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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

#STSHamburg Social Travel Summit: Blogger Relations Think Tank Results.

“In the future, you might not be what you know, but what you share. (Do) Be more entrepreneurial!” There goes word by Andrew Grill, Vice President of the Social Business @IBM speaking to us about “Blogs & Brands: Walking A Fine Line into the Future of Social” at the #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit. After 48 hours of intense conversation, fast-paced conference sessions and happy party nights following the motto “Work Hard, Play Hard”, my head is still swirling days after the Social Travel Summit has ended. All the inspiration. All the people and passion on display. Like at the first ever such summit in the city of Leipzig back in 2014, all of us professionally minded online travel writers, videographers, bloggers, industry leaders & decision-makers have gathered once more this year in order to elaborate practical Do’s & Don’ts in improving industry blogger relations.

 

To this end, the 2015 Think Tank has focused on “Money & Budgets”, “Knowledge & Understanding” as well as “People & Structures”. Before, however, let me tell you why we should “treasure wild ducks …”!

Not my 2 cents: It is still Andrew Grill talking here. On the second day of #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit, he wakes us up to the notion that … “it is all about managing your own, personal brand. And understanding the notion of influence. Whenever you do something online, ask yourself: How is this going to affect my brand?” He also urges us to “do things differently: Treasure wild ducks!” Niches are the new rich.

“I believe in the power of social serendipity. You do not tell people that you are influential. You become influential by what you do. Make sure you are influential where you want to be. Brands are slowly waking up to the fact that just because you have a ‘high score’ does not mean you are useful to an organisation. As an online publisher, I urge you to become transparent and EARN YOUR INFLUENCE. Don’t just look at the scores – look at what lies beyond.” (Andrew Grill, The Social Travel Summit).

Andrew Grill during his delightful morning session at the Social Travel Summit in Hamburg.

Andrew Grill during his delightful morning session at the Social Travel Summit in Hamburg.

 

Andrew also encourages us to be more strategic in our thinking: “Where is your influence and what is it that you are talking about?

When you are pitching to a brand, focus on the following: Which is the audience you can bring? That is so much more intelligent than simply saying, ‘I’ve got a 100.000 followers.

Look beyond the basic metrics. Big data combined with ‘social’ now becomes big business! To give you an example: It is as easy as in any kind of human small (or big) talk. You are only allowed into a conversation if you have got something of value to say. Brands as well as bloggers have to consider this. In this new social media age, you just have to be smarter. And more strategic. Do not allow yourself to become a ‘social switchboard’: Think about how you can be holistic in your approach within an organisation as well as within ‘the big picture’.”

I can sense that Andrew could go on and on. He really has got so much to say, sharing from his valuable knowledge and insights and mentioning a very interesting tool called the “online personality insights demonstration“. It uses social data to draw a (psychological) profile of the influencers you are working with. By setting up a mirror to your brand, it tells you about your virtual profile. In doing so, it goes deep into the data (for instance, the words you use to express yourself on your blog) and looks beyond simple numbers and clicks in the analysis. Try SOCIAL.BZ/PERSONALITY to learn more!

“Social is the new production line for the knowledge age. Social businesses encourage networks of people to create business value through systems and culture. Both culture & people are very, very important. Be aware of what comes next: Unlock the knowledge potential around you.” (Andrew Grill, The Social Travel Summit).

Thank you so much, dear Andrew, for a most inspiring morning session at the #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit here in Hamburg!

STSHamburg Group Photo waking us up to new trends & networks: Photo courtesy of the dear organizing committee at the Social Travel Summit in Hamburg.

STSHamburg Group Photo waking us up to new trends & networks in the business of professional blogging: Photo courtesy by the dear organizing committee at the Social Travel Summit in Hamburg.

 

Pitching & Negotiating Successful Blogger Relations

Before I would like to go into more details concerning the summary of the Think Tank session of this year’s #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit, let me share the results from another interesting session on negotiating successful blogger relations with you. Hands-on knowledge from leading industry & travel blogger peers such as Catharina Fischer (German National Tourist Board), David Arcifa (MSC Cruises), Kash Batthacharya (Budget Traveller) or Abigail King (Inside The Travel Lab) have resulted in the following checklist for successful pitching & negotiations:

“When you are in the negotiating phase, remember that there is always a goal behind a goal. If you incur a problem, try fixing it in another way. The cliché win-win situation is really the only way a partnership works.” (Abigail King, The Social Travel Summit).

Speakers & participants gather in the pitching & negotiating successful blogger relations session ...

Speakers & participants gather in the pitching & negotiating successful blogger relations session …

 

... reminding us of some key values & conclusions not to be missed here.

… reminding us of some key values & conclusions not to be missed here.

 

A little later, I learn from dear Caspar Diederik (@StoryTravelers) that it is "all about emotions", of course ...

A little later, I learn from dear Caspar Diederik (@StoryTravelers) that it is “all about emotions” …

 

... as well as changing times in the (digital) age of storytelling.

