My First TBEX Journey Blogger Convention: Right here’s What I Realized

Muckross Abbey, a brief stroll from the TBEX conference

Oh pricey. I ought to completed this a lot sooner.

I’m now in my fifth yr of journey running a blog, however it’s taken me all this time to lastly attend my first journey blogger convention.

I’ve simply wrapped up three exhausting however extremely fulfilling days at TBEX Europe 2017, an occasion held in Killarney, Eire. Nonetheless dizzied from all of the talks, lunches, networking classes, and events, it’s clear to me that I’m a dum-dum and may have gone to those occasions from yr one.

You see, journey running a blog is usually a lonely pursuit. You sometimes don’t have any direct colleagues (and even in case you’re a pair blogger you solely have one). You’re simply plodding alongside, studying by your self, and doing your individual shtick. And that’s what makes it so useful to go to a convention like this: being in the identical room with lots of of people who find themselves additionally journey bloggers is merely priceless.

Whereas TBEX is ready as much as facilitate connections with the journey business, my objective at TBEX Europe was merely to satisfy different bloggers. I additionally hoped it could assist me take into consideration the technique behind my weblog, since I’ve been consumed for some time now by questions on what the following 5 years of Indie Traveller are speculated to appear like. In each instances I consider I received loads out of this convention.

The next are some fast ideas written on my prepare again to Dublin.


Don’t go to TBEX only for the talks

Whenever you first begin attending conferences, you assume they’re all concerning the displays and panels. However actually… no.

In apply most classes gained’t let you know something you can’t already simply discover in an internet tutorial or e-book. Panels will be significantly unhealthy as they’re principally unstructured, inviting all types of rambles and tangents. Thoughts you, that’s not a criticism of the audio system, it’s simply what I really feel many conferences inevitably are like.

I already knew this from attending many digital media and online game business conferences prior to now. (I used to be a online game designer in a earlier life.) As I anticipated, there was nothing actually earth-shattering within the TBEX talks (at the least for me), although a few of them did assist remind me of a ton of issues I needs to be doing — or simply doing extra of.

However I consider the true worth of a convention comes from the incidental chats over lunch, the events, and the mini discussions about the talks that you find yourself having with fellow attendees. And on this regard TBEX was the most effective occasions I’ve attended.

My assortment after Day 1…

I used to be really slightly amazed by what number of enterprise playing cards I exchanged at TBEX. At sport business conferences I’d been to prior to now, I’d give out perhaps ten playing cards over a complete week. At TBEX, it was nearer to 100.

That’s most likely as a result of most individuals you meet at TBEX aren’t simply one in all many representatives of some bigger firm; as an alternative they’re all people representing their very own model. Which means you actually wish to get their card so you possibly can take a look at their weblog, their Instagram, or their YouTube channel, and uncover what they’re all about.

When you’re ever going to TBEX, undoubtedly convey an enormous stack of enterprise playing cards.

It was tremendous enjoyable to lastly meet Agness and Cez of eTramping in particular person, having identified one another solely on-line for a few years. I received to satisfy the fantastic Francisco & Analucia (Spanish-language journey bloggers extraordinaire), Teresa of Brogan Overseas, Sally of Passport & Plates, Tiana of Passport Chronicles, and Steph & Jim of The Upbeat Path. Huge shout out to Tino and Angela of Dutch Nomad Couple, two tremendous cool vloggers (make sure to observe them on YouTube). Once I wasn’t speaking with folks about running a blog, conversations inevitably drifted to our favourite locations; Asdghik (@jetsetterdiaries) completely satisfied me I ought to add Lebanon to my on my record, whereas Megan of Bobo And Chichi jogged my memory simply how a lot I want to return to Laos. (Hmmm, that record by no means will get shorter.)

I’ll neglect about 5 billion different folks right here (sorry!), however for sure I’ve been impressed by assembly so many individuals doing cool issues from so many angles.


The massive theme: high quality over amount

It’s inconceivable to distill only a single takeaway from an occasion reminiscent of this, although “high quality over amount” appeared a standard theme at TBEX.

Gary Arndt of Every little thing In every single place spent a lot of his keynote handle basically making this level. He emphasised how journey running a blog is all about constructing authority and specializing in high quality, not simply increase site visitors numbers for self-importance’s sake. He inspired everybody to be their very own largest critic, to attempt to stand aside from the group, and to deal with significant engagement (past merely feedback or likes). Sensible phrases.

You may sense this theme elsewhere as properly. Writers talked about narrowing your focus and discovering recent methods to deal with drained matters. Social media personalities talked about constructing lasting natural audiences and never counting on quick-and-dirty ways. And each blogger appears obsessive about carving out their very own area of interest.

