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2013: the year to hug a blogger

2013: the year to hug a blogger

Steve Keenan

January 11, 2013

Bloggers mingle at the Tbex conference in Girona, Spain last autumn

by Steve Keenan

Two weeks into 2013 and it is already noticeable that this will be the year to hug a blogger and make them better people.

Not in any psychological way, of course, but in a warm, embracing way – helping them to fulfil potential, let’s say.

To this altruistic end, there has been an avalanche of new courses and conferences announced, all designed to give bloggers one-to-one advice and help from the experts.

No more standing on a stage and hectoring (ahem, lecturing) but being down on the floor. Talking. Encouraging. And, occasionally, asking for a small fee (to cover costs, you understand).

Travel Bloggers Unite started it in Manchester, in 2009, with workshops, How-to sessions and networking following. The conference has since visited Innsbruck, Umbria and Porto and plans a fifth conference in May. The site has nearly 2,000 members.

But inevitably in such a growth area as blogging, there have been rivals. American network Blogworld bought Tbex, staged a conference in Spain last autumn and will hold another in Dublin this October.

Behemoths ITB and World Travel Market have also embraced bloggers – the latter hosting our own conference, Social Travel Market, for the past two years.

These biggies have tended to be of the stand-up-and-talk variety, bringing big names to conferences to cover the whole gamut of social media. It works well for the travel industry, which is coming to terms with social media – indeed, we at Travel Perspective have launched a new series of seminars for 2013 covering different aspects including video, search and UGC.

But I have heard, and recognise, that bloggers feel they need more specific love and affection. And people are lining up to provide that.

There is a raft of initatives for 2013, specifically the announcement of a new conference, Traverse, in Brighton on April 19-21 (blogger tickets: £32). Its founders, Paul Dow and Michael Ball, are well known on the UK blogger circuit with Michael being a co-founder of regular social meet-ups at Travel Massive.

As they say: “Traverse aims to get travel bloggers learning by doing with interactive workshops and one-on-one help replacing many of the traditional talks and sales pitches.”

Now, disclaimer here as I will be speaking, but the conference feels right to me – it’s time to step away from general talks for bloggers and into specific help on specific subjects. In my case, writing critique.

Traverse is not alone, with another new hands-on conference for bloggers announced. Travel Bloggers Rally will be staged in The Algarve, Portugal from March 15-17 with well-respected UK bloggers Zoe Dawes and Andy Jarosz being two of the three speakers.

While they will do stand-up talks, the organisers say: “We’re committed to creating learning events designed to help travel bloggers and travel writers improve at their craft by interacting with a small group of other professionals, including a few well chosen, seasoned veteran speakers who represent the best there is in our chosen profession.”

See the recurring theme? And again, it is keenly priced, at £65.

The drive towards personalised help is spreading among individual bloggers. Widely respected rambler and blogger Paul Steele recently announced on Twitter his plans for travel blogging workshops, with the first in London in early March. No prices yet.

And emerging video company Travizeo is teaming up with bloggers Four Jandals to train up potential vloggers for free over a period of time in a ‘blogger to vlogger’ project. Why? Because video + travel are perfect partners, and through colloboration with their students, there is clearly potential to launch bigger joint projects in future.

It’s a fascinating period of individual growth, with an aim to mutually backscratch in future. And those that are involved will be well positioned to pass on their learning and create an income stream.

There is already growth in the experienced sector of blogging – with groups forming to tackle big travel projects such as iAmbassadors (Cape Town, Jordan, Edinburgh) and Navigate Media (Finland).

But there is clearly a demand for helping green bloggers get going and improve. Should all these plans come off, then there will be an army of ‘newly-qualified’ travel bloggers out there in 2014. It’s already a crowded market and it’s going to get a whole lot bigger.

1 Comment

  1. Karen Bryan
    January 11, 2013  

    I’d rather be reading a headline “2013 the year to pay a blogger”. It seems to me that it’s just like the Gold Rush; more money to be made selling shovels than digging for gold.

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