If you missed it, here’s Part One of my TBEX 2010 recap.
The morning session started a little late, presumably from the partying Saturday night. But Sunday turned out to just as fun and informative as the previous day.
First up Gary Arndt of Everything-Everywhere – Travel Porn. The name alone grabs your attention and it was my favorite session of the whole conference.
What was Gary really talking about?
Imagery. Pictures. Big fat pictures! Gary did a little research and discovered a few things…
Most people who buy travel magazines never actually get to the locations. They buy them for the pictures, for the imagery that takes them away when they don’t have the time or the means to really do it.
His definition of travel porn – “Watching people do things you’ll never do in places you’ll never go.” Pure escapism.
Gary’s tips for being a travel porn star:
The best camera you have is your own. Don’t get an expensive SLR camera you don’t know how to use when some of the best shots come from disposable cameras.
Don’t go crazy trying to find the perfect picture. The best picture is the picture you took that goes with the story you’re writing.
Pay attention to highlights and shadows.
Use the biggest pictures possible on your blog. Gary gets more views the bigger the pic is.
Don’t host images on your own blog for a number of reasons. Use SmugMug or some other service to host the pictures. Google uses the page load time to determine how and where to rank your blog in the search engine. Pictures will slow down load time and could drop you in the rankings. When you backup your blog (you are backing up your blog, right?) the more pictures you have, the longer it takes and the bigger the backup file is.
Careful when using Creative Commons pictures in your posts. Carefully read the restrictions and properly credit anyone’s photo that you use. Try out Wikimedia for more places for pictures and images.
Practice makes perfect. Take lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of pictures.
Learn simple post processing of your photos. You don’t need to be a Photoshop maven, but pick a program and know how to crop and adjust the light and dark exposures on photos.
Travel Writing Ethics – Freebies and Disclosure
New FTC rules on disclosure and best-practices with examples for bloggers & tweeters
Mary Engle, Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Lola Akinmade, Matador Network
Spud Hilton, San Francisco Chronicle
Kim Mance, GoGalavanting.com (moderator)
Susan Getgood, BlogWithIntegrity.com
In summary, be honest and truthful. If a cruise line is sending you on a cruise or a hotel putting you up for a few days – disclose up front that it is a sponsored press trip. Lola from Matador recommends that you be creative when you are writing about press trips. Make it funny, make it clever, but make it clear that you’re not paying for this service or product. Your reputation and credibility are on the line if readers find out you did a review and did not pay yourself. They start to wonder if you’ve been paid off to write a good review.
One of the most useful tips was 11 Urban Myths About the FTC Guidelines for Endorsements & Testimonials for those you still concerned and need to read some more about it.
Emceed by Pam Mandel & Mike Barish of Gadling was a great session and one I expected to fall asleep on. Pam and Mike read eight travel stories from folks all over the planet. Someone called it “bedtime stories for travel bloggers”, which is a perfect description. The audience seemed completely captivated by the reading. Great examples of excellent travel writing. The stories are here for your own reading pleasure.
Someone used the phrase “rotting ass” in one of the stories. I don’t remember which author it was, it was just so memorable I had to write it down.
TBEX ’11 Dates & Location Announcement
TBEX11 will be in Vancouver, British Columbia, June 11-12, 2011. What a coup for Vancouver, as the city will be repeated all across the Internet by travel bloggers for months leading up to the event. I don’t even think you can calculate the value of all that free publicity.
SEO for Travel Blogging & Monetizing Strategies
Sean Keener, BootsnAll Travel Network (moderator)
John E. DiScala, Johnny Jet
Pete Meyers, EuroCheapo
Christina Tunnah, World Nomads
Sheila Scarborough, freelance travel writer & consultant
Jen Miner, The Vacation Gals
Matt Kepnes, Nomadic Matt
Andy Hayes, Sharing Travel Experiences
Key points -
The ideal length for press releases is 300-500 words.
Youtube, if you consider it separately from its larger parent Google, is one of the world’s biggest search engines by itself. Everyone is looking for video as well as the usual text when searching. Make sure you fill in the title, tags and descriptions for videos.
If you are using video, your Youtube channel popularity, video response to your videos and comments and social bookmarks are all used by Google to determine search ranking.
Nomadic Matt mentioned that you should have domain diversity, meaning many different people connecting back to your blog and contextual links in your posts.
Andrew Hayes mentioned that your ALT tags on pictures are important to include.
Don’t be emotional about your blogging business, but be emotional IN your writing. Those are two totally different things.
Sheila Scarborough mentioned that your blog or website should really be a store front for your consulting or speaking business.
JohnnyJet makes money from his site using ads and Google search engine results.
Podcasting Demo – live recording of “This Week in Travel”
Chris Christensen, Amateur Traveler & This Week in Travel (moderator)
Gary Arndt, Everything-Everywhere & This Week in Travel
Craig Martin, Indie Travel Podcast
Show Guest: Wendy Perrin, Conde Nast Traveler & Perrin Post
Because of the late start This Week in Travel was not recorded, bit Craig and Chris went over podcasting in general.
The Travel Cast Network is a place where travel blogger can group together in one location on the Internet. Both Chris’ Amateur Traveler and Craig’s Indie Travel Podcast are listed here, as well as many others.
Unfortunately Wendy Perrin didn’t get to talk much here, but check her blog here
End of conference! For one last treat, Diamond PR hosted the famous New York City Taco Truck and gave free tacos and drinks to all TBEX attendees. Amazingly this is where alot of the interaction between the attendees occurred. Nothing like warm weather, standing in line and a spicy taco to keep people talking.