I always love to attend travel blog conferences – they really do teach you not only about travel blogging itself, but also about the host region and how to network. This year, my travel blog of choice was TBEX Ostrava.
This was a city in the Czech Republic that I had never heard of. Somewhat industrial, and a stark contrast to Prague, we could still see the potential of the third city of the Czech Republic.
Visiting Ostrava for TBEX
Ostrava has several key positive points that show it’s tourism potential – an old square and a Cathedral will attract those who like architecture.
The extensive tram network make it easy to get around, so public transport isn’t a problem. You can even scan your credit or debit card to pay on the tram!
Ostrava has a decent ‘bar street’ – Stodolni Street, where we spent our final night drinking Radaghast, my favourite local Czech beer.
What was most interesting, however, was the industrial monstrosity slash awe-inspiring transformation of Dolní Vítkovice.
This former mine, steelworks and iron works has been renovated into an astonishing festival and conference venue that is so ugly it’s beautiful!
The Colours of Ostrava festival is held here every year. As for our TBEX conference, it was held in a converted gas tank!
TBEX Travel Conference Take Aways
This year, I found the presentations particularly useful. They seemed very business based this year and all about the ‘professionalism’ of travel blogging, No, we’re not all about the free stuff! Travel blogging is now rapidly becoming recognised as a profession within it’s own right. Here are my five key takeaways…
1. The Professionalism of Travel Blogging
In order to gain travel blogging the respect it deserves as a profession, don’t work for free! Have a media kit and ‘rates card’ ready to send anyone who is looking for backlinks, sending you on a press trip or any other business collaboration
(Thanks to Mike from Bemused Backpacker).
2. Change the Way that you Write
Change the way that you write so that it ‘showcases’ products or affiliates that you review.I have a tendency to write using first person ‘I’ as I tell my stories. Apparently, changing this to ‘you’, your writing can reach out more to the audience.
I can potentially make more money as I tap into what people want to know, rather than what I want to write! Oh bugger – I mean YOU can make more money as you tap into what people want to know, rather than what YOU want to write!
(Thanks to Yeison from My Tan Feet).
3. Use Keysearch and Focus on SEO
Use Keysearch to do your keyword research and then optimise in Yoast based on that. Write to sell, not just to tell stories. This is what will push your travel blog income up.
Gemma and Laura from Make Traffic Happen also opened my eyes on several affiliates. Some of the ones that I partner with only pay out for bookings within the first 24 hours, whereas some pay out commission for the full 30 days. I’m thinking I need to re-jig my affiliates! I mean who books there and then, right? Most people search for a few days online before making that all important commission generating booking. 😉
(Thanks to Gemma and Laura from Make Traffic Happen)
4. Use Video in your Facebook Ads
Use video in Facebook ads and target your audience for the best Return on Investment. Also get your Facebook targeting right by specifying your demographic (age, location, interests).
5. Lead Pages and Freebie Giveaway
Generate interest through Facebook ads by offering a freebie and then use ‘Lead Pages’ to capture the potential customers email list and take them off Facebook. After all, we never really know when Facebook is going to die a death! Keep your audience 😉