In the last few months, I've spent a lot of time talking with small to medium size outdoor brands about their digital marketing. It seems there are a lot of companies out there trying to figure out where to spend their time and marketing dollars. They understand that customer experience is a great tool to tell their brand's story but are having a difficult time executing. They have tried social media, blogging, PPC and pretty much everything else. I came across a lot of the same questions, "How do I get more followers?" or "How do I get people to engage with my posts?" The answer is great content. Think about your social media habits, what posts you 'Like,' what posts you 'share,' which blogs inspire you and which brands are doing it well. I'd be willing to bet it all comes back to content. That content can be anything from images, to videos to blogs. The easiest of these to produce is a really good blog. To help you get past the writers block and get your creative juices flowing, here are a few blog ideas to get you going.
1. Adventure Stories
Share a tale about a fun adventure you have had. It doesn't have to directly talk about your product as long as it is promoting an activity that your product is used for.
2. Product Feature
I would avoid constantly blogging about your products, but one out of ten blogs could be a feature about a specific product and what makes it great.
3. Athlete or Ambassador Q&A
Do you know people who love your products? Ask them a few questions, get their thoughts and let them share their passion for the outdoors and your brand.
4. Photo Collection
A picture is worth a thousand words and if you can capture a collection of images that represent your brand and the outdoors, it can be great content that people will engage with.
5. Outdoor Advocacy
I don't know too many outdoor companies that don't love the outdoors. Many have attached themselves to a cause that promotes and protects the outdoors. If you have a similar cause, this is a great way to share your company values.
6. Condition Updates
This may not apply to all outdoor companies but certainly the skiing, fishing, ice climbing, hunting, or whitewater sports brands could share some knowledge that they are hearing from those out in the field. Any knowledge that you can share to promote your individual outdoor activity the better.
7. Historical Stories
The great thing about the community of outdoor enthusiast is that we appreciate those who have come before us. They blazed the trail or pushed themselves to the limits. Tell those stories. People who are passionate about that activity will appreciate what the people who came before them accomplished.
8. Personal Stories
Thank back to how you got involved in a sport, or a time that had a big impact on your life while you were in the outdoors. We've all had those moments. This can be a great way to connect your brand on a personal level.
9. Staff Profiles
Are your employees rock stars or are they just great people that epitomize your brand? Do a quick Q&A with them and let them share why they love your brand and your products.
10. Location Profiles
The great thing about the outdoors is that each location you go is a little different. Talk about different areas around the country to rock climb or ski or hunt. Outdoor recreational tourism has become huge and you should always want to inspire people to get out and explore new areas.
11. Company Updates
These days people tend to identify with brands that share similar values and like to keep up on what's going on. Provide frequent updates on your company. Maybe you found a distribution channel in a new region or maybe you've got big plans to expand your facilities. Share that information.
12. Share Your Culture
What does your brand do differently or what do you do that is fun? Take some photos of your team at work or during a team building activity. Maybe you guys all go out fishing together or maybe it is a weekly hike. Maybe you have a regular event allows you to give back to the community. All of these help make your brand unique and help tell the story of your company.
Ever written down your favorite backpacking spots or your favorite ski resorts in North America? Create some lists and put your spin on it. This type of content is great on social media and can get a lot of engagement. Your lists could be just about anything, locations, tips, heck even best micro brews, as long as it promotes your brand's culture or sport.
14. Event Profiles
Does your company sponsor any events or maybe just attend an event? Tell people about that event, what you like about the event, tips that will help people attend the event or what to expect. This could be a good way to get some social engagement by the people organizing or attending the event.
15. Founder's Story
Every business has a story about how it got started. Maybe it was an experience or a great idea that led to the start of the company. People who follow your brand will appreciate learning about the beginning. Post the blog on a Thursday and use it as your "Throwback Thursday" (#tbt) post to increase your engagement.
As you can see, storytelling has become a big part of marketing. People connect with stories much more than an advertisement. A story will resonate with them and have a longer lasting impact than a magazine ad or a pay-per-click ad. Your blog can be a primary source of your social media strategy too. Creating attention grabbing titles will help increase your click throughs. But don't get intimidated that you have to produce a novel with every blog. You don't have to hit a home run with every swing. You can score a lot of runs with singles and doubles as long as you can be consistent. I would suggest putting together a content calendar with topics and titles to help you layout a strategy. This will help hold you accountable for producing the content in a timely manner. And at the end of the day, have fun with it. If you are enjoying sharing your stories, knowledge, and ideas people will pick up on that and it will be far more engaging.