WTM14 was hectic, overwhelming and exciting. It was the first travel expo I had been to, the first blogging sessions I have attended and the first time I approached companies to work with me. So much happened in just the one day I attended, I’ve realised it’s important to look back over the notes I took and the experiences I’ve had. And maybe I can learn something for my blog in the near future and something for WTM next year. I also thought this maybe helpful to those who didn’t attend or missed the day I did attend.
Four Lessons I Learnt at WTM14
Have a vague plan and be a little organised for your WTM experience – it is huge and completely overwhelming. It also made me want to visit EVERYWHERE. Having said that I knew there was no point approaching stands for countries on the other side of the world, that I have no plans to visit in the next year. To me it felt silly to approach countries I would not be able to find the time or money to travel to, unless offered a full press trip. That has never been my approach to blogging so I felt happier sticking to countries I could visit on a budget already. Due to this I headed for Europe, even still it was hard to know which stands and which countries to approach. I found a good starting point was the list of blogger friendly stands, knowing these stands are happy to work with bloggers made it easier to approach them. The bright lights and pretty pictures of WTM will quickly dazzle you but I found it important to not let them blind me and stick to my instincts of working with companies which suit my blog. Whatever your approach and objectives make sure you have a vague plan and try to follow it. There is no point visiting stands which won’t work with you because the brands don’t fit each other.
Although this is a point more specifically for WTM it can apply to all networking and pitching you do, remember to have a plan with who you want to work with, what you want to do and if it fits with your brand and approach.
Be confident when talking to stands – Approaching the first few stands was scary, I didn’t know what to say or how to even start asking if they worked with bloggers. Typically the first stand we asked didn’t work with bloggers and our already low confidence was hit. You will quickly find yourself giving the same talk to each stand you visit but the more confidence you give that talk, the better response you will get. It will always be hard getting knocked back by stands who don’t understand blogging but you shouldn’t let that put you off. Be confident, you are representing your blog and the impression you make at that stand will be the one that company remember.
This point however doesn’t just apply to WTM, it is something you should do when talking to brands at any networking event and when sending emails to companies.
It isn’t all about blog views, it’s about share-ability too
One of the two blogging session I attended was on storytelling and the value it gives to your reader. Unfortunately the talk got very off subject and ended up being more about press trips, if bloggers should be paid and access to wifi on press trips. However the one big things I really learnt in all this talk was that companies are not just looking at your blog stats. This doesn’t mean they aren’t important any more, of course they are, they will still be looked at. However when looking at a blogger and deciding if they want to work with them it is their activity on social media that is becoming important. If you have a blog that is being shared all over social media feeds, if your updates are generating likes and comments companies will be interested. They realise the importance of inspiration and story telling through updates on social media.
The importance of video blogging
If I hadn’t already started vlogging then this session would have given me the kick I needed to start. With statistics like 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, 43x more likely to appear on page one of Google search with a video and the fact people tend to stay an extra two minutes on sites with videos. It is easy to understand why you need to start creating videos – it doesn’t matter if it is a video of the city without you, or a vlog with you just talking. It is the idea that this is a new medium, a different way of sharing something which is far more interactive and lets people decide their own opinion more. The most important tips I took away in terms of my own video blogging was: sound is crucial, build a personal relationship to your audience and know who you are and be it.
The whole WTM experience was exhausting and exciting at the same time. It was certainly a good eye opener to networking and approaching brands to work with. It instilled wanderlust for visiting countries all over the world and it was fun to hang out with fellow travel bloggers.
Did you attend WTM14? Did you enjoy your time? What did you learn?