Welcome to Athens: Experience a Changing City

03 Rethink Athens Panepistimiou Street

Welcome to TBEX Athens!

We’re very happy to have you joining us here in Athens, and hope that your stay is full of wonderful moments that become lasting memories.

Athens is changing, and during recent years there have been a number of new and exciting developments that are changing the city’s cultural map and urban landscape. Below are some recent cultural and urban developments in Greece’s capital city. We hope you have the opportunity to experience a few of them during your time here and that they will, perhaps, entice you back for a return visit.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is one of the biggest developments currently underway in Athens. This is a major project that involves the construction of the new facilities for the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera (GNO), as well as the creation of the Stavros Niarchos Park that will hold educational and cultural activities.

The project site is located approximately 5 km south of the center of Athens, on the edge of Faliron Bay.  Construction started in 2011 and will finish up over the next few years. The SNFCC is one of the largest construction projects in Greek history and the Center will have a great influence on the local economy and for employment creation.

For more information, please visit the SNFCC’s website.

Onassis Cultural Centre

The Onassis Cultural Centre was inaugurated in 2010, after a 10-year construction period, with funding by the Onassis Foundation.

The Centre was built on a privately-owned 3,000 square meter plot on Syngrou Avenue and its interior space consists of sevel floor and nine underground. The centre has two performing stages with the ability to host theatrical, opera, symphony orchestra and dance performances, as well as cinema, lectures and conferences. In addition, there is an exhibition hall, open-air theatre, restaurant with an open-air section and a bar. The Centre strives to promote modern cultural expression and is a powerhouse for arts, sciences, innovation, education and lifelong learning.

For more information, please visit the Onassis Cultural Centre’s website.

Rethink Athens

The Re-think Athens project (in photo above) is an ambitious project, funded by the Onassis Foundation, which will transform the center of Athens over the next few years.

Panepistimiou Street will become a pedestrian zone and link the archaeological sites with the most significant archaeological museums of the city, and Omonoia Square will be converted into an actual square. The backbone of the project will be a new tramline connecting Amalias Avenue with Panepistimiou Street and Patission Street. This project’s goal is to improve both the quality of everyday life for citizens by restoring the urban environment and to improve the microclimate by planting trees, constructing shelters, and prescribing the use of eco-friendly public means of transport, all of which will reduce emissions and will create a welcoming environment for both pedestrians and cyclists.

For more information, please visit Rethink Athens’ website.

National Museum of Contemporary Art

The new National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) is almost complete and will be located at the former Fix brewery in Athens.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art will be Athens’ only public museum of contemporary Greek and international art in the capital. The new building will be able to accommodate all the collections, have expanded exhibition spaces and be able to organize even more educational programs and other related cultural activities than before. It will become one of Athens’ major museums and is expect to attract a large number of visitors.

For more information, please visit the museum’s website.

 

The #1 Thing Every Travel Blogger Should Be Doing on Twitter

 

There are a number of things bloggers should be doing to showcase themselves and their blogs on Twitter. Here are three of the most important:

  1. Have a Clear Profile Picture: People want to see what you look like, especially if you’re providing travel advice or if a DMO or brand is potentially interested in working with you. It’s also much easier to relate to a photo than it is to an icon, or the dreaded egg symbol which displays when someone doesn’t upload a profile picture.
  2. Stunning Header and Background Photos: This is an excellent opportunity to highlight your photography skills and these are areas that someone sees every time they click on your profile.
  3. Bio That Reflects Your Writing Style: Whether it be humorous, factual or poetic, your bio makes it easy for people to see whether they want to connect with you and for DMOs and brands to quickly analyze whether you might be a potential fit.

But there’s also another thing that very few people are doing on Twitter. Not only is it a missed opportunity, it can be done in a matter of seconds.

A Pinned Tweet

 

pinned tweet example

A pinned tweet is a tweet that stays at the top of your Twitter feed. It will be the first tweet that everyone who clicks on your tweets will see. It’s a great opportunity to expand upon your bio and brand yourself.

You can take an existing tweet and pin it as shown below:

 

pinned tweet how to

Or even better, you can craft a new tweet that reflects why someone would want to follow you and what type of tweets they can expect from you. It’s worth including a photo as well since tweets with photos receive five times (source) more engagement than text only tweets.

