It was busy!
Busy as usual and successful!
This was the second TBEX in Europe and there were around 600 people attending. That's around 200 less than last year's conference in Girona, but the reason for it was, that there was just not enough space. TBEX could have sold more tickets.
I would have liked to say, that the organization was good, but I can't!
It was rainy when I arrived and everything I saw was grey in grey! Nothing I usually care about, but I was two days earlier in Mauritius and that was quite a contrast. So if they would have just made sure of a little sunshine, at least for the first day...
OK, when traveling to Ireland, you have to expect changing weather conditions every couple of hours. So let's get back to the topic and yes, the conference was organized really good!
There was a long list of different workshops and presentations and there should have been something for everyone.
I've been to 4 workshops/presentations myself and was a bit dissapointed by two of them, as the level of information was very basic or was clearly used for self-promotion.
The two positive presentations I've been to were very inspiring. One was hold by Kash, better known as the @BudgetTraveller from budgettraveller.org. He is a good friend and I wanted to support him by attending his presentation, but yet again he surprised me with lots of information about how to run a blog professional. He showcased his development of the last 2-3 years and even I've followed it and actually been part of it myself, there were still 'aha' moments in his presentation.
How many 'backpacker' or 'budget travel' blogs do you know? Probably quite a few. How can you stand out of these and run a website professional and full time in that niche? Seems tough, as 'budget' first doesn't sound like a cash cow. But Kash showed that he is a true entrepeneur and looked at his and other personal problems when traveling with a low budget. He used the opportunity to work on and with these 'problems' and showed travelers and the industry that backpacking and traveling on a budget can be done on a very high standard and for a low price. He created the guide 'Luxury Hostel of Europe'. Not just that, he got paid to travel and staying in some of the best hostels Europe provides.
This is a milestep! People who work in the hostel and travel industry will agree. Getting paid by a hostel to stay with them is not easy and for sure wasn't when Kash started his project. But he offered a very valuable product and I'm sure he explained the concept to his partners many times. The exposure his project got so far is very high and the money invested by his partners easily paid back already. And the ebook just got published, so that there will be far more value for the ones involved in this project.
Projects like these are actually do-able now, as iambassador, a marketing agency who works with the best travel bloggers and run the most successful travel blogger campaigns in the travel industry, created a complete new market. This opened doors for many other bloggers, who profit now of the success of this new industry.
I'm sure that everyone else who listened to Kash's presentation got inspired as well!
The final keynote presentation was my personal highlight of TBEX in Dublin, which was held by Dan and Audrey, @Umarket from www.uncorneredmarket.com. There were so many important messages in their presentation, that it will get tough to get them listed here.
An important point they made was, to 'wear' your business suit when you handle your website. That message was very much focused to bloggers who run their blog just a short time or now have thoughts of making a full time business out of it. Most bloggers will know the emails where someone offers you a 'free' blog post. Some mention as well that they would include a link in their article and some even offer to pay $50 – 80 for it.
„Wow! Someone wants to write for me and even pays for it? That sounds like heaven!“ as long you don't know how much that single link is really worth!
Please think twice or even three times if you go for those offers! Usually your link is worth much more, if you are at all interested in selling links. You should also know that Google is actually penalizing websites who sell links. Cheap offers usually also offer cheap quality and if you want to run your website full time for a longer time, you should seriously consider of not going for those offers. But that decision is up to you. Dan & Audrey also pointed that out and that you shouldn't make such decisions easily, as it looks 'inviting' and 'easy' to get your first income with your blog, but on a longer perspective you might hurt your own and also other businesses.
Another very important topic they talked about is the responsibility bloggers have!
We have no idea how much influence we have!
There are people reading your articles, tweets and messages. At the moment you have more than 500 users per month on your website, these are not just your friends and family anymore, who support you and your blog.
You start being an influencer!
At that moment you should take also more responsibility with your action! Be more sceptical when you get provided with information or when you get invited to a blog or press trip.
After their keynote, which also ended the conference, there were standing ovations. You don't see that too often on conferences.
What I've heard from other bloggers, also the other keynote sessions were of high quality and I got as well some very good feedback for other workshops. People who have been to TBEX in Girona, Toronto and/or Denver said, that this was so far the best TBEX conference they attended.
Well done TBEX team!
I would highly recommend bloggers, who consider to run their blog more professional or bloggers who already did that and now are in the process of trying to make a decent living from it, to visit conferences like TBEX, Traverse, TBU, but as well trade exhibitions like ITB and WTM.
You will learn a lot in the workshops, get inspired by presentations, meet the right people and also have a good time! The side and evening events alone are already worth booking your flight!
Bloggers who already run their online publication for a longer time and also are able to make a living from it, it's also very important to go to those conferences. The workshops so far might not give you big 'aha' effects, but the networking and meeting the right people is of immense value! On these conferences you meet people of the industry who are really interested to work with you.
Sure, do not expect a direct business deal, only because you had a nice chat together. It's all about building relationships, to learn more about the other person and business and what they are looking for. This might take months, if not even years. But it's worth it!
It is as well a lot of fun to meet like minded folks, discuss different topics and exchange knowledge. It is on these kind of conferences and exhibitions where you meet the guys with whom you share the same passion: