#Traverse16: What I Learnt From My First Blogging Event
This year’s Traverse blogging conference, #Traverse16, was held in Cardiff City Stadium. It was my first travel blogging conference, so naturally, I was nervous but very excited. The weekend was amazing: I learnt a ridiculous amount, met so many “online friends”, and had the chance to network with tons of travel companies. From not starting a fire at the opening party (yes, this happened) to ordering free drinks via Twitter (the blogger’s way), here are 7 things I learnt from #Traverse16.
1. Travel filmmaking is epic
Probably my biggest takeaway from the event was Greg Brand’s workshop on travel filmmaking. It was insanely informative and inspirational, and let’s just say I want to make films now. Greg Brand works for Travizeo, a travel video company specialised in creating video campaigns for the travel, leisure and tourism sector. I have a lot of tips to put into practice and here are just a few of them:
- Coverage is key! Angles are important! Focus on dynamics and movement!
- Do not break the fourth wall – keep the viewer engaged in the storytelling!
- Royalty free stock music sites he recommends are: Audio Network, AudioJungle, Free Music Archive and YouTube Audio Library. For free sound effects, head to Freesound.
- You do not need expensive equipment to produce good content. For example, check out Brandon Li’s films, shot on a compact camera!
- Despite this, he did recommend Glidecam (a camera stabiliser) and Gimbal stabiliser for iPhone. Good on the go travel mics are Rode VideoMic Pro and Zoom H1 Handy Recorder.
The YouTube Q&A panel with Hannah Witton and Laurbubble, although not as mind-blowing, was also useful. Advice regarding filming equipment, video narrative, YouTube’s algorithm and the importance of transparency were really helpful.
2. Everything is free!
The ticket price of £75 may seem hefty at first, especially because they don’t fully advertise what you’re paying for, but believe me, you get a lot! DEPOT Cardiff hosted the opening party on the Friday night. They are only five months old and the first of their kind to offer the people of Cardiff a permanent, indoor street food venue, set within a warehouse. At the opening party we each received tokens for a free starter, main, dessert, and drink, at their food trucks and bar! I had beef chilli nachos, a scrumptious handmade burger, and a huge waffle with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, all in one night without spending a dime. I skipped the drink as I was the designated driver! But it was safe to say I was stuffed.
These freebies continued into the main event, with a Welsh themed buffet lunch and free hot drinks. Travel companies were also eager to hand out freebies; I received a free monkey stuffed toy from Cathay Pacific, a free towel and beach ball from Expedia, a goodie bag from Visit Wales, and much more.
3. Sometimes you won’t recognise people or they won’t recognise you
Yeah, you can follow someone on social media and think you know them, but you probably also follow another 1000 people and think you know them too. At the end of the day, you probably won’t recognise that many people. Full names, blog names and faces all get jumbled up in your brain, and this can lead to many awkward moments. Luckily everyone’s in the same boat and it’s easy to laugh it off. Although we were all wearing lanyards with our name and Twitter handle, you cannot subtly stare at someone’s belly to avoid awkward encounters!
4. Candles and waffle boxes aren’t a good mix
Remember the free waffle I mentioned earlier? Well, it was too good to be true… Before long, and without me noticing, the cardboard box it came in was set alight by a nearby candle. Flames began to rise, one thing led to another, and before you know it, I was drenched in water. Wait, wind back a second… Basically, an employee threw a glass of water over the flame, but their aim wasn’t the best, as it ended up all over little old me. Laughter erupted around me, and I think it was time to call it a night.
5. You’ll learn a lot
Aside from the travel filmmaking and Youtube workshops, I also attended the classes “Turn your blog into a book” by Sharon McKee and “Make the leap into full time blogging” by Monica Stott. Sharon’s talk focused on market research, practical writing advice, self-publishing, digital versus print, and most importantly your USP (unique selling point). Monica’s talk covered what you should consider before going full-time, ways to ensure you have a diverse income, and how to boost your readership and following in order to take the leap.
6. You can order free drinks by tweeting
Although I was driving, so couldn’t enjoy the novelty of the situation, there was a tweet bar at the end of Saturday’s main conference. During the closing panel, you could order free drinks to your seat by tweeting your drink preference by hashtag (#traversebeer, #traversewhitewine or #traverseredwine), your seat row and a description of what you look like. Traverse employees than rushed around with bottles of beer and glasses of wine in hand, to satisfy the thirsty bloggers after a day full of learning.
7. You’ll make great friends
Most importantly, you don’t only attend conferences to make business connections, but to make friends. The environment was not competitive at all: everyone wanted to offer advice and have a chat about topics outside of blogging as well. I spent most of the weekend with Jessica Buck from Journeys with Jessica (pictured), and also met bloggers like Sophie Davis from Sophie’s Suitcase, Emma Hart from Paper Planes & Caramel Waffles, and Sabina Trojanova from Girl vs Globe.
So, have you ever been to a blogging conference? If so, which is your favourite? I can’t wait to also attend #BlogAtTheBeach and the #UKBA16 later on this month!
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