A pinned tweet allows you to show what type of impression you want to make, without leaving it up to chance, where your most recent tweet is shown, which may not even be to your content, but a retweet of someone else’s content.

Unlike pinned posts on Facebook, pinned posts on Twitter stay until you change them, and it’s worth changing them regularly to keep your Twitter feed looking fresh.

This one simple, easy step is one you can’t afford not to take!

Join Laurel at TBEX Athens for more tips when she speaks on Twitter Tips for Advanced Users on Saturday, October 25th at 10:45.

Author bio: Laurel is an award-winning travel blogger at MonkeysandMountains.com, named after two of the things she loves most. She’s also Chief Conversation Starter at Monkeys and Mountains Media, which provides the travel industry with solutions to getting the most from Twitter in the minimal amount of time.

10 Reasons Instagram Should be a Major Part of your Social Media Strategy

 

colmhanratty-tbex-guestpost-main-imageWith so many social networks out there these days (who’s already got an Ello profile?), it’s hard being active on all of them. Twitter and Facebook are the two obvious ones, but then there are many more to choose from between Vine, Pinterest, YouTube and others. But the one other channel that you should make sure you’re active on if you’re online and in the travel space is Instagram. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. It’s quick

I love Instagram for many reasons. One of them is that it’s quick. Once you’ve something to take a photo of, or if you have a bank of images you can upload, you can have a presence on the world’s number one mobile-specific social network by using just ten minutes a day of your time.

2. It’s engaging

Because Instagram is all about images, it’s rich, engaging content. This means users can really get a taste of your coffee, food, office, daily routine, current destination, past destination via a #latergram or more.

3. Your followers don’t need to devote too much time to engage with your photos

Do you know why the most talked about and increasingly popular social networks over the last two years have been Pinterest and Instagram? It’s because people don’t have the time to commit to reading a blog post, listening to a podcast or watching a video. But present a photo to them and they can spare those five seconds to engage with it or not. Instagram isn’t just quick for you – it’s quick for your audience too.

4. It makes your photos look cool

I’ve been a budding photographer for years, but I’ve never sat down at my computer and touched up my images using Lightroom or Photobox. Now, because of Instagram, I don’t have to. Adding a tilt shift effect here and a Lo-Fi filter there means it’s touched up within seconds, resulting in my photos looking that little bit sharper. Here’s an example:

colmhanratty-instagram-example

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5. Growing your following organically is easier than on other social networks

A phrase that has been doing the rounds in social media circles for a while now is ‘the free ride is over’. Anybody who has been using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter knows that growing your following and having wider reach organically is harder than ever before. Since Instagram hasn’t introduced an advertising model yet, this isn’t the case. Upload quality photos regularly, laden them with hashtags and you’ll see that follower count growing slowly but surely.

6. Instagram can generate content for other social networks

How many times have you come across posts like ‘Dublin, as seen by Instagram’ on travel blogs? Or Pinterest boards titled ‘My Instagram photos from around the world’? Without Instagram, this content wouldn’t exist. Regularly share photos on Instagram and you’ll regularly generate content for other social channels.

7. Instagram’s Hyperlapse app

This app caused a bit of controversy among videographers when it was first released because videos created on Hyperlapse might not really be hyperlapses – they’re simply timelapses. My answer to that is ‘so what?’ If there’s an app that makes my walk down a street of a city look cool, by way of a timelapse video or otherwise, I’m all for it. Here’s one I shot of my hometown recently:

8. It’s fun

Taking a photo of a landmark, colleague, new product or cup of coffee, adding a filter to it and coming up with a catchy narrative to go with it is a lot more fun that writing a thousand word post on anything. Instagram shouldn’t be seen as marketing your brand or your blog – it should be seen as a fun thing to do that happens to also be marketing your brand or blog.

9. It’s all about mobile

Once you have a smartphone with a half-decent camera and a sense of what type of imagery you want to share, and once your followers have a phone that has Instagram installed, you’ve got yourself presence on this platform. It’s that simple.

10. You can produce videos as well as photos

Almost exactly six months after Twitter released Vine, Instagram introduced video. Different to Hyperlapse, Instagram’s videos are free-flowing video footage that can last up to 15 seconds. Similar to Vine videos, they can be an amalgamation of a series of shots while still giving you functionality such as filters and auto enhance. One app; two types of content (three including Hyperlapse).

