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I attended Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank in May of 2015. This was a mastermind of masterminds. Not only was it in the Philippines but it was a 5 day event. I think what put it over the top from an organization standpoint was that everything was planned and taken care of on every level. Besides buying my ticket for TTT the only thing I had to do was show up. Chris’ team took care of our hotel reservations and pick up from the airport and everything else from kick off party to the last day with transportation back to the airport. This meant breakfast each day, our full day masterminds, dinner plans – including an outing one evening to a restaurant in town, happy hours, our last day sunset cruise and snorkeling to the blow out white party. To read more about the event head to BITW 025 Blog Post.
Here are my top three takeaways from each speaker at Tropical Think Tank 2015 that I think will benefit travel writers and bloggers.
Day 1 speakers were John Lee Dumas of EOF, Mathew Kimberly of mk.com and Dan Norris of WP Curve.
John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire
- Refuse to live a life you know deep down, you’re not meant to live.
- Find your story of courage and own it. Sit down and think through your entire life and find a time when you did something courageous – this doesn’t have to be saving someone’s life – although for some it might be. It is about finding a time where you showed up in life with courage and did something you didn’t know you had in you. Remember that version of yourself. Own that strength.
- On a more business based level – his email sequence and funnel for acquiring new emails. He approaches it with 3 principles that are 1- to offer something for free that his worthwhile, 2- he adds additional value in his first email and 3 – he is consistent with his message. My takeaway wasn’t just the breakdown of his email sequence, but that he has taken the time to actually think out principles that his emails must adhere to. And the bigger piece of this lesson for me is to try to make every email something that is worth opening and reading and not just a quick, unthoughtout correspondence that isn’t offering something useful.
- You will attract the people you are meant to serve if you make a stand. Meaning if you choose to be a travel writer that focuses on mancations like my guest James Hills from eps 15 — he will attract mostly men who are interested in this lifestyle and vacations for men. He needs to accept he won’t have a huge following of women – but even more important he needs to tailor his site, articles and photos to men and if he does so, he’ll attract a loyal following. If instead he tried to target men and women with his content – trying to write so it appealed to both he’d probably alienate both and not have grown his brand so quickly and with so much authority.
- Mathew also had a great tip for networking that each and every one of you can implement. It’s a three step process and I’ll blog about the whole thing or share it all on an upcoming episode, but for time I’m going to focus on the most useful step which is to make list of 90 people you know who can help you in any way. Then every day reach out to 3 people – but it’s going to be from a place of giving and not asking and in a genuine way. It could be a simple hello and how are you doing. It could be that you email them a link to article you read, that made you think of them. I could be to introduce them to someone that would benefit them. Or it could be to give knowledge in the form of “did you know’.
So some examples — the email link example – well if I’m wandering around google and see an article about Cebu, I’m naturally going to think of TTT and it could email Mathew Kimberly or Chris Ducker or any of the attendees and say, “wow, found this really cool article on Cebu and it make me think of our mastermind in May. Hope all is well , etc’. I think a great example for travel writers is to reach out to PR you’ve already written for and ask if they have any client news you could push out on your social channels or your blog. In the end you are doing something thoughtful for them and will then most likely come to mind when asked about good experiences with travel writers or when they are planning a media trip. Do the same for other travel writers – hey have an article or blog post I can get in front of my followers? Just let me know. Think of how this could grow your connections and how positively these friends and acquaintances would think of you!
- Princlple – what comes around goes around. If you stay in front of these 90 people offering a hello, a connection or knowledge they will most likely return the favor one day.
Dan Norris of WP Curve
- Dan was all about content with no tricks or gimmicks. Offering great blog posts. He had several methods of creating content, but one I think speaks most to us as travel writers is the “ follow my journey” method – which would be as well as writing about destinations and experiences you could also blog specifically about your actual journey as a travel writer – how you are doing what you are doing.
- This was a great tip if you have your own blog. Check google analytics – determine the top 25 posts based on traffic and add an email opt-in on these pages if it doesn’t have one.
- A 3rd tip I loved is Buzzsumo. That is … It’s a free tool that allows you to discover the most shared links and key influencers for any topic. Sign up!
Mastermind session for day 1. When we came back to the meeting room after lunch there were speaker names on each table and we were told to sit at any table. I ran to Lewis Howes table cause. No explanation necessary – he is the guy who just interviewed Tony Robbins! There were about 5 of us at the table and we each had a chance to tell him a bit about our biz and ask a question. Lewis is a pretty serious guy, especially when it comes to talking business. He is a bottom line kind of guy – his advice for me was to get listeners to my shownotes page by offering something interesting or that will benefit your travel writing. So, by the way, if you’d like to get my ‘10 Tips to Start Your Travel Writing Career’ head over to bitw/eps25 and you’ll find the link in the resources. See Lewis, I listened!
He also said I need to create a course or bootcamp for my aspiring travel writers! This is in the works too! Last guy you want to let down is the one from the school of greatness!
Day 2 Michael O’neal, Amy Schmittauer.
If you’ve listened to a few of my podcasts, you probably know Michael is my biz coach. I started working with him at the end of 2014. I joined his group coaching program specifically because I knew I wanted to start this podcast and he is the man behind the solopreneur hour. Well maybe not behind – but right up front! He’s a no nonsence, tell it like it is guy, which I love in a coach. Also on day 2 was Amy Schmittauer of savvysexysocial and the marketinglifestyleshow podcast and Nick Unsworth.
