The first question I asked Oliver (@tbloggersunite), the organiser of TBU11, was as a newbie to travel blogging would I get anything out of attending the event.
Oliver's response convinced me and last weekend I met up with other bloggers, PR companies and tourist board representatives for Travel Bloggers Unite in Manchester in the UK.
I'll admit that I was out of my comfort zone in what was essentially a room full of strangers at the People's History Museum. As soon as you swap Twitter names though, you realise you already know that person, albeit in a virtual world.
What suprised me the most was that people knew who I was, none more so than when Melvin (@traveldudes) recognised me!
Over the next two days the sessions both intrigued me and reaffirmed that I am doing some things right.
As a web developer the two sessions that stand out were John O'Nolan's (@JohnONolan) WordPress talk and Michael Briggs' (@michaelkebriggs) SEO presentation. I'm still learning the tricks of the trade but what I'll take from TBU will be invaluable.
Squeezed in between those session was how to market yourself (@lewisshields). A topic I'm not comfortable with as I'm my biggest critic and don't know how to 'big myself up.' It was interesting but one where I'll have to go back and revisit the presentation to get the most out of it.
Lola's (@lolaakinmade) writing tools was similar. I felt as though I needed to go home and rewrite all my posts. Maybe that's a good thing, as at least I identified where my writing can improve.
The two panel discussion, for me, seemed aimed at bloggers further down the road than me. Monetising and working with PR companies aren't something I've though about before but good to know as I progress. The PR discussion was more debated as there a many opposing opinions and I'm sure the conversation will continue.
The weekend was rounded off with drinks and a meal in Manchester. It was here that the confidence I had gained over where I am as a blogger and where I want to be was probably more evident as I talked to more of the people there.
So to answer my own question that I posed to Oliver. Would I get anything from attending, the answer is a loud and resounding YES!
The sessions flew by and I came away knowing what I can do to improve my blog .
Most of all I was made to feel part of the travel community and came out of the few days in Manchester feeling as though I belong. Can't wait for Innsbruck!