6 reasons to be excited for the Getaway Travel Blog Conference

Posted on 18 July 2013

Travel blogging is taking over the world, and I think it’s the best possible outcome. Instead of relying on a PR team and advertisers to tell us the truth about a destination, we now have access to thousands of other voices: people who are willing to tell it like it is, who want to learn from each other. The travel blogging corner of the internet is the fun spot: it might be a little messy, with crumbs from someone’s pain au chocolat spilling onto another person’s kimono, but you could never call it boring! People share questions, stories and advice, and the exchange of ideas can result in international friendships. For example, I know that I’ve got a place to crash in San Francisco because of a conversation that started about the best backpackers in Nkhata Bay, Malawi.

It’s also a great way to get some headway as a writer. You can build up a portfolio and show your variety, which will help no matter what your writing ambitions are. Blogging can become a full-time career if you’re smart about it, but it’s also great as a stepladder towards any writing dream: print or online, travel or otherwise. The Getaway Travel Blog Conference, taking place on 3 August 2013, mashes everything you’ll ever need to know about travel blogging (and making it big as a travel writer) into one awesome day of talks and workshops by some of South Africa’s best speakers. Here’s why I’m excited to go:


1. Fantastic speakers

This year has a seriously amazing line-up: and it’s diverse. From up-and-coming travel bloggers like Merushka Govender to digital all-rounders like Dave Duarte, founder of Ogilvy Digital Marketing Academy, every speaker is full of invaluable advice for bloggers. Our editor Cameron Ewart-Smith will be giving you insider tips on how to pitch your work to an editor,  and Sarah Duff will be giving us advice on writing evocative, transporting travel writing (read: Cashews and coconuts: A roadtrip in Mozambique).


2.  Learning SEO

Reasons to be Excited for Getaway Travel Blog Conference 2013

Image courtesy of marciookabe

Before I worked at Getaway, SEO just sounds like a caps lock enthusiast was beginning to talk about the capital of South Korea. The decoded version is that it stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and is one of the most important tools in getting your blog out there. Not learning about SEO, as a blogger, is like having a lemonade stand inside your house and wondering why no-one is knocking. SEO is about putting up the signs, so that Google and other helpful folks can direct readers to your front door.


3. Rocking social media

Reasons to be Excited for Getaway Travel Blog Conference 2013

Image courtesy of Kate Ter Harr

You do Facebook? Great! That’s one social medium, though, and one tweet doesn’t make a summer. Or something. The effective use of social media can connect you with bloggers of similar interests, get more exposure for your blog, and even make you better looking (I’m not joking. Independent researchers have found that Instagram-filtered self-portraits are way hotter than the originals). If you’re already tweeting with your eyes shut, never fear: there’s an advanced social media workshop too (for now, keep up with the excitement by checking out the #GTBC hashtag on Twitter).


4. Photography

Reasons to be Excited for Getaway Travel Blog Conference 2013

My guilty secret is that I’m a journalist who can’t take photos. Luckily, Russell Smith, who’s shot countless stories for Getaway, is at the rescue. Read this guide to being a travel photographer, then look at this Karoo lamb photoblog for a little taste of his work, and you’ll soon be as excited as I am to hear what he’s got to say about making the most of your (lack of) photography know-how.


5. Making your blog pay the bills

This is still the big question: how can your blog pay for (at least) the electricity and coffee it takes to run it? Mike Sharman has the answers. He’s the fellow behind Retroviral (you remember the Nando’s ad ‘Last Dictator Standing’? Yeah. Well, they’re the reason it went viral) and is known to be pretty funny himself.


6. The after party

The Getaway Travel Blog Conference after parties are legendary. After meeting and learning from these blogging heroes, we get to drink with them. I’d tell you about the things I’ve heard, but that would be unkind to my colleagues. There are some stories that should stay off the internet. Just know that it’s not like any conference after party you’ve seen before, and that you will be missing out in a large way if you make the foolish choice to have an early night.

There is one catch though: it’s selling out fast. You can avoid the FOMOs and Pimp Your Blog by booking your ticket to the Getaway Travel Blog Conference here.

Find out more about the programme and speakers here, or read up on 25 things learnt at Getaway Travel Blog Conference 2012.

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