It was very well received, judging by numbers in the room. We had 30 speakers. And more than 200 visitors in most sessions (judging by business cards, roughly one-third splits between students, bloggers/writers and Eastern Europe delegates). So there was a lot said. A day later, here are seven thoughts that have stayed with me from the sessions:
1. SEO Smart Links – Darren Cronian on practical WordPress tips
“This plugin is the biggest time saver for me. Internal linking is just as important as getting links from other websites – so, let’s pretend you have just published a comprehensive post, full of information on New York, and over the years you have briefly mentioned New York in tons of posts – this plugin will automatically link to your new New York post wherever it sees those words within any published blog posts.”
Read Darren’s (@travelrants) full notes from the conference.
2. Noel Josephides
I’ve known the man for 20 years and he has never been anything less than helpful, insightful, creative and generally splendid. He is MD at Sunvil Holidays which employs, among others, blogger Andy Jarosz of @501places. Noel was searingly honest, as ever, and highlighted the difference between social media aspirations and the realities of running an established business. He spends £530,000 a year on brochures, marketing, advertising and PR, he said. But although he doesn’t tweet, blog or FB, he employs people like Andy to blog because he understands there is a new world. “I’m 64, I am not interested, that doesn’t mean we don’t do it.” On Twitter, @rtwflights posted this comment: “Keep thinking about Noel Josephides talk on Wednesday. So honest about travel and the marketing machine. The man is a legend.”
3. Top birds
The four women who took part in the session: The new travel content providers. We put together experienced travel editors Sally Shalam (@sallyshalam) and Kate Simon (@traveltapper), then asked emerging blogger and writer Abigail King (@insidetravellab) to give her take, rounding up with travel PR legend Debbie Hindle (@bgbcomms). All were so on the mark, so honest and so respectful of each other. I can so see these women working together in future as a mega writing co-operative. Some highlights: Sally Shaman – “Newcomers should not try and enter travel writing unless they have a backup career.” Kate – “Adapt, flex, notice where you can shift and change. It’s all about adaptability.” Debbie, on no distinction between bloggers or writers: “A link on twitter can take me to a beautiful piece of travel writing any time of day or night.” And Abigail: “To my surprise, I now earn more from online than print.” And she has hit her business plan already for 2011. Said @WineTravel on Twitter: “Abi King of @insidetravellab explains social media clearly and clinically well (doctor background!). Good job!”
4. Angry birds
The small but vociferous number of afeared/angry freelance travel writers out there. I didn’t respond on Twitter, although some speakers rose to the provocation. Don’t. There is no rational argument. They understandably lash out at the decline in status and earning prospects and snipe at young bloods for lack of experience and grammar while largely declining to adapt. But goodness me, the bile. Expect more backlash in the next three years as print sharply retrenches – the pace is accelerating.
5. One liners
Annie Bennett: “Travel writers are vain. Bloggers: God, they work hard.”
Arantxa Ros: “Klout is only for ego.”
Allison Wightman: “Linked-in is a 24-hour cocktail party” + “Virgin has so far has invested £0 and 3 heads in Social Media – plan for lots more.”
Darren Cronian: “Social media is killing blogs.”
Rich Whitaker: “Keep your blog lens clean – stay clear of widgets” + “There are 60m blogs and 17,000+ new ones born in the last 24 hours.”
Catherine van Dijk KLM: “We have 30 people working 24/7 in social media.”
Kate Simon: “I started out in journalism as editorial assistant at the Brownie magazine.”
William Bakker: ”Give people something to talk about” + ” We’re talking bloggers v journos and measuring ROI in social. Is it 2008 again?”
6.The perfect travel tweet
A fun, fact filled session, with great data from @markfrary and @skipedia:
* The Top 5 symbols on Twitter? £ :) ^ # *
* The best place to put your link to get it retweeted is 25% way through the 140 characters.
* BUT tweets should be no more than 120 characters if you want to get RT’d.
* And Friday, 5pm on Eastern Standard Time is the most popular time to tweet.
Ps: the #stm2011 hashtag from the sessions was used on excess of 1,500 tweets, RTs and replies. It reached 482,000 accounts and generated 3.4m impressions. Thanks to all.
7. The professional touch
It is discernible that those who have had a previous career, both inside and outside journalism, are moving the Social Media debate on rapidly, in terms of professionalism and clear strategy. Gary Arndt (sold an IT business in 1997) receives some criticism for his trenchant views but he speaks as he finds – and posted a great state-of-the-nation blog the day after #stm2011 – Figuring out your social media strategy . Also a hat tip to William Bakker (ex-digital director of British Columbia) for his far-reaching, brain-stretching ideas on how to harness community SM, and Abigail King (formerly a doctor) for her concise, clear approach to SM. I expect to see many examples of collaboration between wise heads and youthful exuberance in 2012.
Mark Frary and Steve Keenan are the founders of travelperspective.co.uk
Image: Steve Keenan
- 14 November, 2011 @ 17:04 [Current Revision] by Steven Keenan
- 13 November, 2011 @ 13:07 by Rich Whitaker
There are no differences between the 13 November, 2011 @ 13:07 revision and the current revision. (Maybe only post meta information was changed.)