8 Lessons Learnt From Traverse 17 Blogging Conference

April saw the return of Traverse – an annual blogging conference bringing together influencers, industry insiders and key speakers from all over the world Traverse 17 proved to be extremely valuable and here is a selection of things I took away from the event.

The last week in April saw the return of Traverse – an annual blogging conference bringing together influencers, industry insiders and key speakers from all over the world. The 2017 edition came to London with numerous fun events and experiences taking place around the capital before culminating in the main conference at the stunning Ravensbourne conference centre just metres away from the O2 Arena.

It was a great success with over 500 attendees enjoying talks, seminars and workshops from experts, content creators and leading brands. Traverse 17 proved to be extremely valuable and here is a selection of things I took away from the event

1 Networking is key

One of the key reasons why events like Traverse continue to be popular is the opportunity they provide to meet people face to face. This is particularly important in a digital industry, where meeting peers and key players in person can be challenging. I relished the opportunity to rub shoulders with PR experts, SEO gurus, YouTubers and of course, fellow bloggers. It was fantastic putting names to faces as well as engaging with brands and sponsors to discuss potential collaboration opportunities. I even got to meet one of my favourite bloggers – Barefoot Backpacker! He’s a great guy and I highly recommend you check out his blog! Catching up with the amazing #PTTravel Twitter chat guys was also super fun!

Barefoot Backpacker and Travel Lexx, Traverse 17 blogging conference
Meeting one of my favourite bloggers – Barefoot Backpacker!
#PTTravel Twitter chat team at the Traverse 17 blogging conference
The #PTTravel Twitter chat crew meeting in person!

2 My SEO needs a LOT of work

I have plenty to do around my Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). A fantastic talk by marketing expert Judith Lewis (twitter: @JudithLewis) was eye-opening and highlighted the importance of strong SEO when trying to rank online. The session featured practical advice, tool suggestions and plenty of chocolate that was thrown in the direction of those brave enough to ask a question. Some of the key things everyone took away included keeping image sizes as small as possible to reduce page load times and optimising keywords. I use the Yoast WordPress plugin and I’ve learned that that, while useful, it’s not the ultimate solution to SEO -so I will be focusing a lot on my site in the coming months.

3 Don’t undervalue yourself as a blogger

Those influencers trying to monetise their work will know all too well of the dilemmas faced in this industry. Working with incompatible brands, lack of negotiation and not knowing own value can be damaging – it could lead to low fees, poor contract terms and even loss of authenticity. So, the key is to take each brand and consider how they fit your blog, what each party will gain from working together and, most importantly, stay true to yourself. We have a lot to give to brands as well as our audience. Nicola Easterby from Polka Dot Passport hit the nail on the head in her Instagram talk – be authentic, create quality content and realise that worth isn’t measured in likes and followers. Sometimes, I pay too much attention at my hits, number of comments and likes. Then I stop and remember that I blog because I love travelling and sharing my experiences – all bloggers would do well not to lose sight of that!

Polka Dot Passport talk, Traverse 17 blogging conference
Polka Dot Passport’s Nicola Easterby’s talk was very popular

4 There are loads of opportunities out there

Monetising and creating partnership opportunities isn’t straightforward. Many will inevitably ask: “But where do I even begin!?” Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities out there as more and more brands find themselves willing to work with bloggers and influencers, realising the value and potential of these collaborations. The key is to be confident in yourself and your brand, identify what you want to get out of a collaboration and pitch to companies that fit with your content and audience. Needless to say, a luxury travel blogger will probably be called out for promoting portable camping stoves! The most important thing is to give it a try – you have nothing to lose! I’ve told myself that I need to be more proactive in reaching brands and publications as well promoting my blog. I am really looking forward to doing some pitches in the coming months!

