TAMPA, Fla. — Produce brands have great opportunities to work with food bloggers, but there are a few tricks to remember.

It’s helpful to have a good idea of the blog’s target audience, and keep your pitches personalized, said the panel of food bloggers at the “How Food Bloggers are Influencing Produce Consumers” workshop at the Southeast Produce Council Southern Exposure 2012.

Food bloggers share secrets to connecting with brands Sixty percent of bloggers surveyed in a recent Technorati study said they were “treated less professionally by brands than by traditional media” said Heidi McIntyre of McIntyre Marketing, who moderated the panel.

Standardized pitches get thrown away, said Julie Fagan of Peanut Butter Fingers, a healthful eating and fitness blog.

“Don’t start an e-mail with, ‘Hi blogger,’” Fagan said. “Add a personal touch that makes me think you care.”

Jeff Houck of the Tampa Tribune’s food blog The Stew said having a quick description and photos of recipes also is helpful.

“Anybody that takes that extra step saves me work,” he said.

Panelists said they enjoy the opportunity to get their message to a wider audience. Offering to share a blogger’s recipe on the brand’s website is a good way to connect, said Aggie Goodman of Aggie’s Kitchen.

Samples and paid sponsorships also are a way to connect with bloggers. Goodman said she does recipe development and bloggers frequently act as brand ambassadors at blogger conferences.

The social networking website Pinterest also is making a big impression on food bloggers. Pinterest users “pin” recipes and share ideas across platforms.

Brands have an opportunity to use Pinterest to work with bloggers by making their own boards and pinning recipes used in the boards for their fans to see, Goodman said.