If you’re not sure what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks, I have been travelling around Scandinavia with one goal in mind – TBEX – the annual Travel Bloggers Exchange conference in Europe. TBEX hold the following conferences annually – Europe, Asia and North America. In 2016, the European TBEX was held in Stockholm.
I knew that attending TBEX was going to rocket my travel blog business, but at the same time I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a massive learning curve combining both practical and technical advice. Here’s what I learn from my first exciting TBEX….
Practical Advice from TBEX Stockholm 2016
There are three main pieces of practical advice that I would like to share with you since my first TBEX…
1. Don’t Stay in a Hostel for a Conference!
So I booked a dorm room in City Backpackers, Stockholm for the conference for around £25 per night. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, but Stockholm is expensive, and I could have easily paid over £100 per night for a hotel room.
Although it was nice to stay at City Backpackers, the practicalities of being in a dorm room are just not conducive to a conference! People coming in at 3am after a night of clubbing and people waking up at 5am for a flight, when you’ve got to be up at 8am for a solid day of meetings – not good! Book a hotel for conferences, please!
2. Pack some Decent Smart Clothing
‘I don’t need to pack smart clothing when this place will be full of travellers,’ I thought to myself before TBEX. How wrong could I be! Travel bloggers take their businesses seriously and dress to impress at these events.
As you can see, I had an amazing time at the Abba Museum with Elaine from Runaway Brit!
I had packed a load of jeans and T-shirts! Did I really want to meet representatives of the big names in the industry, including the likes of Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor, in jeans and walking boots? Hell no! Off I went to H & M to buy a decent black skirt, top and jacket. I won’t make this mistake again! If you are going on a conference, it is really important that you have clothes that look relatively smart and that you have clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in.
3. Plan Rest Days either Side of your Conference
Our TBEX conference was so exciting, but consisted of a very heavy schedule including workshops in the day and parties at night. Hey – they even held a private party at the ABBA Museum for us! Remember that conferences can be intensive and it’s a good idea to plan rest days either side before you either fly home or move on to the next city. I’m tempted to book three days either side to produce action plans and write up my blog, too. What I have Learnt about Travel Blogging from TBEX Stockholm 2016.
Improve your Travel Blog with these Nuggets of Information from TBEX Stockholm
As well as learning a few lessons about the practicalities of attending TBEX, I learnt a great deal from TBEX regarding turning your travel blog into a business. Here are the main things that I am going to action, and that could help you too…
1. Build your Email List!
Nomadic Matt did a great training on building your email marketing list. It’s so important as it can be used to share helpful deals with your fans and profit from affiliate marketing and e-book sales. I learnt that Aweber is a much better platform that Mailchimp as it offers the ability to do segmenting – for example, send different follow up emails to my UK based followers than to my USA based followers. Convert Kit is also an excellent email marketing tool. If you would like to sign up for Aweber for your email marketing, click here.
#vasamuseum #party with some amazing #travel #bloggers! #TBEX #tbexvasa #networking #digitalnomads A photo posted by Amy Trumpeter (@amytrumpeter) on
2. Use Affiliate Marketing
After meeting with big names in the industry such as Viator, Tripadvisor and Agoda , you realise that there are so many opportunities to market their tours and accommodation on your travel blog. This can bring a profit and help you to fund your travel.
I now have the massive task of going back through my old blogs and inserting links, but this will be worth it, as it will create an excellent source of passive income.
3. Profit from Ebooks
I attended a fantastic training workshop on how to write and publish an ebook. It really helped me to see this as a long term passive income for my blog.
An e-book can be 2500 words and still sell on Amazon! You can also sell through Smashwords, who will list and sell your ebook for you for just 15% commission.
There are two ways that you can use an ebook to push your profits for your travel blog. Either do a ‘freebie’ to increase your subscribers and therefore potential future customers, or do an ebook for sale at the optimal price of between $2.99-$9.99 on Amazon. Either way, make sure that it includes links to your blog to increase readership and website traffic.
4. Develop a Niche
With over 800 travel bloggers at TBEX Stockholm 2016, it is clear that a niche is essential to make your blog stand out. It’s not enough just to be a travel blogger anymore. You have to have a specialism that makes you stand out from the crowd. Maybe you visit UNESCO sites, blog about history or focus on nightlife?
My main niche is that I blog about travel with medical conditions – anxiety, asthma, epilepsy and endometriosis. I’m also setting up an ‘offspring’ niche blog called www.templeseeker.com, which is where I will focus on religious places of interest, which ties in with my degree (BA World Religion and MA in South Asian Studies).
5. Be Professional with Editorial Calendars
The Lonely Planet representatives outlines the importance of having an editorial calendar for your blog. This allows you to pre-plan content and ensure that this ties in with key dates in your calendar (such as trips, festivals and conferences). This allows you to focus on quality, rather than quantity and makes your blog look much more professional.
Perhaps you do a certain monthly feature, in which case, this needs to be added to your calendar. Perhaps you will decide to publish at certain dates and times to ensure that your readers receive regular content.
Spreadsheets are a great free way to pre-plan your content around key dates, but you can also choose to use tools such as Google Calendars, Trello and Coschedule. You can also add in guest posting and social media.
And the good news? Pre-scheduled content allows you to say YES to more of the FUN stuff!
I hope that this has benefitted you and your blog. Overall, I would highly recommend TBEX as the amount of learning you will do through workshops and networking will be massive.
What did you learn from TBEX 2016? Please feel free to share!