Lonely Planet offices, Traverse 17
I was lucky enough to visit Lonely Planet’s offices in London

5 Live video is where it’s at and you can be a pioneer if you start NOW!

Ever since I started blogging, I found myself occasionally stopping and thinking: “But so much of this has already been done!” The industry has come a long way and the barrier to entry is low – anyone could be a travel blogger or make videos! The key is to stand out – having a niche is more important than ever! After attending Tawanna Browne Smith’s great talk, I will let you in on a little secret – live video is the next big thing and very few people are doing it! Not only is it very immediate and allows for unique engagement with your audience, but being an early adopter can put you in good stead when it really takes off! I am looking forward to doing some videos on my upcoming trips! Time to practice being on camera!

6 London is a fantastic city

In case any of us needed another reminder, London is a pretty badass city. The Traverse team and the amazing sponsors went out of their way to make the conference and the events as good as they possibly could be. From the opening night drinks in the Millbank Tower and the evening boat cruise along the Thames to bike and street art tours of the city and the stunning Ravensbourne conference venue right next to the O2, we got to experience some of the incredible events and locations that the capital has to offer! Thanks, Traverse!

Boat cruise, Traverse 17 blogging conference
Sun sets behind the O2 Arena in London – seen from the Thames boat cruise!

7 Traverse 18 will be in the Netherlands! Bring on Rotterdam!

In a surprise announcement during the conference, we found out that Traverse 18 will take place in Rotterdam! While details are still being worked out, this was met by excited cheers and applause – heading to the Netherlands will be super exciting and I am looking forward to visiting the city for the first time! If you want to be one of the first to know more about Traverse 18, register your interest here!

8 The blogging community is amazing

When I started blogging, I literally didn’t know anyone else who was. I wanted to do it because I enjoyed writing and travel. Attending my first Traverse in 2016 was a little intimidating – everyone seemed to know everyone else! Fast forward 12 months and throughout the week I realised that the blogging community is pretty amazing – supportive, friendly and helpful. It’s inspiring to be a part of it and I am lucky to have met some great people thanks to Traverse! You all know who you are!

And that’s that! I had a brilliant time at Traverse 17 and would recommend it to absolutely EVERYONE, regardless of whether you are a total newbie or already a famous influencer. Roll on 2018!

Traverse 17 blogging conference
The closing panel of Traverse 17

31 thoughts on “8 Lessons Learnt From Traverse 17 Blogging Conference

  1. Anna says:

    Nice one, lexx! Completely agree that Traverse has been the best thing I’ve event done for my blog. I had no idea just how big or supportive the blogging community was, and have taken away so many highlights from the week. I think I’m going to need your help on point 5!

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Anna, yeah it was a great event. It’s really energised and inspired me and meeting people like you was awesome as well! No worries, we can do live video from our meetups!

  2. Angie (FeetDoTravel) says:

    Great tips here, but mainly the advice you have given is for us travel bloggers to remember to take it back to the beginning … and remember why we do what we do which is – to travel and write about it! It’s so easy to become lost in likes/comments/numbers and focus too much on that and it’s reassuring to know that if we continue to work from the heart, fingers crossed the right opportunity will present itself (I also need to work on my SEO though!) Thank you for the reassurance and the advice, roll on Rotterdam and 2018! #feetdotravel

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Thanks Angie – while some things that I picked up made me think “wow I have so much to do”, I have also realised that plenty of people are in the same boat. It was also great just being around other passionate influencers. There was so much energy at the conference! Totally agree on just taking it back to basics!

  3. Paul and Carole says:

    Paul and I have talked about going to a blogging conference, but have thought it’s too scary! This is an excellent post showing that is totally not, and would be appropriate for us even though we are still relatively new to blogging. Interesting reading about SEO, we thought Yoast had it covered so need to look into that. Thanks for sharing this really useful post, we will look into the possibility of Rotterdam! #feetdotravel

    • Travel Lexx says:

      It’s superb even if you just started blogging yesterday! So many useful talks and seminars and a great way to meet fellow bloggers. Definitely look into going next year!

  4. Russell says:

    Excellent post, Lexx!

    It was great meeting you face to face and totally agree about the quality of the conference and the speakers. I am still wrapping my head around all the points raised by Judith Lewis in her talk, which as just excellent!

    This year’s Traverse was my first one and I am definitely keen to attend next year’s in Rotterdam

    See you there!

