Back in 2012, I was at WTM and arranging a travel meetup, Travel Massive, for just before it. It was here that Paul Dow and myself came up with the idea for Traverse Events, a new style of bloggers conference which in turn spawned Traverse Mingle and Blogstock, the world’s first bloggers festival.
When we started we had a pretty simple plan, to run one conference that was accessible for bloggers that couldn’t take time off for some of the larger ones, and at the same time offer creative workshops and classes, instead of large talks that too often turn into sales pitches. What we didn’t expect was to be announcing in early 2015 that we’d be running sessions for bloggers at WTM, the very place that we Traverse started. We’re delighted to be doing this, WTM is an event that everyone in the travel industry knows and loves, and to be a part of it in an official capacity is an honour for us. Bring on November!
One of the things we are aiming to bring to WTM with the talks and workshops we run are a bloggers from a range of industries. Obviously, many of the world’s top travel bloggers descend on London at the start of November each year, but what you only see a few of at The ExCel are those from other blogging niches. Family bloggers, food bloggers, fashion bloggers and many others don’t attend, and why should they, the event is put on by and for the travel industry and doesn’t pretend to be for anyone else.
While we have learned countless things from Traverse, one thing we noticed when we started with Traverse 13 in Brighton two years ago was how so few of the workshops we did were really just for travel. Out of the 12 classes we put on, topics such as SEO, video, social media and freelance work are things that would be relevant for all bloggers. It was only really the sessions on travel photography and travel writing that were specific for travel, and even then not too much, good photography is good photography, and good writing makes for good reading, whatever it’s on. With Blogstock we took aim at all niches of blogging, with the talks coming from specialists in travel, family, food and fashion blogging, as well as those that had no connection at all, such as accountants talking about finance management. We saw that the people who attended the talks often came from different niches, we wanted this at the start but were not sure it would happen, and the feedback was great.
Something that is fascinating to look at with the different blogging communities is where the expertise lies, now this is a big generalisation on my part, so please don’t take offense. I have found that when it comes to design of blogs, the fashion bloggers seem to be a distance above the rest, their blogs look fantastically professional and well presented, they make you, as a brand, want to work with them. When it comes to writing, though, it seems that the travel bloggers often have the blogs that read better than others, this could be down to the fact that they’re storytelling from personal experience, rather than reviewing. Family bloggers seem to be the best when it comes to reviews and working with brands, as someone who has always struggled with this, I applaud them! Lastly, the food bloggers seem to be able to take photos that make me want to chew on my laptop screen.
Now I am not saying there are no good writers in fashion, or that no mum bloggers can take a good picture, there are also some terribly designed fashion blogs and some awful writing in travel. What I am saying is the blogging industry as a whole has so much talent to share, and often doesn’t have the chance to do this. With our sessions at WTM we will be looking to make sure that the people best placed to share skills are the ones doing so, and that its not just the travel industry listening.