This weekend we were at Explore 2013 at the Royal Geographic Society (with IBG), the jumping off point for the explorers of tomorrow.
With over 90 leading field scientists and explorers giving inspiration, advice and top-notch contacts, Explore 2013 was an action-packed weekend of lectures, workshops and exhibits, all designed to help anyone planning an expedition, a conservation project or some field research. As you’d imagine, we heard a lot of amazing stories as well.
Want to share your story too?
If you’re planning any of the above, chances are you’ve got a great story already. Incredible though your destination may be, it’s your passion, your personality and soul that will bring it all to life. Whether you’re planning just to blog for friends and family, or to expose your adventure with a wider like-minded community, or are going all out to attract major sponsorship – it’s the story that matters. So don’t be shy. Share!
Your online storybook – a checklist
We’ve put together a few pointers to help create, publish and curate your adventure. Who knows where that might take you? It could open up a whole new world of possibilities, before you even dig out your passport…
1. WHAT CONTENT WORKS FOR YOU?
First, decide what’s achievable in terms of your communications.
You might be a writer, a photographer, data freak, video blogger, or a little bit of everything. Figure out what you do best, and focus on that. But don’t be afraid to experiment either; the most important thing is to enjoy doing this. It shouldn’t be a chore!
Consider how frequently you’ll want (or need) to post updates.
Depending where you’re headed, access might be limited – so that might help to make your decision early. What coverage can you expect – and is your technology up to the job?
Think about your style.
You might be short and sweet – perhaps Twitter will do – or maybe you’ll unleash your hidden Hemingway.
Nothing beats preparation.
Building your online presence won’t happen overnight. The work starts now, not when you’re about to leave. Get some content ready in advance, and release it right up to departure date.
2. HOW WILL YOU CONNECT?
Website or Blog?
In many cases, your website (or blog) will be the hub for all of your comms. A dedicated, branded site, with links to and from your social feeds, probably beats a social-media-only approach. Aim to build your own home on the web, independent of what social media is popular at the moment. Blogger, Tumbler, Squarespace are all simple website solutions, but WordPress is probably the best choice for showing off multimedia content. With 1-in-5 of all sites now on WordPress it’s super-reliable, constantly updated and simple to use. It also comes with a range of mobile apps that will let you update easily on the move. And it’s all free, too.
If you’re just planning to ‘micro-blog’, Twitter or Facebook might be all you need. See what lists and hashtags are out there on Twitter, and get Liking the right Facebook pages. But remember that just because you use Twitter your audience or peers might prefer Facebook. Don’t close yourself off to other routes.
A bit of everything? Bring it all together
It’s possible using apps and plugins to link your social media accounts and even automatically schedule posts on many platforms. We’d say set up some dummy accounts and see what works for you; literally get out into the field (or garden) and test them on the move. Most of this is free, the only cost is a bit of time.
And don’t forget The Real World!
Keep going to fantastic events like Explore! Nothing beats meeting brilliant people.
3. WHO’S YOUR COMMUNITY?
Get into the network of shared interests – and cultivate connections
Share your adventure plans with like-minded people; those who’ve done it before or are doing it now. Understand what’s already there and reference what’s gone before. Read up.
Give and you will receive
Get noticed. Comment positively on other expedition blogs – and attract their readers with a link back to yours. If it’s your specialist subject, don’t be afraid to go for it, even if it’s only opinion.
Curate, interact – and give readers a voice too
The best sites are not a read-only experience – open up your site to comments too. Allow your audience to build and improve your story. Blog comments can be a win-win. Readers get more content, sites get more engagement, and the commenter gets more authority and shares. Great stories can become amazing conversations!
Get listing and tagging
Use hashtags in your social media and on-site. Make use of existing Twitter lists in from your community group – of course – but make sure you create your own too. Mark them as public for extra impact (maybe add a touch of flattery by calling them “Must Follow Explorers”). When you add someone, they’re bound to notice, and may return the compliment.
Just go and do it !
Stay open to pleasant surprises. Your story is probably far more interesting that you ever imagined! And if you’d like to chat to us about how we could support your next adventure, say hello here.