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Russell, pleasure was all mine! Great conference and I am really looking forward to next year myself!

  5. Tracy says:

    I knew a few bloggers who attended and would love to have gone! Nevertheless thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts! Great stuff!

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Tracy, it was great and you should definitely attend in the future. It’s fantastic for networking!

  6. Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) says:

    Traverse 17 Blogging Conference looked informative and fun! Great tips you shared and I see that video is the key. Did they say at the conference where the best place to post their live video feeds? Instagram or Twitter? Wish I didn’t live across the pond otherwise I would go to next years conference. Thanks for sharing the information 🙂

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Steph, it depends on where your followers are. It makes sense to do it on the platform where you already have good engagement. So this could be Instagram, Facebook or even Periscope (a dedicated live video streaming app). You should definitely give it a go and also try and attend a conference near you!

  7. Eppie says:

    I stupidly had a ticket then booked a trip to Amsterdam so couldn’t go! But sounds so worthwhile, I’ll definitely be heading to Rotterdam!

  8. Kreete says:

    Sounds like an amazing experience! I would have loved all the talks and workshops, I believe you got some very valuable information. Even better that you are sharing it with us! I totally agree with the live videos being the next big thing, but somehow can’t get myself to do it haha!! Also just getting into monetising my blog and collaborating with a few companies-not easy to get into! But if you don’t ask, you’ll never get there! Love the insight, thanks so much!

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Yeah, it’s all about being confident in yourself and your content! There is always so much to think about when trying to monetise but the message is definitely “it’s doable”. Come next year!

  9. Sina says:

    The one time I’m not in London 😀 I’ve never been to a blogging conference but it sounds like so much fun and informative! I totally agree with you, it’s important to stay true to yourself and always remember why you have started your blog. Thanks for sharing all your tips, very helpful!

    • Travel Lexx says:

      I definitely recommend attending one in the future! You learn so much and get to meet so many amazing people!

  10. Ava Meena says:

    All great lessons! Sounds like it was a great conference – especially getting to meet other influencers. I definitely needed the reminder to value myself and my work, and not get too caught up in the stats. Thanks!

  11. Carmen Baguio says:

    Love these tips. I’d love to go to a conference, but for now, learning through blogs like yours will have to do. Can’t wait for early retirement when I can devote more time and energy to our blog.

    • Travel Lexx says:

      Yeah it can be quite overwhelming because there is just so much to do! I would love to be able to spend more time on it!

  12. Only By Land says:

    Thanks for sharing so much information about Traverse 17 Lexx. I had never heard of this conference but I’ll check out Traverse 18 in Rotterdam next year, maybe I’ll see you there! SEO is so important, I wish I had been there to listen to @JudithLewis, you must have learnt so much. The attitude of staying true to yourself and don’t lose track of why you are blogging with Instagram likes etc.. is an excellent point.

  13. Sandy N Vyjay says:

    Attending blogging conferences like “Traverse 17 “ is very beneficial to all bloggers out there. This throws open an opportunity to get to learn loads of new stuff about the digital industry. It’s the best chance to be be able to meet and get to know few people that you would have only heard and read online. A great chance to bond and socialize with people in the digital industry.

  14. Travel4lifeblog says:

    What a wonderful post Lexx! We never heard about Traverse conference so thanks for sharing your experience with us! That’s why we love the blogging community, most of the time, everyone is so supportive and we have been learning so much from other bloggers! We do need to learn a bit more about SEO but we also enjoy to write on our blog with passion! Very interesting and informative post! Thank you! Keep up the great work and who knows we might meet up at Traverse 18! Patrick and Cécile from http://www.travel4lifeblog.com

    • Travel Lexx says:

      I would seriously recommend it, guys – sometimes all the work can be tiring but coming along to Traverse is always rejuvenating and inspiring!

  15. Caretogofree says:

    Looks like you learned a lot and had a great time! Thanks for including the link to sign up to get more information on the next one. Seems like the perfect place to network and educate ourselves more on running a blog. Thanks for sharing!

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