“If you build it, he will come.” – Field of Dreams
I know that quote comes from Field of Dreams and isn’t directly relevant, but the trials and tribulations of blogging made me think of it. No, if you build a blog, he, or they (readers) will NOT come unless you’re willing to work for it.
Having blogged for a year now, I’m only now starting to realize the fire I need to light under my butt to really get myself where I want to be with my blog. Attending a travel blogging conference like TBEX was just the spark I needed. Here are my 6 most important takeaways from TBEX Costa Brava 2015 and I hope this will help the future first-time attendees out there!
1) Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Bloggers
If you keep comparing yourself to other bloggers thinking you’re not as successful or as good of a writer, it’ll only cause frustration and deter you from achieving your goals. Be confident in your abilities! Are you a fantastic photographer? Does your descriptive writing transport the reader to the destination? Own it! You are good enough. Don’t doubt yourself.
I started off at TBEX feeling a little shy and embarrassed that I’m not some high-flying blogger. Then I realized that if I don’t present myself with confidence, no one is going to be interested in getting to know what my blog or my personality is about.
2) Just say “Hi”
A world of doors can open for you if you just start by saying “hi” to people. I have always said that and truly believe it. I’ve met wonderful people and had once-in-a-lifetime experiences by just introducing myself to people I don’t know during my travels. The same goes for networking. It sounds lame, but it’s so helpful. I’m not the greatest networker; I don’t really feel comfortable approaching someone and talking myself up. But networking at TBEX is the best thing to do! Not only networking with sponsors, but other bloggers, too. I met some of the bloggers I’ve followed for years; the ones that gave me the idea to start a blog myself! I also met new ones who I’m lucky enough to now call my friends. If you say “hi”, you never know where it will take you, and it usually is somewhere good! (And don’t forget to casually hand over your business card!)
3) Take advantage of all that TBEX has to offer
I didn’t. I only took one day off from my current job teaching English to attend TBEX, but I really should have taken off the whole week. The TBEX conference is always set in a gorgeous location, and you’re going to want to explore it. TBEX Europe was in Costa Brava, Spain this year. There were pre-TBEX activities, post-TBEX tours, and free hotel rooms that I missed out on! I’m still kicking myself about it! Most importantly, I missed out on making more connections and meeting other people. The next TBEX I can attend, I’M ALL IN. It’s an invaluable experience.
4) TBEX-ers are Your Support System
Ask questions even if you think they’re nerdy or silly. I talked to bloggers about SEO, social medial engagement, and all the scary things they stress me out every day. It was unbelievably helpful to get another blogger’s take on these things. I’m a member of blogger groups but there’s really nothing better than face-to-face interaction. The best part: many of my new friends told me to ask them questions whenever I want! I now have a support system and I can’t explain how much of a relief it is to have that.
5) In Real Life, People Look and Sound Different Than You’d Expect
It’s kind of funny, actually. Some bloggers are taller, shorter, quieter, funnier, and sometimes, their voice doesn’t match the one your brain picked out for them while you’re reading their blogs. The takeaway from this? Nothing really, just that it was an interesting tidbit I noticed and probably rings true for others, too. But it’s so great to meet bloggers in real life and end up truly liking them, not just virtually “liking” them on the Internet.
6) Enjoy Every Second of It
TBEX really pulls out all the stops for bloggers. There’s amazing food, drinks, native performances, swag bags, and much more. It’s just awesome. I was blown away by the amount of work TBEX and its contributors put into creating this event. They made me feel really honored to be there.
I just loved TBEX.
Reminiscing about TBEX gives me the warm and fuzzies. To be honest, there have been times when I’m not sure about this whole blogging thing, when I’m not seeing the results I want and I’m not able to put in the time to really make this thing succeed that I think about giving up. TBEX taught me that if I push through the tough patches, work hard, and write about what I love, maybe one day I could be sitting up at the presenter’s table dropping my knowledge on newbie bloggers. Maybe.