I typed in “Travel Blog Conference” into the Google search box and my life changed forever.
I know this sounds a bit dramatic, and at the time I didn’t know that search was going to change my life, I was just trying to figure out how to take my little travel blog to the next level.
Successful Bloggers All Have a Network
I was on a Google+ hangout called Better Blogging something or other where a do-it-yourself blogger talked about how she turned her own blog into a success. She talked about attending a bloggers conference for do-it-yourself bloggers and how she found her blog network. She learned at the conference that a blogging network should include a blogger that is at the same level as you, a blogger that is more experienced than you, and a blogger that is new.
I thought for a second “what are the chances that there is a conference out there for just travel bloggers like me?“. Man was I in for a ‘travel blogger awakening’!
How to Find Your Travel Blog Network
The best way to find your network is to get out there and interact. Here are some great places to start building your own travel blogging network.
New bloggers hate when you mention Twitter but prior to signing up to my first travel blogger’s conference I learned quickly that I had to get on Twitter to start interacting about the conference. I followed other attendees and they started following me. I learned how to interact through retweets and replies and started to grow my twitter following. Through these interaction I was invited by the Trump Tower Toronto to and exclusive bloggers lunch during the TBEX conference. In that moment I knew that I was doing something right!
Twitter Tips: Be patient, follow like-minded bloggers, interact with them, share their posts and tweets eventually more will follow you back. When you find a blogger you admire check out what they are tweeting and who they follow – learn from example. This works well with brands as well.
Travel Blog Conferences
For me the TBEX conference was a huge lucky break as it was located in Toronto, which is my neighboring city. I just bought a ticket and didn’t even know what I was signing up for. TBEX is a great conference for blogging newbies looking for info on how to run your blog, work with brands, use social media and improve your writing. They have 2 days of workshops during the conference and also work with the host city to provide some press trips and tours.
The best part of TBEX is networking not just with fellow bloggers but also with brands that you can work with. There are many social events filled with travel bloggers all talking about their blogs, trips and blogging life all willing to share their business cards with you. There is also speed dating and a marketplace which allow you to sit with brands and talk about your blog and the possibility of working together.
Through attending that conference I learned about press trips, my value as a blogger, the Toronto travel blogging community and some valuable lessons on the business of blogging. To this day most of the people I met and hung out with at TBEX are still in my personal blog network and we grow and work together everyday.
I attended my first Travel Massive event at the TBEX conference and I have been a regular attendee at all the Toronto monthly meet-ups. Travel Massive is a global organization of travel bloggers who have started chapters all over the world. Toronto is the second largest group and by attending monthly meet ups I met PR representatives who wanted to work with me, tourism boards and more travel bloggers to share and learn from. Travel Massive may not be in your city, but keep an eye out for them during your travels or connect with them and start your own chapter!
Network and share: There is more than enough work out there for all of us. Don’t be a competitive blogger, be a sharing one. Find the other bloggers like you who are willing to talk about the process, the people they’ve worked with, what they charge etc. you will all benefit from each other’s knowledge. Remember even the brand new blogger has something to offer – they are creative and energetic and I hate to break this to you – they may become bigger than you on day!
As you meet new people either through Twitter, at a conference or social event, you will find yourself getting invited to Facebook groups. Some of these groups are available to you by just searching “travel blogger group” in Facebook but some are hidden or require you to be approved to get in. What all these groups have in common are bloggers who have the same common goals: build our audience, get traffic to our site and write good content.
Facebook Tips: Don’t be afraid to ask questions: the groups are happy to discuss topics like which plug-ins should you use, site technical help, asking for advice on a trips, connecting with contacts and boosting your posts through asking for shares. Be aware that each group is different and some have rules and a codes of conduct, some don’t allow post sharing except in special sharing threads, so be aware before you post.
My advice to any blogger is if you think of your fellow bloggers as competition then you are setting yourself up for a fall. Make time to find the right blog friends who will encourage sharing content, retweeting posts, sharing contacts and information and giving advice to questions you may have.
What My Network Did for Me
Don’t do it all at once: I started a big list at TBEX of all the things I needed to learn and as I built my blog network there was always more to do, however I took my time and slowly started crossing off things from the list. Here is a brief overview of some of the major changes I’ve made since finding my blog network:
- Twitter: At TBEX I had about 500 Twitter followers. I attended travel-themed twitter chats and followed people in the chats and they followed me back. I spend time everyday on Twitter and currently have 11.4k following me.
- Facebook: Followers after TBEX my mom. I engaged in groups, followed other bloggers and they followed me back. I try to post at least once per day on Facebook and even did a few boosting strategies I learned from my network – now have 1.3k followers.
- Instagram: Followers at start of year my best friend. I started to be really picky about what I was posting. Only travel or food related, good quality images are posted on my feed now, I follow other good quality Instagram accounts, like and comment often and I use hashtags as recommended by people in my network. I now have a following of 1.6k.
- Dreamtravelmag.com: I started with 2000 views per month, implemented a blogging schedule as per recommendations from my best blog buddy. I committed to 1 post per week at first, posted on the same day each week and implemented a social media sharing strategy. Now my site has over 10,000 views per month, I write 2 posts per week, have a weekly email newsletter and subscriber list.
Looking back I don’t know how I ever managed my blog without my group of blog friends that surround me now, because of them I took my blog from a travel hobby and turned it into a successful business.
What networking tips do you have? Share your advice!