Why Are They All Talking At Me? (The TBEX10 Experience – Day One)
The end of June (June 26th & 27th, to be exact) had me quaking in my proverbial boots for a few weeks prior – mentally trying to digest what a conference dedicated to bloggers would actually entail. Though an editor and a blogger, I had not attended a function such as this in the past. I was filled with excitement and trepidation simultaneously. Listening to *Hayes Carll’s “I Got A Gig” during the flight to NYC washed away all of the anxiety. I had a gig: Look, Listen & Learn. Period. I looked, I listened and I learned:
Morning Talk – Passion and Wanderlust
Jim Benning of World Hum, in his opening remarks, made several references to the differences and the similarities between travel writers and travel bloggers. He acknowledged a portion of the information that was soon to be presented would not truly pertain solely to bloggers but glean what one could from it. Given the now overlapping aspects of being a travel writer and/or a travel blogger, much was to be gained from both sides of the various presenter’s coins. The final word – write what you want. Just do it with passion and a sense of everlasting wanderlust.
The final word – write what you want. Just do it with passion and a sense of everlasting wanderlust.
Session #1 – Upping Your Game
Whether you are a writer, blogger, journalist, essayist, novelist or just scribble words on a page for the sheer enjoyment of feeling pen in hand, there is one theme that flows throughout all venues. Be a teller of stories. It’s a simple concept but one few actually follow. If you are going to write about your day in Rome, weave a story around your activities. Refrain from the “I did this and then I did that” approach. Your audience = strangers. They don’t know you but by telling a great story, they will continue to visit your blog over and over again. Draw them in with humor, intrigue, mystery, whatever. Basically, remember the rules of storytelling; introduce interesting characters (you), lead the reader along the path with intrigue, offer them the plot line at the crest of your tale and then finish so you and they feel a sense of accomplishment.
Session #2 – Travel Video for the Web
A few technical difficulties did decrease the amount of information available during this discussion, but much was still to be had. The thrust of the session dealt with video blogging rather than including video into one’s written blog format. In other words, how to film /edit video for YouTube, Cable TV, etc. (All very useful venues for bloggers.) Whether making the move to video blogging only or wanting to add video to your written blog, the information is great.
The highlight: creating your video from beginning to end. It is not a ‘just take your camera out, shoot countless hours of continuous footage then spend countless more hours sitting behind a monitor editing out 90% of a day’s work’. It’s actually simpler than that. Possibly more boring too, but gets the job done without the ‘lost in the glow of the monitor stare’.
* Pre-think your true subject/story line.
* Define your time line. (How much time do you have to tell your whole story.)
* Consider the arc of your story. (Build up, topic capture, wind down to ending.)
* Block out your shots. (Mentally, and in writing, connect the story line to a visual representation of each story’s segments.)
* Don’t be afraid to get up and personal with your subject even when it is a human being. (“Over their shoulder” shots to get something like kneading bread works. People are likely to accept that “closeness” when they are the story. Remain professional in your demeanor as it will go a long way to getting the perfect 10-30 seconds of footage.)
* Film only what’s truly needed. (If you have done all of the above, you will shoot minutes, rather than hours, of footage. You will also have created better stuff.)
Session #3 – Working with PR
Though humorously referred to as “How do I get free stuff – like trips and swag and anything else?” it was more about proper behavior.
Though humorously referred to as “How do I get free stuff – like trips and swag and anything else?” it was more about proper behavior. (Proper behavior aspects arise in a later panel discussion too.) With the lines of travel blogger and writer beginning to overlap more and more, public relations people have finally started to take notice. Bloggers have also taken notice that there are PR opportunities available to them that hadn’t existed in the past. There are no strict guidelines only suggestions and recommendations on how the PR world works.
* Be specific and do your homework. (If you want something from someone (ie; free hotel stay) give them a reason to consider it. “I like hotels so let me stay” is not good enough, where “I’m writing about the new attractions surrounding your hotel” just may be your ticket in.)
* Define what’s expected from both sides beforehand. (Is airfare included, gratuities included, am I touring with a group, will I have “personal time”, what are the rules? Be sure to include your own expectations so you are not caught off guard. If it’s goods, rather than services, again, what is expected in return for receiving said goods?)
* Be truthful. (If a review of any kind is expected, regardless of who has paid the tab tell the truth about the experience. Whether hotel review, book review or anything else, just be honest.)
Session #4 – Branding, Finding a Niche and Relevant Self-Promotion
The title pretty much covers it all. Evelyn Hannon of Journeywoman.com has found her niche by writing articles specifically targeted to women. Jessica Spiegel of Bootsnall/WhyGo Italy (Italy Logue) has found hers in writing about (you guessed it) Italy. Each participant has found their niche by sticking to what they know from their own personal life experiences. As for self-promotional, you are your own best advocate. Also, don’t be afraid of tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool to help generate new/innovated search terms for your site. Outside of saying “use your friends, family, social media, keyword generators, etc.” – I’m stuck in the mud. (Hopefully, someone will come along and dig me out…)
Click here for “Why Are They All Talking At Me? (The TBEX10 Experience – Day Two)“. It’s more good stuff. Really.
*Hayes Carll – everyone should have a chance to expand their horizons, whether it be music, literature, or whatever. He is my current contribution. Like him or not – you’ve just had a new experience you may not have had before… (PS: Not promoting anything other than I really like the song. PasteMagazineOnline and I have no relationship whatsoever. Full disclosure.)