Although this is a blog about travel, it seems like a lot of you out there have interest in the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes travel blogging details.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill ‘how to prepare for TBEX’ post, but instead a few down to earth tips that I think are most important for keeping in mind. I didn’t write this post from any specific point of view except from one of a great people watcher. There are a lot of interesting dynamics that go down during TBEX and hopefully this will help you prepare for them.
Don’t be nervous
I know it seems like you are jumping into the blogging deep end. It’s intimidating knowing that a bunch of bloggers you’ve been looking up to and reading about for months…maybe years…will all be in the same room as you.
But throw your nerves away. Remember: these are BLOGGERS. These are people just like you who one day decided to write their thoughts down on the internet. The same thing anyone with a decent education and access to technology can do.
Of course some of these bloggers have a big head. Some, to you, might feel like celebrities. Just keep remembering that at one point they were standing exactly where you are. At TBEX there will also be the cool crowd. Just don’t let it intimidate you. Most everyone is very friendly and willing to offer advice as long as they aren’t busy or in the middle of a conversation.
It’s really as simple as this: You see a blogger you’ve always wanted to meet and you go up to them at one of the parties. You tap on their shoulder and you say, “hey so-and-so, I’m blah-blah and I just wanted to say hi. I’ve been reading your blog forever.” No joke. That’s it.
Or you just get in front of a green screen and share a croissant to break the ice.
Maybe you continue talking for a bit or maybe you don’t and you go back to your friends (or to another group of people). I promise it will make your experience that much better and these tiny introductions really do make a difference. Also, it’s not that weird. TBEX is a place for networking. That’s the point: meeting as many people as you can.
Not only will this help you not regret your entire time at TBEX, it’ll make you feel much more comfortable every time you walk into that conference room. Hey, you’ll come away with more friends that way too.
If I did it, so can you!
Don’t be a kiss-ass weirdo
Pertaining to the above, just don’t be weird. Don’t be a crazy fan girl or boy. Calm down and act the same as you would at any business party or cocktail bar setting.
Hide your inner freak for the time being
Sometimes you’ll be introduced to a group of bloggers, maybe a group of big bloggers, and you’ll chat with them for a while and everything will feel fine. Other times, you might (maybe even accidentally) get the cold shoulder. Take social cues. Also, don’t hold grudges. Sometimes people go to TBEX just to hang out with blogger friends they never ever see otherwise. Not everyone wants to meet 50 new people every night.
At some point, just stop networking and have fun
I personally don’t like talking about blogging 24/7 for 5 days straight. It drives me absolutely bonkers. The people I enjoyed speaking to and hanging out the most with at TBEX Athens were the ones who could just hang out. We could talk about life, travel and then party. It didn’t have to constantly surround around ‘how to get more followers’ or ‘give me your elevator pitch.’
Good thing Imna brought the selfie stick to the pre-TBEX party, even though we couldn’t focus the camera.
Sure, maybe the more successful people are kiss-ass go-getters, but I know I’m not. I’d rather make a genuine connection with another blogger than just have a stuffy business relationship.
While this advice is purely biased, it’s worth thinking about before you go. Do you want to be seen as someone who just wants to take advantage of connections, or someone who another blogger would want to continue a genuine relationship with?
Remember: you never know who you are talking to
There can be a lot of, “Who is that? Omg have you seen ‘what’s-her-face’ yet?” at TBEX. One important thing to remember is that you should give every conversation you have the same amount of effort and attention as others.
You could be talking to someone who works at Lonely Planet and not know it. You could be talking to a huge photographer and have no idea. Treat everyone equally, regardless of what you see on their name tag.
Extra tip: Try not to look as hungover as me. Photo from Maryhop.
Also, find a group of bloggers who may be at the same blogger stage as you and really get to know them. It can be great to have a group of blogger friends who you can grow with and mutually help. Not only is it comforting, but it can be motivating when you see each other achieve success (then ask honestly how they did it).
Bring business cards
This one is on every “how to prepare for TBEX article” but seriously, do it. If you don’t have business cards yet, then express order some right now even if they have to be basic.
Mine look like this:
Although I don’t love them, I did get a lot of compliments on the fact my photo was on it. At TBEX you get hundreds of business cards, and it can get really hard to place names to faces.
Also…extra points for actually looking like your photo. There were a few bloggers who I barely recognized in person!
Along the lines of that, write notes on each business card. I was awful at remembering to do this but was kicking myself later. When I got home I had so many business cards from people I couldn’t remember. If I would have just taken a second to write a little note after meeting someone it would have been so helpful.
Then, when we later connected on Twitter I could have said something more than, “Nice meeting you at TBEX! Hope you enjoyed Athens as much as me!” Or some generic BS like that.
Don’t expect to leave with TONS of new knowledge on travel blogging
Successful bloggers don’t go to TBEX for the information, that’s for sure. Unless you just started a blog a month ago and have no idea what SEO means, you probably won’t be learning too much while there.
Let’s be real, TBEX is more about the parties, the people you meet and the potential business opportunities. Why do you think I’m going to TBEX Bangkok?
The parties are where the real fun and networking goes down. Realize that for the length of the conference you aren’t going to be getting much sleep and you’ll just need to power through. If you’ve got to skip an info session in favor of a nap, do what you’ve gotta do.
While you should attend the sessions and while you might takeaway some great things, just have your expectations in check. Your blogging life won’t be changed forever after the experience. You won’t be straight on the road to success with loads of innovative tactics at your fingertips.
Overall, you’ll leave your first TBEX with a heavier blogging toolbox (and the hangover to carry it with), but if you followed my tips above you’ll leave feeling good about the digital nomad community and what’s ahead.
Now it’s all up to you for how successful your blog becomes.
Have any other questions before the big event? Shoot at me below!
FYI: I will not be at TBEX Costa Brava this month. Have fun for me!