Written By SATW Member Barbara Orr
Concrete Take-Aways from TBEX:
One interesting and ironic bit of advice offered by Ryan Levitt in the session on Creative Pitching For Experienced Travel Bloggers – “Try to be more like print journalists. Query newspapers and magazines to sell your stories, as well as featuring them on your blog. After all, they (that would be us!) are beginning to invade our territory.” !!!! (Didn’t know there was a Them and Us thing, but I think it’s true to some extent – I think what most bloggers want to be is us, maybe without the years of writing, querying, developing relationships with editors. But then, we want to be bloggers and social media influencers in addition to our dominance of print media. So it is maybe natural that there is a schism there.)
Many of the points covered, especially those about how to improve your writing skills, were things most SATW’ers would already know, but it never hurts to be reminded, and some of the new ideas I picked up were really valuable.
Here are a few nuggets –
- Some real concrete business advice from Tim Leffel – here’s his presentation.
- Lola Akinmade Akerstrom’s presentation on travel photography was excellent – especially her tips on approaching strangers on your trips to photograph them. See her slides from the presentation here.
- Trey Ratcliff’s Stuck in Customs is the #1 travel blog in the world with a social media following of about 10 million. (I have never visited this site, but now I will.)
- Google+ for is better social media because photos are fully integrated.
- Inspiring : Vivek Wagle (Air BnB): “Find the intersection of your purpose and what the world needs. Ask yourself, what problem are you solving; how can you make people’s lives better?”
- Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures on Leadership – Be the first Follower. Here’s a clip he showed that was very cool.
- Differentiate yourself – discover what it is you know and what you do best and make your blog uniquely yours. In other words, brand yourself and promote your unique brand.
- The key to TBEX is knowing what you want to get out of it before you arrive.
- There’s a big difference between page views and audience engagement — and audience engagement is becoming more and more important.
- Build your tribe!
TBEX is an inspiring and energizing experience, and can be very useful for learning the how-to’s of social media and for networking with other bloggers who may be good models to emulate, or would make good guest bloggers, or who may become good friends.
It is a place where SATW needs to be. This is the incubation centre for future writers, and the innovation centre for ways to grow our own business strategies.
That being said, I found some of the bloggers irritating. For some I talked to, it was painfully obvious that they had no understanding of any ethical obligation inherent in travel writing. This was a freebie grab for many of them – and their attitudes were unpleasant and a bit scary. There is a lot of selling out going on.
And finally I realized that we – the seasoned working writers who are members of SATW – are in a pretty enviable position. We have learned our craft, developed our networks, amassed an ocean of experience and stories, and now, we are smart enough and ambitious enough to expropriate the world of social media and use it to morph our writing business into the next level.
I won’t be attending TBEX Dublin – just got back from Ireland, – but I will attend the next North American one, for sure.