Sidewalker Daily was born on Instagram. When it comes to online living, we’re all about the digital world – after all, it’s how we make our bread and butter. But, we’ve seen this industry change A LOT since our early days in 2015, and we’re all about finding ways to stand out in this now crowded space. We’ll let you in on a little secret – real life human connections are still greater than the ones made on Instagram. That’s why we absolutely recommend in person networking and going to blogger conferences in order to meet like minded people and advance your professional career as an influencer.
But first, let’s get into the what, who, where, when and how on all things blogger conferences.
Travel conferences are in person events centered around a topic that bring people together from the industry. They can range from 1 day to 5 days and most of the time will have a few panels of speakers as well as a keynote speaker. The ability to attend a conference varies – some blogging conferences are by invitation only and for others you have to pitch yourself to get invited as media. In these cases, if you are accepted as accredited media, you most likely will not have to pay to get in. Then the rest are open to the public and you’ll just have to buy a ticket to attend.
Travel conferences revolve around different themes in the industry. For example, there are some that are geared towards bloggers and some that are industry events in the hospitality and tourism sectors. It doesn’t really matter what type they are because you’ll likely meet people who can help you with future partnerships as well as gain industry knowledge to advance your career at any of them. But since every conference has a different focus, you should have a goal in mind so you can make sure you attend the right type. For example, if you’re looking to network with other bloggers, you’re going to want to make sure you attend a more “blogger” style conference, versus one that is a bit more on the industry side.
For the purpose of this article, we are only focusing on conferences that are geared towards travel bloggers, writers, vloggers and influencers. While there are many blogger conferences around the world, our list will be geared towards all things travel related.
Let’s go over the details!
We recommend blogger conferences for practically anyone who is serious about taking their travel influence to the next level. There are different conferences that will fit your skill level. While some are invite only, others are open to the public, so you’ll be sure to find something no matter what level you are at. Whether you’re a vlogger, travel writer, instagrammer, or blogger, when you invest in educating yourself about the industry you’re working in, you will 100% gain something from it.
The great thing about blogging events is that you can really go at your own pace. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable with in person networking, you will benefit from listening to what the panel has to say about the travel industry and be able to apply it to your business. Most of the times, those selected to speak at travel conferences are industry experts and professionals who have prepared a presentation to be full of insightful tips and interesting information, so you can really take advantage of learning from their experience and know-how. If you’re not the social butterfly type, we still recommend you push yourself a little, as these events are really important for networking and meeting people to advance your career.
If you’re all about meeting new people and networking – then get those business cards and media kits ready because these type of events are perfect for you!
Some quick tips before attending a blogger conference.
1. Perfect your elevator pitch. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, you have 15 – 30 seconds to really capture their attention and make it count. Rehearse your elevator pitch in front of the mirror or in front of friends and family so you feel comfortable and definitely make sure you know how to sell yourself in very little time.
2. Research the panelists ahead of time and come with your questions prepared. If you have the opportunity to ask a question during a presentation, you will feel confident that your question is well thought out and may even give you brownie points with the speakers. If there’s networking opportunities afterwards, you can then go up to them and thank them for answering your question – then they will know it’s you who asked that smart question!
3. If you’re bringing a printed version of your media kit, make sure it’s short and sweet and printed on luxe paper (not just regular printer paper).
4. Don’t forget business cards with all of your social accounts, website url, and blog info. And don’t forget to ask people for their business card too so you can follow up with them after the event!
5. Get creative to stand out. For example, hand out your media kit on a branded USB drive or create a memorable (and inexpensive) branded product to hand out in lieu of business cards with all your info on it.
The best part about blog conferences is that they’re happening all year long. The bigger conferences will give you around a 6 month heads up to plan so make sure you put them on your calendar so you can organize your schedule around them to attend.
They’re happening all around the world – Berlin, London, New York, Miami, Austin, Quebec City, Sao Paolo, Singapore, China – you name it, there’s most likely a conference near you (or not too far) that you can attend. For the super organized traveler, you can even plan your travels based on a conference you want to attend or schedule a press trip around it…just saying. :)
Because every now and then, it’s important to press pause on all things social and connect in real life again. The most meaningful connections are always going to be made in person. These conferences are also a great opportunity to learn new skills, tactics and increase your knowledge in this space. There’s no “influencer and travel blogger school” so travel blogger conferences are the closest thing you’ve got.
Also, at conferences, everyone is there with the understanding that it’s for networking too. People’s guards are down and everyone who paid for that ticket or took the time out of their busy schedule to attend is there with some motive in mind: to grow their business, to meet bloggers and influencers, to pitch to brand partners etc. You already know that you have that in common and so these types of conferences are great because they give you access to all types of people in the industry in one specific location.
The same goes for the panelists and keynote speakers. When you attend a smaller conference, you may be able to go up to the speaker right after their presentation, introduce yourself and get their contact information. They also understand that this is part of what conferences are all about so shouldn’t feel caught off guard.
Lastly, in order to make it as a successful travel blogger, writer, or influencer – you need to partner with tourism boards, travel brands and destinations. Many tourism board representatives and their PR team attend these type of conferences and depending on the format of the event, may even pay to have their own booth. If you attend an industry style conference, these are the ones where you will meet the decision makers on the destination and brand side.
It’s important to ask who is responsible for their PR and media requests. Many destinations are still learning about travel influencers, so you will have to be very direct with what you are looking to gain. We’d recommend asking if they have any scheduled press trips for the year as a conversation opener. If they don’t know, they’ll likely give you the contact info of the person in charge so you can contact them directly.