It offers you the sense of journey running a blog having change into a extra crowded and aggressive area, but additionally having reached a sure stage of maturation. Everyone seems to be making an attempt to do higher. It’s not about simply boosting meaningless numbers, however about actual substance, and that’s an incredible factor.

Max Hartshorne of GoNomads giving some sage recommendation on journey writing


Journey running a blog secrets and techniques (??)

There have been two issues that I felt had been sort of unstated on the convention, however which you can choose up on in case you learn between the traces a bit.

Secret #1: massive blogs get extra site visitors from search engine optimisation than they’re letting on

Whereas each channel is tremendous necessary in their very own proper (and a few concentrate on only one), it appears that evidently for bigger blogs it’s search engines like google that drive by far probably the most curiosity.

Perhaps I’m biased as that is true for my weblog: I get at the least 90% of my guests by search engine optimisation. However based mostly on some conversations I’ve had it appears this type of ratio is just not unusual for blogs which have been round for some time (if it’s not round 90% then it’s someplace not far under that). It’s what I lengthy suspected, however it’s fascinating to get extra affirmation of this.

I believe some bloggers are perhaps being slightly coy although about how a lot search site visitors they honestly get, or how a lot they profit from each common and informal guests. It’s most likely simply not very horny to speak about this (it’s far more fascinating to speak about the way you get your best superfans by social), however I really feel it performs an enormous function that’s nonetheless typically understated. 

Secret #2: the largest bloggers get lots of assist

It’s troublesome for a single particular person to handle a weblog, Twitter, Fb, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, mailing record, and so forth. and so forth. all on their very own and be equally good at managing all of these wildly completely different channels. What’s typically left unsaid is that most of the extra superior bloggers use VAs, social media managers, and editors.

That’s not significantly surprising in fact — it makes whole sense to outsource sure elements (I actually used a VA prior to now). It’s simply one thing to remember if maybe you’re a brand new blogger beginning out and feeling overwhelmed. Not everyone seems to be superhuman!

The convention was held in a resort close to the gorgeous Muckross Lake


My ideas after TBEX

Lastly, these are a number of assorted ideas I’ve had about my weblog over the previous couple of days (written up in a really sleep-deprived state):

  • I’m lastly going to take Pinterest significantly. I’ve heard about its potential for years, however it’s time for me to really get energetic on it. I simply had slightly peek in the present day and seems that with out doing something Indie Traveller already will get 19230 viewers on Pinterest a month (I had no thought). I’m questioning how far that might develop if I really begin making Pinterest pictures, boards, and pinning usually??
  • I’ve actually loved assembly up with readers. Earlier than TBEX I had a pint with Tighearnach and Hannah, two native Irish travellers who went to the Philippines based mostly on my posts. Final week I met Rafael from Lisbon, who learn my guide and is planning a 6 month journey by Southeast Asia. I like to see the faces behind the feedback and emails.
  • For me the holy grail of journey running a blog is to search out methods of balancing the realities of search engine optimisation (and the necessity for sensible worth) with the aspirations of doing higher journey writing. It may be disappointing to see generic ‘high issues to do’ posts do very properly and extra unique or particular stuff not getting a lot curiosity. I’ve thought loads about learn how to cowl in style matters however nonetheless make these posts evocative and fascinating, or learn how to lead guests right down to extra particular content material.
  • Blogs are nice at demand seize, whereas social is best at demand creation. Each are necessary.
  • A BIG conclusion for me: I wish to have a extra common publishing schedule. One drawback: I even have a really irregular journey schedule (e.g. this summer time Lisbon had me completely trapped like a bug inside a carnivorous plant… however in a great way). It’d be cool to steadiness issues out a bit by working with at the least one common paid correspondent subsequent yr. It will most likely be a $500 for two articles monthly kind of factor, if I can discover the best author.
  • Ummmm, is it simply me or are journey guide-style blogs (like mine) terribly ignored by people within the journey business? I typically discover DMOs troublesome to achieve (I’m speaking fundamental inquiries, not asking for fam journeys). At TBEX I struggled simply to get a quick assembly with a selected DMO, regardless of being within the high 5 outcomes for most of the high searches for his or her vacation spot and over 80,000 folks studying about their nation by Indie Traveller yearly. I get it, they need influencers to achieve individuals who haven’t but even thought of their vacation spot. However there’s a large function to play for journey information content material in directing travellers to new locations inside a vacation spot. I all the time see stories from DMOs complaining that vacationers solely go to 1 specific area or tourism not being diversified… properly, then those that are curious sufficient to look about your vacation spot ought to obtain a spread of concepts and recommendation. And that’s what we do! (OK, rant over ? )
  • In case you’re questioning, sure… TBEX = “Tea Baggage”.

This occasion undoubtedly gave me lots of meals for thought, and lots of new journey blogger mates. See you all once more at a future TBEX!