Kicking ass and taking names…
Play Your Cards Right at TBEX
Chris Williams of Real Man Travels and myself at the TBEX Expedia Party in Dublin, Ireland
Hold on, first things first, what an amazing TBEX! Failte Ireland and TBEX came together to create one (if not the) most memorable TBEX experiences ever! A huge thank you for all of the HARD work you put into making this event so special. Well done.
So let’s talk about the focus of TBEX. Picture a 4 year old with a magic wand. No really just wrap your mind around that disaster. That is a blogger. Here we are all clumsy, cute and naive, yet we have all of this power, real power to change the face of media and bring a whole new element to the tourism industry. After nearly a decade now, we are mastering social media, we are taking better photos and we are writing better stories. Bloggers, we are really starting to kick ass and take names, and we have TBEX to thank for a huge part of that transformation.
TBEX provides a venue for sharing ideas, building relationships, and learning from the experts in the travel, media, and marketing industries. These are the Do’s and Don’ts of Standing Out at TBEX, starting with the T-Shirt.
TBEX DO: Get yourself a logo shirt!!!
I can not stress this enough. I am officially buried under a pile of business cards, guess who I remember the most? The person with their logo on their shirt! Sadly, this was about 4 people outside of sponsors. This may not be for everyone, you may not care about meeting a ton of people because you’re already so awesome that you don’t need people to remember you… psssshhht. Everyone needs to be remembered, chances are you’re not a superstar public figure otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.
I have too many connections.” -said no one ever.
DON’T: Make any plans 5 days prior or 3 days post TBEX.
I made the mistake of booking press trips outside of Ireland after TBEX and missed out on some pretty sweet trips. I purchased my airline ticket in June (4 months out) having no idea that there would be press trips open pre TBEX. These trips give you a head start on building relationships with great people that can and will help catapult you into the professional blogger world. EVERY CONNECTION COUNTS!
Building a reputation for yourself is just as important as building traffic, if not (along with quality content), the foundation for building real organic traffic. As Gary Arndt said to me at TBEX,
Audience, audience, audience, trafiic will come once you engage your audience!”
Part of engaging your audience is by building face to face friends, fans of your blog, and interacting with them as you would your friends from back home. Take it from Gary. He’s kind of a big deal.
TBEX DO: Ask people about themselves
What are they writing about? Where are they headed (physically and their blog)? What are they enjoying the most from TBEX? Try and nail down an intersection where you and that person can come together and brainstorm for the future.
TBEX DON’T: Show up empty handed.
If all you’re packing is business cards then chances are you’re going to get buried under the pile (the very one that I am peeking out from a whole week after TBEX). Put together a press kit that showcases your badassery (new word alert). What’s your skill set? Include a few of your favorite photos, make it fun. You need to be unforgettable.
TBEX DO: Be prepared to network!
Make a list of people you want to speak with and know 3 questions you want to ask them. Maybe they are a speaker or another blogger, maybe they are CEO’s! Who cares! Get in there and make a great first impression. SMILE, MAKE EYE CONTACT, SPEAK LOUDLY and CLEARLY and USE INDUSTRY JARGON! Be sharp. Act like you know what the hell you’re talking about. You are part of the travel and tourism industry, I know that’s hard to commit to because we get to work from hammocks poolside and spend our lives in jeans, but we are! Hooray! Act like it.
TBEX DON’T: Spend your breaks on your laptop.
The time between breakout sessions are a great way to get noticed by sponsors (in your logo gear of course) and media outlets. If you’re noticeable you may get asked to be interviewed.
“What do we win Bob? Publicity!”
Any publicity is good publicity right? Get your name out there and create a buzz.
TBEX is a lot of fun and I truly feel that the sky is the limit when it comes to networking. You are in control of your image. Do yourself the diligence of being prepared and making a splash. Good luck future TBEX-ers!