for details. To contact me (Rachel Gurk), email Rachel(at)notrachaelray.com
Bloggers: Virtual Potluck is not adding new members just yet, but feel free to drop me a line if you’re interested in joining us if/when we do expand.