Author bio: Colm Hanratty has been in the online travel space for over 13 years. He first got involved when he made a personal website about backpacking around Australia in 2001 before working in Hostelworld.com for almost 11 years. Today he runs digital marketing consultancy sixtwo digital, continuing to work with travel brands that collaborate with travel bloggers. He’ll be speaking on Friday at 12 noon in the Commerce track on outlining a 12 month plan to building better blogger relationships.

The Nuts and Bolts: Why You Should Understand the Technology Behind Your Website.

The website, over the past several years, has evolved.  The web started out as a way for tech-savvy people and businesses to monotonously display their information.  Now, the web is an expression of the caricatures of the human race.  The moments of greatness – and the occasional moment of darkness – are displayed in full high-resolution for everyone to experience.  Centuries ago, only the rich and powerful could print words.  Now, the power of the press is available to anyone and everyone. A website is a beautiful representation of a person’s soul and passion.  Why, then, would a person not strive to understand the inner workings of their own soul?

Mitch CanterOK, maybe that’s a bit on the melodramatic side, but I do know this: learning the inner workings of a website empowers people.  It’s an amazing feeling to be able to fix a problem on your blog – especially since you don’t have to to call your web developer friend when something looks out of place.  Being able to make (or fix) something with your hands – even if that something is made of bits and bytes – is a great feeling.

The biggest deterrent, I’ve seen, is that people just don’t know what they don’t know.  They’ve stumbled haphazardly onto their WordPress theme editor and panicked at the sight of lines and lines of code.  To best understand what’s going on in our website, we must first know what we need to know.  When people ask me what they should learn, there are three things without fail that I recommend they study.

HTML

HTML tags are the fundamental building blocks of the internet.  No matter what language you write in, the resulting output is usually HTML.  HTML stands for “Hypertext Markup Language”, and serves the purpose of taking raw content and applying basic structure and form.  HTML won’t tell you how wide or what color something is, but it does provide the backbone for being able to set those attributes.  Paragraphs (<p>) are separated from headlines (<h1>) and lists (<ul> or <ol>), and documents go from a mass jumble of words to a neatly formatted set of instructions for the browser to follow.

CSS

HTML tags only display information.  It’s the CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) that takes that information and applies true form and style.  You can make those paragraphs grey, change the headlines’ font, and ensure your lists have a colored background.  You can even take whole sections of content and position them exactly where you want to on a page.  Most browsers already have styles built into them, but we can over-ride those styles by changing their rules in a stylesheet document – a top-down approach that “cascades” the style rules down a specific order of operation.

PHP (WordPress)

Now that we’ve determined the structure and color, we can start talking about the content.  Running a site that’s pure HTML is a daunting task.  Fortunately, content management systems like WordPress have made it easy to “templatize” a site – you supply the style and function rules, and the machine spits out your content depending on where you are.  Going to a single page pulls only that content from a database, and a category only shows posts that are specifically marked to show.

PHP uses defined functions – meaning that you can write rules that can then be called again and again as needed.  A WordPress site, at it’s most basic form, only changes the ID number to figure out which content to grab – everything else is just a template.Yes, this is a gross simplification of a larger process, but once you learn the basics it’s amazing what you realize you can do.  I encourage anyone who owns or operates a website to at least pick up a few of the basics.  Your website is an extension of you – it’s your place on the web to make art, write, and even sell your wares. And I’d dare say that having a website is no longer optional – not even for your regular people.

I do workshops weekly for people to learn the inner-workings of WordPress and other design-related topics (and I’ll be doing a Design & Tech Workshop in TBEX Athens to teach people some of the very things I talked about above).  I’ve seen people’s lives changed because the act of learning, even if it’s just a small fix here or there, has empowered them to make the most out of their website.  Learn the basics, take control of your website, and make the world a better place.  Who could ask for more?

Author Bio:  Mitch Canter is a WordPress Designer / Developer from Nashville, TN.  He strives to make the web a more beautiful place, and to empower his clients better understand WordPress and how to use it.  You can see his work at http://www.studionashvegas.com, and find helpful WordPress resources athttp://www.understandwp.com.

