Travel bloggers are always asking other bloggers What’s the secret to being a successful travel blogger? I won’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I do know that face-to-face connection is a big part of the secret sauce.
As travel bloggers we are always connected. Need to reach us? Try Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even Google+. If that still doesn’t work, there’s always Skype or email. It’s not always easy to meet up in person over a cup of coffee, or even more preferably a glass of wine especially when our blogging community is in physically different places spread out all over the world but we need to make an effort to do so.
I’m just as reliant on electronic communication as the next blogger is and I’m all for this! The Facebook groups for travel bloggers are a great way to keep up with what’s happening in the industry and provide support for virtually every question under the sun from Eeek! My site was just hacked, now what? to Does anyone have any contacts in Timbuktu? Electronic communication is great for this type of stuff – not to mention reminding you of whose birthday it is (thanks Facebook) so that you can at least maintain some kind of contact with all of your so-called travel blogging friends.
But we need more. We need to meet each other and the travel industry in person. Find out what we’re really like when we’re not hiding behind technology waxing poetically about the most recent place we’ve just visited while typing away still in our pyjamas.
Some people use the word networking. I personally hate this word. It makes me think you want something from me. I much prefer the word connecting – in other words, lets establish a genuine connection and see how we can support each other, even if that’s just offering moral support or being wine drinking buddies.
My closest travel blogging friends are those have I’ve met in person on multiple occasions. We connected at TBEX or another travel industry event, went our own ways for a few months keeping in touch online, then connecting in person again at another event and so on. It’s this continued connection that has led to both close friendships and the type of business advice you won’t get from most people online, like How much do you charge for such and such? or knowing that if you ask for feedback on your super-duper top-secret idea that they will give you honest feedback – and not steal your idea. I cherish these friendships on so many levels and they would not have been possible had I not invested my time in events like TBEX. In fact, TBEX was the very first travel conference I ever went to. I went to the one in Copenhagen four years ago. Four years later, I’m still in touch with some of the bloggers I met there and am even in one of those secret groups on Facebook with several of them.
The same is true for connecting with industry. Of course it’s possible to establish a relationship online, but I’ve found that with few exceptions my most long-lasting and rewarding industry connections are those I’ve met in person – and usually more than once. This is especially true when you’re wanting to work with a brand or destination on a long-term basis. Having met you in person at least once, makes it much easier for them to commit to working with you and vice versa.
I’m thrilled to see speed networking being offered at TBEX Athens this year. Many people will argue that you can’t establish a real connection in 8 minutes. I would argue that that’s not the point. We determine whether we like someone within seconds after meeting them. The point of speed networking is to find out whether you actually like each other or not – everyone wants to work with people they like, and to explore whether there is any potential for working together there and then go from there. It’s the starting point, not the finish point.
In addition to the connection, there’s also the learning side of things at TBEX. There’s no shortage of information available on the internet, but there’s nothing like hearing the straight truth from the horse’s mouth. When I first started blogging 4 1/2 years ago my get rich plan – naturally taken from the internet was to make my millions from Amazon Affiliates and Google AdSense. The internet said it was easy….you can guess how well that panned out for me….
A lot of speakers are open and in a private conversation will spill even more of their success secrets than they did in their presentations. This can prove to be invaluable! I’m speaking at TBEX Athens on Twitter Beyond the Basics: Tips for Advanced Users on Saturday, October 25th from 10:45 – 11:45. I’m coming from a genuine place of wanting to help any blogger that asks for help so don’t be shy!
Lets connect…in person of course at TBEX Athens and discover at least a part of the so-called secret sauce to becoming a successful travel blogger…preferably over a glass of wine!