The 5 Things I learned from Lunch with Stephen Oddo

I was almost hesitant to agree to lunch with Stephen Oddo, as he is actually a few months younger than my oldest son. I received very impressive recommendations though from both my mentors Where in the World is Lola and Leah Travels and decided what the heck? Stephen is the co-founder of Walks of Italy and its CTO and Marketing Director currently.

What could I lose, except a lack of communication, from our age gap and maybe a slice of ego, since he was less than half my age! We met and I felt very comfortable with him immediately. He promptly started relaying advice, inquiring what areas I needed help in and asked me what I was trying to accomplish! It was almost an overload, as this young man moves at light speed and his genius of a mind, operates at warp speed!
#1 “Move your blog to WordPress yesterday” and get rid of that crappy platform you are using now! (I actually have been working on converting, but am just slow these days with my activities–I think it is an age thing maybe! Ha!).
-Has more flexibility
-Plug-Ins are free (I love free!)
-Pingbacks are a given and do not have to be written in the HTML language like your existing format
-SEO capabilities are praised by Google’s Web Spam Team
-Multilingual for better Global reach
#2 Define your NICHE. What is it you want to write about and what is it you like? Well…I like travel and food and would like to build my traffic sufficiently enough to have ad income.
-Have you made contact with DMO’s (Destination Marketing Organizations)
-Have you made contact with PR people in hotel chains and other related TRAVEL networks
-Have you made contact with local, province/area/state and country TOURISM boards
-Publish daily whether just photos, blogs or recipes
-Is your niche going to be luxury, middle of the road or lean more towards budget travel
#3 Collaborate with others in your niche.
-Make connections with other Boomers
-Publish photos
-Publish recipes
-Ask questions when you post across social media platforms (you will receive a great deal more interaction)
-Contact local area bloggers and learn from them. Schedule lunches, drinks, etc and ask questions at every get together
#4 Go to #TBEX and maximize your time.
-Network your rear end off
-Putting a face with a blog or platform is so valuable
-Do “Speed Dating” and ensure you have your message defined for the speed dates
-Make sure you have data that identifies what age groups are following you, to offer PR speed dates
-Give out business cards as much as you can (“Your cards have your links and you might be surprised how many have no links, including their websites”)
#5 Take advantage of the Baby Boomer group you are a member of and channel it to your benefit.
-Voice Boomer attitude and ensure Travel associations are aware that the Nomadic Texan is growing in this area and my goal is the be THE authority in the Boomer generation
-Contact travel discount sites (Expedia, Kayak, Priceline, etc) and establish a relationship. Boomers use these platforms to book trips, etc
-Understand the SEO needs of your age group and consider hiring an SEO Service provider to assist you.
-Learn the keywords and phrases associated with Baby Boomers and what will drive them to your site. For instance, there can be a high chance that your website could be large and can be associated with highly competitive keywords. In such cases, you may need to conduct a large-scale seo campaign that can improve the rankings of the site.
-Explore areas that Boomers will use that are NOT frequented by existing bloggers and take advantage of these opportunities
I thoroughly enjoyed my brief visit with Stephen and would have sat for the entire afternoon if time would have permitted. He is obviously a very busy man and his phone was continually alerting him of new items. I thanked him genuinely and he stated we would have to get together more often, when he visits Austin. I said “Duh” you got a deal. Stephen is a brilliant young man with extraordinary thoughts and philosophies. I am lucky we connected and he will be invaluable to me moving forward. Thank you dear friend and Safe Travels!

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9 responses to “The 5 Things I learned from Lunch with Stephen Oddo”

  1. Jack Rosenberry says:

    As we are of the same age and both with strong Mkt & sales backgrounds it is safe to say we both were aggressive maybe even tenasous as we worked, made presentations, etc. of the products & concepts we knew so well. Possibly, we were the Tigers and enjoyed a bit of those who would grab hold of the tail and ride along gleening as they held on.
    As I read about Mr. Oddo and your lunch it sounded as if He is now the Tiger and now it is us who hold onto the tail of the younger; listening, learning and so desiring of what they now have.

    A good read; a good reminder of what to do and now how to do it. I think you have the blueprint along with the knowledge that it can be done. I can’t wait to see how the next chapters take hold. What a ride this will be.

    You are too kind and remind me of Ol’ Faithful at Yellowstone. Just when you least expect feedback or are having a bad day you “erupt” and give me a boost. You do not realize how valuable your comments and following are to me! Safe Travels my friend.
  3. rsekiguchi says:

    How wonderful to have the help of Stephen!
    He seems to have a wealth of information for your blog. (although I feel you are doing a great job)
    So glad you are still sharing your food pictures, as I thoroughly enjoy this as I am a foodie too! Best travels!!

    Thank you for the kind words. Even though he is “Half my Age”, yes he is a valuable asset. He has been in the business for 5 years and has a reputation as an elite individual. I am fortunate he operates his software office for “Walks of Italy” from Austin. Don’t worry, I will keep posting my Foodie photos as long as I can eat! Ha! Thanks for your support.
  5. Always good to get some good advice from an expert. I think you have already done a good job following some of these tips even before you met him.

  6. Stephen is great! Had brunch with him back in November and saw him again for the NY Times Travel Show. Great advice! 🙂

    I appeciate your positive reinforcement and continued support! I may have to come up there and go fishing with you and down a few brewskis! Thanks mi amigo!
    I appeciate your comment and taking the time to read my blog. Very thoughtful of you. He is an amazing fellow!
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Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas