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On the Business of Blogging: Key Takeaways from TBU Umbria

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oliver driving brooke around

TBU's Oliver drives me around in a golf cart... I lived!

After TBU, I felt refreshed. The travel blogging industry is definitely coming around. Important issues were being brought up to people that will listen, and bloggers making leeway into this new field were there to reveal some of their best secrets.

Over the course of a few days in Umbria, we sat in on several informative sessions from successful bloggers, and heard inspiring travelers talk. Each breakout session could encompass an entire post, but I’ll keep it short – because that’s what I’m good at!

Key Takeaways from TBU Umbria:

Diversify Your Income Streams
When blogging as a business, don’t put all your eggs into one basket — the key topic for a talk by Beth Whitman. An example was given in Andy Hayes’ talks (about affiliate marketing) of a person that relied on Google search traffic to generate affiliate sales for just about all of their income. Last year when the Panda update ran and affected many websites’ traffic, this person’s income went down – drastically.

Some bloggers rely on advertisements to fulfill their income, and I do remember just a few months ago how many bloggers were complaining that few ads were coming there way. With this in mind, it is good to bust out and produce a few income streams to keep you afloat.

Look for Adjacent Readers
If you want to gain more readers of your blog, and ones that aren’t just other bloggers in your field, look outside. Comment on other blogs outside of your niche, and join communities that are relevant in a complementary manner.

A good way to intrigue people with other primary interests is through curation within your social networks (thanks Jodi for the keynote). On Twitter, be sure to share the stuff you love that might not just be travel. On Pinterest, create boards by doing the same. This not only attracts attention from outside the niche, but also lets your personality shine.

Look for Adjacent Products
In the travel blogging scene, we are all promoting affiliate networks of straight-up travel products, like World Nomads travel insurance, MatadorU writing courses, and Gadventures tours. The problem here is that many people aren’t really making money off those, and most readers will probably already know about them.

The key, so we’ve been told, is to find a product that the reader might not even know they need… something adjacent. So a traveler might also be interested in a credit card – one with benefits when on the road.

Treat It Like a Business
As Jeff Jung said it in his keynote speech, “You know shit.” (Sorry Jeff, I had to…) He was using it to explain that we are all experts at what we know, and we need to use that knowledge to make our blogs work for us.

I also sat in on a session where Katja Hentschel said that as soon as she finally called herself a professional photographer, she got more business. In other words, look and act the part — it’s important!

Seek Sponsorships
It’s not just about seeking sponsorships, it’s about building relationships and getting them to the point where eventually you’ll be paid by your sponsors for your time (the ultimate issue in blogging).

As Dave and Deb put it, this is not something that generally happens overnight, but for them now, it is a very large portion of their income. Ideally, you should be seeking companies that you believe in and would have no problem in promoting with or without the sponsorship.

And from the next…

Well, word has it that a big focus of the next conference in Porto in September is about making your blog stand out. Super important now that the travel blogging industry is so saturated!

Are you going?!

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8 Responses to On the Business of Blogging: Key Takeaways from TBU Umbria

  1. Matt June 14, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Thanks for the round-up, Brooke. Yet another blogging conference I’ve missed being based down in the Southern Hemisphere. When you get back to Aussie, we should coordinate a travel blogging conference in our little corner of the world.

    • Brooke June 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      I totally agree… there needs to be one down under somewhere. Oliver has TBU Australasia ideas, but it needs to happen sooner me thinks 🙂

  2. Vira June 20, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    thanks for summarizing it for us who weren’t there, those are great tips.
    I wonder if there’s gonna be a travel blogger conference in the SE Asia.. I’d really love to come

    • Brooke June 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      Hey Vira, There are talks of future Australasia conferences so it could happen!

  3. vira June 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    really? yay, I hope it will happen soon! 🙂

  4. Adam July 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Way to summarize TBU in a clear and organized way! Reminds me already of a few things I forgot to take note of. I won’t be at the next one but I’ll be sorry to miss it… I really found the event to be inspirational!

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