Kingston did a great job of hosting the Traverse blogger conference last year. For 2016, we all flocked to Cardiff, which I was super excited about for a couple of reasons:
1. I get to discover a new place
I have never been to South Wales before, but I’d heard lots of good things about it (did you know there is a castle smack bang in the middle of the city?!).
2. Learn, learn, learn
Last time, I was pretty new to blogging and not quite sure what I was wanting to accomplish from visiting the conference. This year I was in a position to know exactly what elements of my blog needed improvement, what I needed help with and I was much better prepared in general to make the most of my weekend.
A few years ago, I used to take a train to where I worked in Wilmslow, and every day I would get on and wish I could stay on all the way to Cardiff.
I no longer have that feeling. Whilst the Transpennine express service is great, there are far too many stops between Manchester and Cardiff central! I love train travel, I really do, but the Friday night service after work was busy, it was noisy and I had to continuously keep waking myself up to check I hadn’t missed my stop. I ended up dabbling in some poetry writing for a Cathay competition, which I unfortunately didn’t win, but at least it helped pass the time.
I was lucky enough to get a discounted ticket through work this time round, but when you’ve booked your Traverse ticket, keep an eye on their website as they’re usually able to negotiate train rates for attendees.
Where I stayed:
If you are taking the train to Cardiff and fancy a no fuss place to stay, then I would definitely recommend the Sleeperz hotel. It’s literally round the corner from Cardiff Central station (literally!). Its clean, a decent size and the staff were great from start to finish.
It was a really well equipped room too, didn’t have to ask for anything it was all there. Hairdryer, ironing board, tea tray, a great desk and like every hotel should have these days, free wifi.
What I learned:
Wow, I learned so much!?!? So I’ll just share some of my highlights:
- Tika gave a great talk on the value of being a blogger, how we are different and what bloggers need to be aware of when trying to work with brands – stats, stats, stats! use them to your advantage.
- The YouTube panel Q&A session was a great intro to the world of video, I learnt the vlogging community is just as strong, if not stronger, then the blogging one, so reaching out is important.
- Judith’s talk on sexy SEO was a chocolate throwing fact-based session. Probably the most useful one of the day, Judith flew through a whole load of statistics that we should and shouldn’t use as bloggers, a lot of which I had never heard of. I booked a quick one to one with her after to go through a few specifics on the blog.
- The final talk I went to was about creating food content with Niamh. Her talk was hilarious, her advice was simple (but genius) and I now find myself stalking her blog on a regular basis. Her tips on food photography were brilliant, and have really helped me evaluate setting the food scene.
Who I met:
Some great brands and amazing bloggers! Check them out:
- Newbie blogger/journalist Mengran – www.melissaliaoblog.wordpress.com
- Social media expert Ellen – www.ellenschwartze.com
- Vlogger extraordinaire Omar – www.inacitynearyou.net
- food blogger Louise – www.millymollydoes.co.uk
- Sustainable living enthusiast Laura Celine – www.birdgehls.com
- Active sportswoman Daria (blogs in Russian) – www.owlabouttravel.com
- new writing idol Kathryn – www.kathrynliston.com
- world explorer Ian – www.barefoot-backpacker.com
- Unpacking travel tales from all over, Geoff – www.thetraveltrunk.net
Some tips if you’re thinking of going next year:
1. Book early! – It’s cheaper, you’ll have peace of mind and it’s something to look forward too.
2. Same goes for the Sunday experiences, book them early too – the good ones fill up quick.
Here’s a few sneaky pics from my day with See Wales:
3. Follow @Traverseevents so you can be first to know about tips 1. and 2. above.
4. Try and make it for the Friday social, I haven’t managed to get down both years due to work commitments, but they always look mega fun.
5. Do not forget to take a notebook and pen – you’re going to need it!
6. Meet as many people as you can – I’m still working on this one, I’m not the best at networking but the more I put myself into these situation the more I improve.
7. Talk to the brands, they’re all there because they either work with or are wanting to work with bloggers.
8. Have fun! cheesy I know, but sometimes you can get carried away with all the work stuff it’s easy to forget.
That’s it for now, well until I finish writing about my Sunday experience (which was fabulous!)
Already looking forward to #Traverse17 🙂
Were you in Cardiff this year? what did you think?