Top Reasons Why a Cruise is an Ideal Vacation

pool on MSC Fantasia

Did you know more than 21.7 million passengers are expected to cruise in 2014? Will you be one of them?

Cruise lines continue to introduce new and exciting ships as they attempt to dazzle all types of travelers with different amenities and features. If you’ve been considering taking a cruise, but not sure it’s right for you, check out some of the top reasons why cruising makes an ideal vacation:

  1. Hassle-Free:  You only have to pack and unpack once while visiting multiple countries and cities. Go to bed in La Spezia, Italy and wake up the next morning in Cannes, France with no need to arrange flights, hotels, or shuttles in between.
  2. Fun for Family Members of All Ages: With everything from kids clubs to educational lectures, a cruise is the perfect venue for your next multi-generational vacation. Every family member has the chance to choose their own activities during the day and then get together in the evenings for a family dinner in a gourmet restaurant.
  3. Customized to Meet Your Needs: Every cruise line, from contemporary to luxury, offers a unique cruising experience that can be customized to make the most of your vacation. By offering specialty dining restaurants, captivating entertainment, luxurious spas, and other innovative features, cruise lines are able to exceed the expectations of travelers.
  4. Unique Destinations: Choose from visiting the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South Africa, South America, and other exciting destinations. Each cruise port offers you the opportunity to explore the hottest sights and attractions of each unique city such as the Acropolis in Athens, Greece or the Mayan Ruins in Cozumel, Mexico. Just take your pick.
  5. Meet New People: Cruising is an international experience. Meet fellow travelers from around the world and learn about their culture while relaxing in the spa, the pools or at the restaurants and bars, enjoying sublime food served by our amazing chefs.

Still have questions about cruising? MSC Cruises is coming to TBEX Europe to meet you! Please stop by our table and introduce yourself.

Want to see what else MSC Cruises is up to at TBEX Europe and how you can win a FREE CRUISE? Make sure to connect with us on social and use #MSCTBEX. Find us on social media on Facebook, @MSCCruisesUSA on Twitter, Google+, @MSCCruisesOfficial on Instagram, and on YouTube.

 

Company Bio:  MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Italian cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in the CaribbeanNorthern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South AmericaSouth Africa, The United Arab Emirates and the Red Sea. In March 2014, the line announced the construction of two new cruise ships by STX France due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. Two months later, the line announced the construction of two additional new builds by Fincantieri due for delivery respectively in Nov. 2017 and May 2018.MSC Cruises believes that global leadership brings increased responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. As such, MSC entered in a long-term partnership with UNICEF in 2009 to support educational programmes for children in Brazil. The partnership was renewed early 2014, this time to support UNICEF’s efforts to tackle famine and malnutrition in developing countries and in emergency situations. Since the beginning of the partnership, MSC collected three million euros in MSC guests donations.

 

Last Minute TBEX Travel Tips Before You Cross the Pond/Border

 

amyjacksonI’m sitting here in Santorini looking out on the gorgeous, tranquil Aegean waters and jagged cliffs of the caldera. My pre-TBEX relaxation is in full effect, but the 30-hour journey was very humbling for this road warrior. Here are some to help your travels go smoothly, and get the most out of TBEX:

 

  1. Pack a change of clothes, contact lenses and prescriptions in your carry-on: The odds of luggage not arriving on time increases with each layover. All I can say is thank goodness for hotel robes!
  2. Sleep masks and noise canceling headphones are a must: These came in handy for me in a multitude of ways: sleeping on the plane, sleeping in the airport, and tricking your circadian rhythms into adjusting to the time zone.
  3. Stay in the loop on flight status: While I’m naturally partial to TripIt Pro, the bottom line is that early notification of flight delays, gate changes and access to alternate flights (to make it easier on you and the ticket agent to rebook you) can mean the difference between getting to Athens on time and having to spend the night in the airport. (And if you do find yourself in FRA or ATH, I can recommend a couple of comfy spots for cat naps.)
  4. Take out your liquids, laptop and tablets too, when passing through security: TSA approved sleeves aren’t really a thing here. But on the bright side, I didn’t have to take my shoes off.
  5. Rethink the last row: When I had to be rebooked due to a missed connection, having a seat in the last row initially felt like salt in the wound. But that’s when the silver lining appeared: a whole row to myself meant extra room for spreading out and catching up on ZZZs.
  6. Keep your eye on the prize: You’re about to arrive in a city with some of the most amazing history in the world, further enhanced by a 72+ hour period of inspirational ideas shared in sessions and keynotes, invaluable industry contacts and new friends.
  7. Get on Twitter and Instagram: This gives you the extra bonus of making connections online, simultaneously while participating in TBEX offline (no international data plan pun intended). For me, the pairing of TBEX photos and tweets with “in real life” relationship-building creates a group hug sensation, and it’s one of the reasons I come back to TBEX again and again.

