10 things to do if you’re a new blogger and what I learnt – ITB Berlin

As you know in my earlier post last week, I went to the ITB, Berlin. Berlin is my adopted home town and a wonderful place to go to an international tourism travel trade fair.

Berlin / Brandenburg
Berlin / Brandenburg

As a coach and trainer, I like to prepare myself in order to ensure that I am always a few steps ahead of my students and clients, and so I did some online research. There isn’t an awful lot about how to prepare yourself for the biggest travel trade fair in the world but what there is, is pretty sound.

The Grand Closing Ceremony: Mexico - ITB Berlin.
The Grand Closing Ceremony: Mexico – ITB Berlin.

According to the Reiseblogger Kollective the “How To ITB” guide is a pretty comprehensive piece. You can get the low-down of the travel bloggers guide to the ITB Berlin by the TBEX (the Travel Bloggers Exchange), of which I hope to attend one of their conferences either in Athens this year or in 2015 but we’ll have to see! You can also get a few tips about the rise of travel bloggers from Yvonne a German blogger at JustTravelous. The gay travel guide at the ITB from Travels of Adam, and of course recommended blogger top tips from the ITB Berlin itself.

Bloggers here. Bloggers there. Bloggers everywhere!
Bloggers here. Bloggers there. Bloggers everywhere!

It was my very first time there as a blogger and OMG, it was so daunting but I learnt an awful lot. Let’s not forget that I started blogging only 5 months ago! Here goes:

1.    Find and meet other bloggers: I would say that this is the most important point. I’m new in the blogging game so it was important to me that I met flesh and blood bloggers or at least people who work in social media. In order to do this I went to the pre-ITB party, bloggers meet-ups and various other after-parties. It wasn’t difficult and I met a few interesting people that I have to follow up in the next fortnight or so. They were all helpful, lovely, and encouraging, and that is what you need when you’re a new blogger.

The Bloggers After-Party sponsored by Mrs. and Tirol Werbung.
The Bloggers After-Party sponsored by Mrs. and Tirol Werbung.

2.    Prepare. Organise. Prepare. Organise. Have all your stuff with you. Pens, paper, business cards, paper tissues, sweets for your throat after all the talking, drinking, or both. Get a map of transport availability, route of the rooms and halls, where the bathrooms are, and your stats or press kit! Happily, after reading about the mistake of other bloggers, I ordered two extra boxes of business cards but I forgot the cough sweets and ended up with a bit of a sore throat and a slight hack in my voice. Thankfully, nobody asked about my press kit, because I don’t have one!

Blogger Speed Dating-Networking at the ITB Berlin.
Blogger Speed Dating-Networking at the ITB Berlin.

3.    Dress up: German businesses and corporations are conservative when it comes to meetings so being slightly formal and wearing a suit or at least smart-casual, will go a long way. I spied a few ladies wearing flats, sandals and flip-flops.

4.    Have some sort of schedule or plan to your day: I wasn’t accredited as my blog was too new but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t map out what I wanted to do. I had a sheet of paper every day with what I wanted to attend, what the topic was about, where it was, and how to get there.

Press Fam Trips: The Good, The Bad And The Very Funny“ Percy von Lipinski from CNN.
Press Fam Trips: The Good, The Bad And The Very Funny“
Percy von Lipinski from CNN.

5.    Be flexible: Even though I had a schedule, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t change it and I did. There were a few moments where I found myself in a seminar and it wasn’t the seminar that I expected, so after a polite 10 minutes, I quietly slipped away. Having said that, I met a few more experienced bloggers who advised me to do something else, or that something else would work out better for me, as a new blogger instead, so I shifted gear, and they were right.

6.    Focus on you: What do you want out of the ITB, Berlin? Since this was my first blogger event. Ever. My priorities were to learn what blogging was really all about, how to get better, and basically introduce myself, and meet the star-bloggers in my vicinity. In this case: Germany. You can’t believe how the fact that I speak German actually opened a few more doors as many people hadn’t actually met a British blogger and a person of colour ……I’ll let you know how things progress!

ITB Berlin: Talking about Hospitality and Tourism.
ITB Berlin: Talking about Hospitality and Tourism.

7.    Ask for help: If you don’t know something. Ask. Better to learn now, then disappoint later.

8.    Go to seminars and workshops. There were over 200 lectures, discussions and workshops and 2,000 social media events. There’s bound to be something of interest. Take advantage as it’s free.

I'm the one with dark hair poking out, wearing glasses and looking quite serious!
Sebastian Canaves from I’m the one with dark hair poking out, wearing glasses and looking quite serious!

9.    Network and network: Exchange business cards and don’t forget to note who or where you got the business card from, and follow-up and follow-through. It can sometimes be over-whelming to meet so many people and after a while, it all becomes a bit of a blur.

Prost! Cheers! Bottoms Up!
Prost! Cheers! Bottoms Up!

10.    Enjoy yourself: How many opportunities do you get to have 10,147 companies at your fingertips and bloggers from 25 countries all over the world. It’s amazing! Remember just because you’re not on the list doesn’t mean you can’t join the party. I gatecrashed the bloggers speed-dating event, a few lounge parties and a couple of networking events. I just introduced myself, handed out my card, smiled, and grabbed a glass of champagne!