Here are my top 3 from each speaker on day 2
- He talked about brand. Whether you are a travel writer writing for other publications and only using your name or you have a travel blog with a name – either way you are the brand. But Michael explained brand goes deeper than that – it is what people think of you. Take that in for a second. Big, right?
- He feels like self publishing is the current big wave in online marketing. Perfect for us travel writers – so writing a book is something that should be high on our to do list.
- His 17 points to honing in your business and brand… I’m going to go through these really quick, but I’ll have a link to the list in the shownotes for this episode which is bitw/eps 25 (Hello Lewis Howes)
Amy Schmittauer … I just learned what your last name would be without the letter m (typo)
- You are 52x more likely to show up on google search with video. That says a lot!!
- Videos should be 2-5 minutes because they don’t do good in search when they are longer.
- If you link twitter to youtube you will get tweets for youtube likes because most people don’t turn off this off when they sign up or realize that it sends out a tweet.
- When you have a purpose it’s easy to take inspired action. There are so many ways this could apply to us as travel writers. What if your purpose was to see more people travel. What action would you take as a travel writer?
- If you use Facebook ads to promote make sure ad copy is conversational for the newsfeed.
- Develop your story, stance and strategy. I’d start with literally writing down the story of your life as it pertains to leading you to becoming or wanting to start travel writing. What is your stance, your niche, the type of travel writing you want to cover. And strategy – how will you get your work out there? On your own blog, by writing for other online or print pubs?
Day 2 we did 4 mini masterminds – meaning every hour or so we chose a different speaker to sit with for advice and brainstorming.
I chose Chris Ducker, Kate Erickson, Amy Schmittauer and james Schramko
Chris was a discussion about using virtual assistants to outsource task based, time consuming tasks.
Kate – was a bit of a follow up on outsourcing and she had a great suggestion which is to write down everything you do for 1 week in your business or travel writing and outsource everything that is redundant and teachable.
With Amy— it was a focus on using Youtube cards. So, if you are doing video, you want to add this outro to your videos because you can send people back to your website. We also talked about remember who you follower is. So, for a travel writer – you need to know if you are gearing your articles to the novice traveler, arm chair traveler or experienced traveler. It’s how you’ll connect best.
James was all about creating an online membership – a follow up from what Lewis told me about creating a community.
All in all – super fascinating to get so many perspectives of my business and hear their advice for each person at my table.
Day 3 Darren Rowse of Problogger & Digital Photography School, Kate & John – Kate’s Take, and James Schramko of superfast business website and podcast.
Where to start. Ok guys – I might have to do a solo eps on this because it relates so much to what we do as travel photographers and writers. But if I have to pick 3 tips from his talk –
- Here is a great one. Look at what you wrote or published on this day last year – whether you’re blog or someone elses site and re-purpose it, update it, extend it or do a follow up piece. Do this every day and can you imagine how much more content you’d have?
- This follow up on Michaels tip about self publishing being hot right now. Darren suggested writing a 30 days to XX blog series. Then turn that into an ebook. Brilliant! So, guys what could you teach in a daily lesson for 3o days?
- Visit other blogs that are either competitors or in your same space. Go to comments section to look for story ideas. Isn’t this great! Many times a comment will include things they think the writer overlooked or interesting information from locals – what a goldmine for finding content ideas!
Kate & John … mostly Kate!
slated to speak together, it was really Kate’s lesson.
- Make a list of your weaknesses when it comes to your travel writing. It might be social media, it might be deadlines, etc. If you get clear on these – aware of these you can overcome them or outsource them if that is an option.
- She spoke about the importance of sleep and mentioned Shawnstevenson’s book Sleep Smarter. I’ve downloaded it to my kindle and its great. If you are sleep deprived, not sleeping well this is a great book. Highly recommend and thankful she mentioned it.
- Set boundaries and work hours. Sounds simple, but I know I am not great about doing this consistently. I did a longer version of what I learned from Kate’s talk – and this point of boundaries on last weeks episode, so if you’d like to hear that it’s bitw/eps 24
I think it’s fair to say everyone loved James’ session. He is all about working less and enjoying life. Making good smart choices in biz so you live a fulfilled life – and he had some serious biz advice. I think there may have even been a few mancrushes for his brilliant mind and biz model.
- If you feel like you are lost in email rabbit holes or that you just spend way too much time in email – I love this trick he taught – search word unsubscribe in email and do it. Literally unsubscribe to all mailing lists (except mine please)
- When you look at your to do list (for life, for travel writing) acknowledge you can’t do it all. Chose to cross of the items that are least important and commit to one action that will be most productive. Maybe your goal is to find one new outlet for your travel writing – what are the most productive things you can do to make this happen? Get clear on that and remove the items that are least productive.
- Routine sets you free. Think about that for a minute and then get honest with yourself about how much routine you have set in place for your travel writing. If writing your first travel article is still on your to do list – maybe you need to set aside 2 hours 2x a week at specific times and days that is for writing only. You might finish that first article this week!
Those were my hightlights!!
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