Kitchen Play and how to spend your SFT
One of the people I have come to know and respect through my involvement in the public school system is a mother with two girls in elementary school and a third at home. We first met last year at kindergarten back-to-school night, as she had volunteered to be one of the “room parents” for my (and her) daughter’s class. Later, she would become a priceless asset to the Daisy Troop I agreed to lead, stepping in to be our troop’s “cookie mom.” In fact, she filled that role for both of her school-age daughters’ troops. (For those of you not familiar with Girl Scouts, the cookie mom deserves a special place in heaven.) Fast-forward a year and this “Room Parent, Daisy Troop Cookie Mom Twice Over” super woman just assumed the mantle of PTO President. Oh, and did I mention she is a professor of law at Villanova University?
All of this to say that when it comes to “Busy with a capital B,” this friend of mine has the market cornered. Which makes it all the more special that she recently introduced me to my new favorite phrase: “SFT.” While discussing an overly ambitious Daisy Troop project, involving excessive prep work on my part, my friend casually remarked that I would just have to fit it into my “SFT.” Which, it turns out, stands for “Spare Effing Time.”
SFT may be in short supply these days, but one thing is clear. The food bloggers I know (and even those I am just meeting) are finding a way to fit their blogging (and a lot of it) into already packed schedules. They belong to online baking groups, cooking klatches, whine and dine clubs, health and fitness twit chats, et cetera, et cetera.
It is with no casual regard for your time and energy, then, that I suggest you spend your SFT on one more culinary adventure: Kitchen Play.
If you haven’t heard of it, Kitchen Play is a website I developed to connect food bloggers with sponsors, through a variety of dynamic culinary events. Currently, Kitchen Play boasts events sponsored by Sur La Table, Jarlsberg, Wilton Enterprises, Chateau des Charmes , and Workman Publishing, and has connected seventeen bloggers to these sponsors and each other through their work on Kitchen Play. In addition, Kitchen Play is beginning to see contest entries and links come in to the Sur La Table Progressive Party from across the food blogging sphere. And that’s just the first month. Each month, more sponsors and more bloggers will join the ranks at Kitchen Play.
What might not be readily apparent, though, is that all of the assignments at Kitchen Play are paid. Paid as in cash, moolah, greenbacks. Paid.*
Okay, so now that I’ve got your attention, please take seriously this next sentence. Not only should you, as a food blogger, sign up to participate in one of the culinary events at Kitchen Play, you should support your fellow bloggers right now by entering the contest being run in conjunction with this month’s Progressive Party. In fact, I hope you try all six recipes in October. And again in November for the next sponsor. And then again in December. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Beyond the allure of winning cash and prizes, entering the Kitchen Play contest is just smart business. By entering you will:
- gain new followers,
- expose your blog and work to a much larger community, including the sponsors of current and future events at Kitchen Play,
- support your fellow bloggers who created the original recipes you will be trying,
- grow the Kitchen Play community, assuring that all participants experience a surge in traffic,
- ensure the on-going viability of Kitchen Play.
This last point bears repeating. Your support ensures the on-going viability of Kitchen Play.
The business model at work at Kitchen Play is ground-breaking. The site harnesses and magnifies the power of food bloggers to effectively promote both the sponsors and the involved bloggers. And that promotion extends beyond the food bloggers chosen to participate each month, to the bloggers who visit, tweet, comment and enter the contests. Only through this kind of continued support from the food blogging community will Kitchen Play be able to offer opportunities and paid assignments.
When you work with a sponsor to create original recipes, you deserve to be paid and paid fairly. However, there are no real ground rules for this in the food blogging community right now. In launching Kitchen Play, I hope to create both a standard by which your work can be measured and a payment scale commensurate with the work you are doing. If you believe in those concepts, you also need to be an active supporter of the site, so that sponsors will continue to find value in working with food bloggers through Kitchen Play.
What it boils down to is this: through Kitchen Play, food bloggers create strength in numbers. Use some of your SFT to get behind Kitchen Play, because Kitchen Play is already standing behind you.
*(In very limited cases, Kitchen Play has arranged for participating bloggers to receive a sponsor’s product for their work with that sponsor, but that will be the rare exception going forward.)