Austrian food provided at the Bloggers After-Party sponsored by Mrs. and Tirol Werbung.
Austrian food provided at the Bloggers After-Party sponsored by Mrs. and Tirol Werbung.

Right. Enough of the lectures. What did I personally learn? Well……

  • A lot of businesses in Germany have absolutely no idea what a blogger is and what a blogger can do for the industry.
  • Scientists don’t know anything about bloggers either.
  • Speed-dating blog style and getting out the important facts about myself and my blog in 5 minutes flat, and in German!
  • Where the free food and drink is. I made it one of my personal missions to search out the free grub and nosh as commercially sold food was awful and expensive…..
  • How bloggers can work in professional corporation with industry.
  • Expectations of and about blogger trips, or press trips, if one is so lucky.
  • The myths and realities of being a travel blogger.
  • The importance of networking.
  • How to implement a social media marketing plan.
  • How to use, and the benefits of Twitter.
  • How many people were happy to help and advice me ranging from the staff at the ITB Berlin, to travel organisations and other bloggers. Again many thanks, ITB Press Team.
  • How to throw a few punches in Thai Boxing and look good at the same time!
Thai Boxing at the ITB Berlin.
Thai Boxing at the ITB Berlin.

The most important thing that I really learnt was the fact that I, as the British Berliner, don’t have to go to far-flung countries to find my niche or to compete with others, because I can start doing my stuff right here in my region.

In Europe.

Where I live, and isn’t that something of a revelation.

P.S. I would like to mention a person who I met for the first time, at the pre-ITB launch party, who I kept bumping into during the travel convention and who continuously, gave me excellent advice, tips and know-how as to what to do. She is a blogger who switched to travel journalism. Her name is Maja. She held my hand and was wonderful. Thanks Maja.

As a last note, you can now catch me on Twitter:

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my absolute own.

Have you been to a bloggers conference or congress? Have you been to a networking event? Have you met other bloggers? What was it like? Were they as you expected them to be?

Myself and an Asian girl at the ITB Berlin.
Myself and an Asian girl at the ITB Berlin.

Have your say.

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44 Comments on “10 things to do if you’re a new blogger and what I learnt – ITB Berlin

  1. Honey, your twitter link doesn’t work. (Bottom of article). Opens an email form…

    Xxx F


  2. Media kit? For a blogger? Dammit, now I feel like a total slacker. Need to research that stat.

    • I know! Anna, I only knew about that myself whilst checking out bloggers online who live in Berlin. Being German, they’re very professional n’ all! Thankfully, my charm worked so that I could side-step a few questions….

  3. Very helpful list! It looks like you had a great time. I am totally in agreement that one can travel anywhere and write about it, even just 5 minutes down the road. Thank you for telling us about this event and giving us pointers, too!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful event and very informative for a new blogger. I have never been to any of these. Nice tips you offered.

    • Thank you so much Phil! I can’t believe you’ve never been to a bloggers thing yourself as you’re such a confident writer. 🙂

      As for me, I couldn’t not go when the world’s largest travel trade fair is on my footstep and I’m glad that my tips were useful so that I can look back in years to come and say, “I wrote that!”

  5. Great tips! I have never been to any of these, but have read about it. I have to go to the next one. What the heck would go into a press kit for a blogger? I’m glad other bloggers were generous with advise and time. Looks like you had a blast!!!

    • Thank you so much kemkem! I really did have a good time and can’t wait to go again next year!
      You know, you’re the second person who expressed surprise at a “press kit.” I don’t know much about it myself but from what I’ve seen I gather it’s a written and pictorial form of presenting the advantages of your blog to the industry who understand the value of “numbers” even if they are unfamiliar with the concept of blogging!

      I think you guys are doing rather well at your end but meeting “the industry” certainly can’t do any harm LOL!

  6. Seems like such a great event! I haven’t been to any blogger conferences or events yet, but I really wanted to go to TBEX in Las Vegas in January this year but couldn’t because of work and studies.

    • Thanks so much Mitzie. ITB was great and I learned so much about social media on both sides of the field. Generally, everyone is still on a learning curve!

      If you get a chance to attend an event, it’s well worth it. I know you guys in Dubai are closer knit but as you know, blogging is a sole job so it was paramount to me that I actually met real people who blog. That was awesome! I hope to go to TBEX in Athens if I can grab a few days, so by all means, go for it!

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    • Thanks so much Johnny!
      Am I going to ITB? You bet your Nelly!
      Are you going? If so, see you at the Travel Massive Opening Party but hurry. The tickets are free of charge but limited!
      It was so much fun last year. We had so much sponsored beer that we were practically giving all the drink tickets away lol! So funny. 🙂 🙂

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    • Thanks very much Ty! The fact that you’re reading this post 2 years later, just shows the power and strength of great content, and excellent social media! 😀 The blogger events at ITB were 50% in English and 50% in German. For those who couldn’t speak German, headphones that connected you to translators, were given out. In the trade fair itself, most people spoke English because of the internatonal nature of the convention…!

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