… as well as changing times in the (digital) age of (professional) storytelling.

 

Do not miss watching Caspar Diederik (@StoryTravelers) amaaazing (yes! AMAAAZING!) travel video about Hamburg, filmed in a captivating visual narrative and guaranteed to make you feel emotional – and inspired. WOW. Thank you so much for your fascinating visual storytelling session, dear Caspar!

“Change is something that can be deadly slow – and quite dramatic at the same time.” Let’s hear about “massaging change”: Here are the 2015 Think Tank Results!

“Change …” Alastair McKenzie, whose wonderful words of wisdom I have quoted in the above headline, smiles. “Sometimes, I like to throw in the odd grenade into a stagnant discussion. Like: Do we still need PR at this time and age?”

🙂

Ahead of further details, the executive summary of the #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit Think Tank centres around the following three key issues:

COLLABORATION IS KEY. within departments of the company, with bloggers, with partners & brands - moving to merge.

COLLABORATION IS KEY: Within departments of the company, with bloggers, with partners & brands – the overall goal is “moving to merge”.

 

EDUCATION. measure cost vs value, make it relevant to a wider audience, stop just to talk among ourselves.

EDUCATION including vital points such as measuring cost vs. value, as well as relevance for a wider audience instead of only talking within industry borders.

 

CHANGE. transition and change management. In the past, you went from A to B. But now, B is changing constantly. ;) The question is even: Should we aim for reaching B? What about C? :) Education & training - "we are training people for jobs that do no longer, or will no longer , exist."

CHANGE: Transition and change management. “In the past, we went from A to B. But now, B is changing constantly! And: Should we even aim for reaching B? What about C?” Deep in discussion here at the Think Tank session of the #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit.

 

Money & Budgets: “Make knowledge your business”!

The structure of the Think Tank is such that each topic is being discussed by a good mix of industry, PR & professional travel bloggers, guided by a moderator encouraging all of our “multiple skill sets” to be put to good use so as to come up with fresh results under each of the three main Think Tank discussion topics. I am proud, and happy, to have been asked once again to be a part in this leading Think Tank committee, sharing what I deem important and worthwhile here.

The first topic, Money & Budgets, has yielded the following results and further food for thought:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Knowledge & Understanding: “At the very bottom, there is a huge thirst for more knowledge.”

Once again, the results from this session have yielded the following insights about a better understanding of each other’s evolving industries:

Thank you, dear Alastair, for an excellent overall moderation of this year's #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit Think Tank session.

Thank you once again, dear Alastair, for an excellent overall moderation of this year’s #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit Think Tank session.

 

People & Structures: “We are training people for jobs that do no longer, or will no longer, exist.”

In addressing the fundamental question here (“Is the industry set up to work with professional travel bloggers?”), I have added my 2 cents about “rather than just saying no, it is also up to us to make that change happen. Educating the industry brings an opportunity to move all of us towards new levels of thinking.” And: “If everything is going to be paid for in the future, it needs to be looked at as a business.”

Rather than saying a blogger’s value is “just more visibility”, it is about convincing people that through professional blogs, they can reach markets otherwise unattainable.

Thank you sooo much for such an interesting feedback and discussion here at the #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit! See you all again next year!

The #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit closes ...

The #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit closes …

 

... in a rather relaxed and laid-back atmosphere here at the Mercedes House in Hamburg ...

… in a rather relaxed and laid-back atmosphere here at the Mercedes House in Hamburg …

 

... celebrating with my dear old friends, such as Sarah Lee from LiveShareTravel.com ...

… celebrating with my dear old friends, such as Sarah Lee from LiveShareTravel.com …

 

... as well as indulging in the pleasure of meeting new ones, such as dear Caspar Diederik, for me one of the greatest actual videographers of all times.

… as well as indulging in the pleasure of meeting new ones, such as dear Caspar Diederik, for me one of the greatest actual videographers of all times. Always so refreshing, and inspiring, to find great people doing great things being tremendously … nice, open and sharing !!!

 

And finally, a HUGE word (and a toast!) of THANK YOU to my dear Janice, the mastermind behind the selection of speakers for the conference, its organization as well as now my partner for writing "The Creative Traveler's Handbook", my first ever book deal to be published through her prestigious Traveler's Handbook series ... sooo exciting. Thank you so much for all of your support, your vision and your encouragement dear Janice: It means a lot!

And finally, a HUGE word (and a toast!) of THANK YOU to my dear Janice, the mastermind behind the selection of speakers for the conference, its organization as well as now my partner for writing “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, my first ever book deal to be published through her prestigious Traveler’s Handbook series … sooo exciting. Thank you so much for all of your support, your vision and your encouragement dear Janice: It means a lot!

 

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
#STSHamburg Social Travel Summit: "Your blog is a business. Treat it as one."
Hamburg & Lüneburg suffused with the sweet scent of spring!

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