If you’ve been keeping an eye on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll know that the second Getaway Travel Blog Conference (or #GTBC as we’ve come to know it), sponsored by Cape Town Tourism, was quite the success. The speakers had so many fascinating and inspirational things to say that most of the 160 delegates went home with renewed spark to improve their own blogs, or to start brand new ones.
Seeing as it’s difficult to sum up an entire day’s worth of talks, I put together a list of top 25 tips gained from the incredible line-up of local and international speakers.
For more on the 2012 Getaway Travel Blog Conference click here.
About finding your niche and getting personal
1. Good blogs are not about facts and info; they are about personality, opinion and real stories. People will like your blog because of your personality, so don’t write like a fact checker, you’re not Wikipedia. (@WildJunket)
2. There are thousands of travel blogs out there, so it’s essential to find your niche and your own voice in order to be successful. (@WildJunket)
3. Be the niche you want to see in the world. The more niche your blog is, the more valuable – it’s much better than a content factory. (@DaveDuarte)
4. The human mind is bafflingly bad at understanding logic but shockingly superb at understanding stories. Be authentic, be true to yourself and have fun. (@william_price)
5. Figure out the purest form of what your about on a blog or a website and you’ll establish your brand. After that, see your blog as a personal brand. (@LandLopers)
6. Don’t be afraid to trust your own voice, but remember that delighting your readers is the key to long-term awesomeness. (@DaveDuarte)
7. Photograph your world; tell your story through a lens. Photos capture people’s imaginations and can be a very powerful marketing tool. (@velvetescape)
8. Feel what you are photographing and don’t over analyse, because creating and analysing are two different processes. (@guy_with_camera)
9. Put the viewer in the picture and don’t overthink the technical things. It’s not about depth of field, it’s about depth of feeling. (@guy_with_camera)
10. Visuals are important, so be descriptive – show don’t tell. Tell the reader about the colour of the sky, the smell of the air or the sound of the wind. (@WildJunket)
About social media
11. People who use the Internet are very lazy, make sharing your content easy. Also make your headlines tweetable. Using hashtags wisely on Twitter is very beneficial as its many travellers’ most popular way of searching new travel ideas.
12. Never sell your tweets or buy followers. It’s about quality, not quantity. A small number of loyal followers can be just as powerful as thousands of followers. (@LandLopers & @traveldudes)
13. As a travel blogger, you’ve got to be real and authentic in sharing experiences as that’s what your followers connect with. The social media has a really big, strong fake detector button. Also remember that blogs exist on multiple platforms and our messaging needs to be different on each one (@LandLopers)
14. Retweets aren’t repetition, it is amplification. Retweet quality content. (@DaveDuarte)
15. Create content that people want to engage with and they will share it with their friends. But don’t forget to share it with anyone and everyone first. Concepts will not model themselves for you (@mikesharman)
About writing great content
16. Use different styles of blogging, like travel narratives, photo essays, lists, tips and your own thoughts. Compiling shorts travel lists or tips, for example, work very effectively for travel bloggers – people want easy info. (@WildJunket)
17. A blogger’s work isn’t done once the post is published. It’s also important to promote it afterwards. (@WildJunket)
18. Find your most popular posts, do similar ones and link the series. (@WildJunket)
About the technical and being professional
19. Having a media kit will help you understand the essence of your own blog and serves as the blogger’s equivalent of an elevator pitch. (@Landlopers)
20. Invest time building your brand and create that perception of professionalism. Perception sells. (@mikesharman)
21. It’s important to know your blog’s stats. Understanding and using your site stats is your best way to negotiate advertising on your blog. (@josephclawrence)
22. Be informed. Stay up to date with the latest in information technology and don’t be afraid of statistics. It can truly help your blog to know what people are searching for and what they’re enjoying most about your blog. (@josephclawrence)
About not being afraid (of working hard)
23. ‘Chance favours the connected mind’, so collaborate for new ideas, question the rules and know that there is not always a conventional light bulb moment. Ideas can take a long, hard slog. (@justcam)
24. Have courage to follow, but don’t do it blindly. Do the things you love. Choose your battle well and stand firm. (@JaxLahoud)
25. Don’t wait for your stuff to be perfect, just get it out there. Also share your fails. (@daveduarte)
Here’s what other people learned at the 2012 Getaway Travel Blog Conference:
Guy with Camera
10 things I learned at the Getaway Travel Blog Conference
Getaway Travel Blog Conference
10 golden nuggets from the Getaway Travel Blog Conference
Sunee sees the world
Were you at the conference? What did you learn?