Have tips to add to the list? Share in the comments section below.

Author Bio:  Amy leads brand strategy and consumer marketing for TripIt, the world’s highest-rated travel organizing app from Concur. For more than a decade, she generated national media coverage and pioneered social media programs for award-winning technology and consumer brands. Amy is a frequent traveler and a reward point geek. She’s especially passionate about mobile apps that make life easier, 5-star hotels and local cuisine.

Amy will be speaking with Angie Orth in the TBEX Business track, helping the industry learn about tools for press trips.

Reflections on TBEX 2014: Dublin, Ireland

 

Last year, TBEX came to Dublin.

It came, it saw, and it most definitely conquered. Hundreds of the world’s most influential travel bloggers brought their unique vision and vibe to Dublin in 2013, shared their love with every connected corner of the world, and left behind an amazing sense of possibility.

For one wonderful week, it seemed like anything could happen.

This year, we want you back. Before or after TBEX Europe in Athens, we want you to pick up where you left off, to sample the startling energy of this island of Ireland, to sense the craic and creativity in the air.

In short, we want you to come home.

Wild Atlanitc Way 2

Last year, Ireland was gearing up to launch a ground-breaking tourism proposition. Many of you experienced taster trips along the Wild Atlantic Way during your visit, but you’ll be blown away at the fully formed route.

This Wild Atlantic Way is now up and running as the longest defined coastal touring route on the planet. It’s a salt-in-your-face, spray-on-your-windscreen immersion tracing every nook and cranny of the coastline from Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula to the sizzling kitchens of Kinsale in Cork.

The Wild Atlantic Way isn’t just about the great outdoors, of course. It’s about the lifelong memories you’ll pick up along the way – in the midst of traditional music sessions, exploring coastal towns, or living it up during shindigs like the Fleadh Cheoil or Galway’s Arts and Oyster festivals.

Dublin is changing, too. The buzzing cafés, pubs and clubs you loved last year are blossoming into fully-fledged scenes. The food scene is going from strength to strength. You’ll not only find the best pint of Guinness here. You’ll find killer coffees and tunes, too.

Wanna party?

Time your Dublin visit to coincide with Dublin’s New Year’s Festival – a three-day party that’s going city-wide – or the mother of all get-togethers… the St Patrick’s Festival. It’s the perfect time to go green. Bloom in the Park, Ireland’s largest Gardening show is the social occasion of the year, with food also featuring prominently or Bram Stoker Fest, in October, when the City takes a look at its darker side and celebrates the Dublin-born horror novelist and his creation – Count Dracula.

Another city enjoying a new lease of life is Belfast. The Northern Ireland capital is the birthplace of Titanic, and the interactive Titanic Belfast is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s must-see attractions.

Belfast’s music and food scenes are making waves, too. The home of Van Morrison and Snow Patrol is crammed with cracking bands, venues and a new generation of restaurants is taking the hottest of local produce –and turning them into a very appetising prospect.

City doorsteps

When you’re done touring the city, head north to the Causeway Coast. Sights like the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, The Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbour may look familiar… they’ve all served as locations in HBO’s fantastical Game of Thrones, much of which is filmed in Northern Ireland.

giants_causeway

Meanwhile, history is hooking up with the here-and-now in Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford. Ireland’s ‘Sunny Southeast’ has long been known for its beaches (Steven Spielberg shot the opening scenes for Saving Private Ryan at Ballinesker), but more and more visitors are dipping into what’s emerging as one of the hottest heritage destinations around.

Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile is a magical strip running from Kilkenny Castle through the ancient city centre to St. Canice’s Cathedral. Waterford, the oldest city in Ireland, has been celebrating the 1,100th anniversary of its foundation by Vikings. The replica Dunbrody Famine Ship evokes journeys made by countless emigrants, including the ancestors of President John F Kennedy.

It’ll be a whirlwind visit – and an unforgettable one.

Enjoy TBEX Athens, and remember your motto for 2015:  Let’s make Ireland happen!

Author Bio:  Pól Ó Conghaile is a travel writer based in Ireland.

10 Tips for Maximizing Your Time at TBEX

 

1. Have current business cards. Having current business cards with your contact information readily available. You never know who you are going to meet in an elevator or coffee line. Having a photo on your card is a great way to help people remember you and your blog

tammilee_head_shot2. Prepare an elevator speech or practice talking about your blog. You may only have a few moments to share your blog with someone. Be prepared with your top points and what you love about your blog. PRACTICE!!!!! Tell your friends, family or anyone who will listen what you plan to say. Practice will help take the jitters out when you meet that amazing destination you have been dreaming about talking to.

3. Make appointments/coffee dates. TBEX is a great time to get to know not only industry reps but fellow bloggers. Reach out and see if you can make a speed dating appointment or coffee meeting. If a companies speed dating is full ask if you can meet for coffee or a cocktail.

4. Look up from your phone and talk to people/Be present. I know we all want to keep the world updated on what is happening at TBEX but remember to look up and be social. Talk to the people around you, introduce yourself and just enjoy the moment. You never know who will be sitting next to you in a session. Remember to be present. Remember to look up and absorb the moment. TBEX is an amazing experience! Take a moment to soak in the atmosphere, the fact that you are in a gorgeous city and that you have the chance to talk with both industry leaders and peers.

5. Dress for success. Dress for who you are meeting with and come prepared. I am not saying to dress in a business suit or formal wear but remember who you are meeting with. Represent your brand in a way that shows that you are the perfect person/entity to work with for their destination/brand.

6. Participate in pre and post TBEX trips. This is the perfect way to meet other writers and share knowledge. Some of our best contacts have come from pre and post TBEX tours. You have the opportunity to share amazing experiences together and get to know each other on a personal level. The people you meet on these trips may be the same people that introduce you to your dream destination.

7. Get social! Use the TBEX hashtag and check out who else is on social. Ask questions, comment, respond and get to know people before you land in Athens.

8. Be yourself! Please don’t try to be someone you are not. Be yourself and have fun! You are participating in an amazing experience and have the opportunity to get to know wonderful people. BUT don’t have so much fun that you can’t remember what happened the next day.

9. Make a plan and be willing to adapt it. This may sound counter intuitive but make a plan but know that it is perfectly fine to adapt it. You may plan on attending each and every session but then end up in a killer conversation with someone and miss one and that is fantastic. Sometimes the conversations in the snack line are the most important conversations from the event.  Be prepared with a plan but know that life happens and sometimes the best laid plans have to be changed up a bit

10. HAVE FUN!!!! Greece is amazing! Have fun! Soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the amazing food, and get to know your neighbors!

Author Bio:  Tammilee Tillison is a professional blogger from Washington State that uses her Masters of Business Administration degree to create a thriving blog in the competitive world of travel blogging. Moving from the corporate world to the blogging world, she has grown her blog, Tammilee Tips, to over 500K page views a month and has readers in over 170 countries. Her social media outreach encompasses over 250K fans. Tammilee has a passion for food, travel and helping others. You’ll want to catch her session at TBEX Athens about Building a Blogging Business: Getting it Done Every Single Day.

Travel Podcasting 101: Professional Tips and Trick

 

Successful travel podcasting isn’t about equipment; it’s about content and technique.

paul.jpegI’m probably one of the most widely heard podcasters in the world of travel. My wife and I produce, create, and record 10 travel podcasts a week for the American Forces Radio Network, and we now have nearly 10,000 podcasts in the archives. More than 2 million people in 180 countries listen to us every day. For us, creating radio content and quality podcasting are one and the same.

Think of podcasting as freezing radio in time. We’ve been doing it since we put up our first website in 1994. Then, we used a program called real audio. At the time, AM and FM Radio were the most popular listening models, and the Internet was almost unheard of.

