I spent last weekend down in Kingston, London for the Traverse 15 travel blogging conference. Events started on Friday night and continued until Sunday, it was a packed weekend of learning and fun. I’m sure you’ve seen the fun if you follow me over on Twitter – it involved lots of beer pong. Not only that but the sponsors of the event were running competitions all day long. Now today I wanted to talk about what I learnt about blogging over the weekend. Over Saturday there were plenty of sessions to get stuck into and often I was stuck for choice of which one to go to. But in the end I attended four different sessions and one focus group.
These are my top takeaways from Traverse 15
On working with PR companies
- Working with a PR company is like entering into a long term relationship – you need to be compatible, have similar goals and already know things about each other.
- Best way to approach a PR company is at a networking event (at the bar according to Julie) or by using Twitter and the #PRrequest – those Tweets actually get read and are really helpful if you want to work with a brand but don’t know their PR company.
- Biggest reason a PR company will say no is because you are not compatible, this may be due to: your online language being different to theirs, you don’t fit with their corporate image or it is the wrong time for the brand. Do your research on the brand before you approach their PR.
- Blog stats don’t really matter but they are needed (most unique visitors and where your readers come from) what matters more however is how well your readers engage in comments and on social media.
- When pitching to PR companies make your ideas fun, quirky and inspiring – you need to make yourself more appealing than every other blogger.
I attended two PR based talks, one by Julie Giraud (the art of building sustained relationships with brands and PR agencies – the PR perspective) and another by KLM/Air France which was a focus group on their coming projects, with bloggers for the year.
On travel writing – inspiration vs information
- Find your niche – let that influence but don’t let it limit you, you can always try other things.
- The seven main tips – get organised, be accurate, focus on the detail, good research – good writing, think about your audience, don’t use lazy language/cliches and get the basics right.
- Think and plan the blogs you want to write about a destination before you visit, this way you will be able to focus on what you need to find out while you’re there and can do some research beforehand.
- Avoid first person, use snappy sentences, be engaging but informative, thoroughly research and make you piece detailed and inspiring.
- Make your writing personal to give that extra bit of detail other write ups won’t have focused on.
I attended the travel writing workshop by Lonely Planet’s Isabella Noble.
On using social media successfully
- Focus on using one channel really well, then move on to the next – don’t spread yourself too thin.
- Set what you aim to get out of using social media, then create a strategy to reach this and break it down into steps.
- Use Facebook and Twitter analytics – check to see what is working/what is not, export and then compare data every few months.
- Always schedule your social media posts – saves you so much time.
- When creating Facebook ads use the power editor instead of the boost button – it has plenty of extra features but most importantly lets you target a relevant audience i.e people who have visited your blog before.
I attended the social media: beyond the basics talk by Elle Croft.
On video making
- Keep an eye on new technology and what is becoming easily available – right now that is 360 film but is isn’t quite developed enough for novices to use yet.
- Put out content regularly on your video channel – people will know when to come back and this this seems to work well.
- Your video needs to tell a story – think and plan what you want the video to look like before you start shooting, then when it comes to editing sort through your clips and organise them all.
- Upload the full video to YouTube but make trailer movies for other social media networks (and upload directly to them) – these need to be the best of the video in the first six seconds to work. Then provide a link to the full video or a call to action button.
- To build subscribers – give them a place to subscribe by using cards or annotations on your video (can be done easily in YouTube).
I attended the everything you ever wanted to know about video workshop with Greg Brand.
Traverse 15 was a brilliant event, I learnt a lot and and had so much fun doing so. If you have the chance to attend the next one or even Blog Stock later this year, I would definitely recommend it.