I have been struggling for a week to try and put into words what going to TBEX meant to me and my blog. Good news is instead of focusing on writing what the TBEX effect is, I focused on implementing all the good advice and lessons learned from the conference.
So I’ve been a busy bee working on the new logo, new theme and restructuring categories and SEO. Yeey! No, really, Yeeeeeeeeeey! I love every minute of it. I even ordered business cards.
For those who haven’t been to TBEX before and are not quite sure if it’s worth your time or your money, let me just say it is worth both and even more. And this is why:
I read a few posts from other bloggers on the talks that said there were only a few quality seminars.
I have to say the seminars were quite varied in terms of topics and interests which were meant to appeal to the different needs of the participants. I chose the ones that fitted my needs and I did get the most out of all of them.
Ian Cleary’s talk was one I enjoyed very much.
From his “21 Tools and Technology Tips to Dramatically Grow Your Following Online” talk, I did already use a few like Mention.net and Feedly with Buffer to add blogs, keep up with all new content, comment and share…and maybe a couple more like Twtrland and Google+ (yes, I am still preaching the power of G+).
Don George’s talk was again extremely useful in terms of copywriting skills and Michael Collins on “Best Practices: Bloggers, Travel PR & Tourism Boards” from which I learned a lot, like:
- You are the editor, publisher, designer and distributor: it’s all in your control but you have to be good at all of the above as a blogger
- To promote yourself and be successful: Tourist boards and PRs are the way to go
- If you have your niche that’s good. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not: don’t try to write for everybody (excellent point for me – plans are in motion to set the niche and refocus the UK Travel Room)
- Measurement is key for bloggers and marketers. What marketers ask: Where did the money go?
- Do you have a niche that is relevant to the tourism boards? Engage with the tourism boards so they know you exist and get press trips
- Extremely important: Choose your social niche. It can be either FB, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter but never all
And I did miss a good one: Gary Bembridge’s talk on “How to Write a Blog Positioning Statement” and I am truly gutted…but I am patiently waiting for the slides.
There were some seminars that were pretty basic but keep in mind that maybe 20% of the participants have never used Social Media Analytics tools like SumAll or have barely touched their Google Analytics account – or even their Facebook page.
Besides that, there were probably another 20% like me there: I opened the blog in February this year but was so busy travelling and getting lost (or into trouble) that I barely found the time to write all about it.
Or perhaps I didn’t quite know how to write them down – and let’s be honest the theme was all over the place!
You could say I’m ‘building it up too much’ but for me, personally, TBEX finally gave me the GPS I needed to find my way around this blogging thing. It gave me focus, inspiration and a goal – besides getting better at dancing on tables *cough cough*. Which leads me to my next point…
Before I got on the plane I was extremely nervous.
I was by myself and about to meet some of the best travel bloggers that I’ve been following (not in a stalker-ish way, just reading their blogs, following their Twitter, seeing their check-ins….ok, this is not helping.)
You know what I mean.
I had as a goal to talk and meet a few like: Ed (RexyEdventures), Auston (Two Bad Tourists), Kash (Budget Traveller) and Turner (Around the World in 80 Jobs). Luckily for me, I did meet them and a couple more that helped me immensely.
I owe a lot to Peter Parkorr (Travel Unmasked), Alastair McKenzie, Nick Huggins (Nick’s Travel Bug) and Chris Williams (Real Man Travels) for taking the time to talk to me and help me find a purpose and focus to my own blog.
Also Helene, Dylan, Chris, Steve, Valerie and Sylvia are brilliant, brilliant people. And I will be forever grateful to TBEX for putting them all in one place.
Well, that was a lot of name dropping wasn’t it?
There really is no proper way to describe how much fun we had.
A million thanks is owed to Expedia for the party and sponsoring, to 37DowsonStreet for the Jaeger bottles and dancing on tables, free pass and to Fáilte Ireland for the Guinness Storehouse opening party. Simply awesome!
There is no party like a travel blogging party. Fact.
All in all, the TBEX Dublin Conference of 2013 had everything it needed: good seminars, good speakers, amazing people and even better fun.
Will I go to the next one in Europe? Definitely.
Did it make me want to be a better travel blogger? Yes.
And this is why I am doing my best to better prepare for the World Travel Market in London. **
Depending on your own needs and interests in the travel blogging industry, you can decide to attend the next one or not. But honestly, even just going to learn from the bloggers is worth it all. Take a chance; I am sure you won’t regret it.
**PS: the Traverse pre-WTM mingle and getting to see all of the above awesome people surely is an incentive to work harder.
See you all there!