Lucie Loves… Blogging // A few tips on how to be a travel writer. Learning from the best @MillenniumEU travel blogger conference
I recently attending a really great blogger event at the rather lovely Millennium Gloucester Hotel, Kensington. It was a conference that completely exceeded all my expectations. It was filled with really interesting people and was a chance to hone my hobbyist travel-writer skills by learning from some of the industry’s best travel writers and meet a few great new bloggers too. (Yes, Mary-Ellen Paul - I mean you.)
I often dabble in a bit travel writing. My blog is, and always has been, a photo diary. I often rely heavily on my imagery to tell the story. However, the power of words and personal experiences combined with photography can really help you paint a better picture - if you know how to do it right.
Some of the things I learnt/tweeted about at the #MCBloggerConf
- New #TheTripTailor app from @MillenniumEU. It sounds great. (@TripAdvisorUK is my current #travel bible.)
- “If your tweet isn’t getting enough traction, wait 8 hours, [then] try a different 140 characters to engage people.” @aladyinlondon“
- "What #bloggers should focus on is the right-time/correct-time publishing rather than real-time.” @samhaseltine
- “You’ve got far more chance that people will take you seriously if you’ve worked out apostrophes.” @SimonCalder
- “If you’re doing a travel blog why can’t it be a flavour of you?” Be brave - mix your interests. Be versatile.“ @sallyshalam
- "It’s not that print is going out of fashion - it’s that they’re not innovating fast enough.” #contentvswriting @samhaseltine
The conference really highlighted the ever-blurring line between blogging and journalism. I was a little apprehensive at how the panel of experts would feel about bloggers encroaching on their terrtory. But I needn’t have worried, they were very nice and also very honest.
There was a debate over whether the experts on the panel considered themselves to be creating ‘content’ or 'copy’, when producing their travel reviews. The digital peeps preferred content and the print journo’s steadfastly defended their precious copy.
The importance of knowing when to post your review and how to actually write the thing got brought up too. Grammar, spelling and punctuation all pay dividends if you treat them with respect.
What did the panel think?
The panel were really good. We heard how important it is to have a unique approach to travel writing and blogging. Choosing a subject that interests you and reflects your style will make it interesting to create and interesting for people to read.
I discovered how it isn’t all about cashing in on free hotel rooms and first class flights to exotically named destinations. Simon Calder, the man who pays his way, resolutely refuses to accept free hotels. He prefers to book all of his budget flights and accommodation himself and mix with the locals to make the most of every location he visits. He believes, “the cheaper you travel, the closer you get to the soul of a place.”
Sally Shalam often reviews small independently owned places. She spoke about the importance of remembering that anything you write must be backed up by facts, especially if you are criticising something, somewhere or someone. Your negative review can really damage a small business, so be professional and fair.
Sam Haseltine, is a creative strategist. A guy that is both social media savvy and quite possibly a digital marketing mastermind. During the travel conference, Sam professed his love for family breaks at Centre Parcs and the seamless customer service he’d experienced. Even the big brands have to make an effort. He spoke about the importance of SEO and introduced The Trip Tailor app.
Julie aka travel blogger A Lady in London, also shared some of her pearls of wisdom. She explained how she’d made the giant leap from banking to blogging and hasn’t looked back since. She’s also a dab hand at social media too and offers training sessions if you’re interested?
If you’d like to read some of my own travel writing ramblings you can do so here:
- Skiathos - food, beaches, jeep trips, sunshine and my holiday wardrobe
- Greek Island Hopping - Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Antiparos and Santorini
- Cocktail class at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel
Photography © Lucie Kerley