Today nearly half of the world consumes their audio from the Internet by listening to podcasts and Internet broadcasts. And the audience today is hipper, more knowledgeable, and better educated than the radio audience in those days. That’s why podcasting is clearly the way forward into the future. To note how fast the world is changing their listening habits, BMW is proposing leaving AM radio out of their newest car models in 2015. You can imagine how legacy radio is receiving this news.

So at TBEX Athens, we’ll look at how simple it is to make a podcast and what you need to do to make it sound great. There is no long equipment list. You may not know it, but you already own a recording studio. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to leave the interactive session with the easily learned techniques you need to make a podcast that sounds professional and that people will listen to.

Author Bio:  Paul Lasley, along with Elizabeth Harryman, create half hour radio shows and podcats on travel topics every day that are distributed globally on satellite by American Forces Radio Network. The shows are daily in 180 countries to an audience in excess of 2 million. The goal is to help listeners travel better, smarter, cheaper and have fun. Paul and Elizabeth also produce and voice a one-minute feature for AFRN that airs several times a day and includes news and information on travel and travel related subjects.  Podcasts are available at www.ontravel.com. Paul is a member of SATW.

Editor’s Note:  If you’re thinking about giving podcasting a try, you won’t want to miss Paul’s breakout session at TBEX where he’ll create a podcast episode during the session. You’ll have a chance to see how it’s done – and give it a try yourself – in this entertaining and interactive session.

Are You Taking Great Pictures with your iPhone?

 

You should be.

We all know that we have a better camera on our phone than most people ever owned even a few years ago. We all know that we are sharing those images, and we all know that images engage far better on Facebook, and are what make Pinterest and Instagram so insanely popular.

Most of us are very intentional with the stories our words and pictures are telling on our blogs, but sometimes we take our mobile photography a little less seriously. We shouldn’t.

Here’s why: all those images are part of your brand, part of the story you are telling as a travel blogger. Many people follow their favorite bloggers far more closely and consistently on social media; they are getting the minute-by-minute part of your story as it happens through your images.

And so, of course, you need to think about what story you are telling with those images that you are snapping with your iPhone. Is it the story you want to tell?

The good news is – it’s not hard to tell your story, with great images, right from your iPhone. Mostly what you need is to take just a little extra time and care. And, of course, the right tools are a huge help.

So let’s start with where you are. Take a minute right now to pull up your Instagram profile (or your Facebook or Google+ photo feed). Look at that grid of pictures. What does it say? Is there any sort of consistent theme – perhaps that you enjoy adventure, or that you’re the life of the party, or that you love selfies? Think about that as it relates to your brand – are you saying what you want to say?

TBEX insta SBJ

 

Now, think about your favorite people to follow for their images. Here are a few of my favorites with an emphasis on travel:

TBEX insta collage

 

Pull up any of these feeds and it’s clear what these bloggers are doing. The scenery may change, but the feel, the brand, the story, is consistent. The other thing they all have in common? They are telling their stories with beautiful, compelling images – taken with their iPhones.

Don’t you want to do that as well? Sure you do! Remember…it’s not even that difficult!

Now that it’s settled, make plans to join me to talk about iPhoneography at TBEX:Athens, where we will get into the nuts and bolts of advanced iPhone photography. We’ll learn helpful techniques and tools to make those images tell your story clearly and beautifully.

And to get us all thinking about and working on our iPhone photography skills before then, I’d love for you to join me in a week-long photo challenge during the first week of October. Post a picture taken with your iPhone along the theme each day with the hashtag #TBEXiPICS, in addition to the usual #TBEX hashtag. You might even see some of your images in my session!

 

TBEX photo challenge

 

Author Bio:  Sarabeth Jones is a creative at Fellowship North who enjoys all kinds of artistic work: writing, directing, acting, design, photography, and the occasional flash mob. Her personal stage is her blog thedramatic.com, where life is series of scenes: some with fabulous costumes, some with witty lines, and some that should probably be edited out. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and 3 kids and loves to write about they way they make her laugh, whether they are traveling the world or living the #DogtownLife at home.  At TBEX Athens, Sarabeth will be leading a session on iphonography and some of the advance techiques that you may not yet have discovered.