The internet is the world’s largest “blank page”—and there may be nothing scarier than having to create something from scratch. Whether it’s a video or a photo essay, a Facebook post or a blog article, having to come up with fresh, original content week after week can feel super stressful—especially if you’re more comfortable hanging from a zipline over a cliff than you are working at a computer.

But be not afraid! With these five simple guidelines, you can be producing like the pros, creating killer online content that gets seen, read and shared—and brings tons of new customers to your outdoor adventure brand.

Choose the Right Topic for Your Adventure-Seeking Audience

You might feel like every topic you can think of has been done before. But that’s OK. Your topic doesn’t have to be original, and it doesn’t have to be the first time anyone has written about West Coast kayaking or Colorado mountain biking or skiing in Whistler. So long as you share your own perspective on the region, your own specific expertise, your own personal experiences, you’ll be adding your unique spin, and creating something new.

So start by thinking about your audience. Put yourself in the head of someone who might be interested in taking an adventure with you, and ask yourself questions these questions:

  • What type of content would help them have a better trip?
  • What would they find intriguing?
  • What questions or problems do they have that you could solve?

Now, start making a list of the things that come to your mind: the places they’re dreaming of, the gear they want, the fears they have. That list is now the start of your idea bank.

Finally, when you’re ready to draw on one of the subjects you’ve created, remember to narrow the concept down as tightly as you can.  Find the purpose of your story and tie it into the article. Keep it clear and concise. Doing so will not only differentiate your story and keep it focused, it can also help you expand every one of the ideas on your list into a dozen new angles for future posts.

Grab Their Attention with Your Headline

Here’s an eye-opening statistic: typically, visitors will only read about 20 percent of the content in your web story. And 80 percent of what they do read is “above the fold”—meaning, the first part of what they see.

While that may be a bit frustrating to think about after you’ve put so much work into your post, it does go to show you just how crucial it is to craft a great headline that people will react to. Even if that’s all they react to. Your headline and your first few sentences (or the first few seconds of your video) are going to be what they notice, remember and share, even if it’s the only part of it they spent the time to read or watch.

All this to say that your headlines should never be an afterthought. Since your title is what’s getting seen the most, it’s worth spending a little extra time on it. Give away enough of your point to capture interest, but conceal enough to tickle their curiosity. A little excitement and mystery can go a long way: “I Took the Wrong Trail—and Found a Secret Wonderland” piques the interest a little bit more than “A Hike to a Waterfall.”

Finally, try to stick to ten words or less. And if you’re stuck for ideas, here’s an excellent resource

Be Useful to Your Audience

Always make sure your online content falls into at least one of these three categories:

  • Inspirational
  • Educational
  • Entertaining

No one likes being given the hard sell—and this is especially true if your reader hasn’t built a trusting relationship with you, or if they don’t even know who you are at all. People spend time online to learn, to have fun and to connect with others—particularly on social media, but even when they’re just browsing the web for great stories and information about the outdoors.

Give your audience that connection, that entertainment, that information, and you’ll start building a relationship with them. And once you have that relationship, it’s you they’ll think about when they’re ready to book a tour and get outside. Bombard them right off the bat with pushy sales tactics, and you’ll drive most of them away.

Want to know more? Click here for a primer on turning fans into customers with great content themes.

Keep It Tight and Tidy with the 3×3 Rule

Everyone who spends any time online is already overloaded with information and content. The best way to keep your reader or viewer focused and hold their attention throughout your story is to stick to the rule of 3×3: offer three main points, each supported by three pieces of information.

Here’s an outline of how that might work for a story about travelling alone:

Point 1: It’s safer than you think

  1. You travel alone around your own city, why not in City X?
  2. People in City X are helpful
  3. Our tours are well planned and secure

Point 2: You will make friends

  1. You’ll be more open to meeting new people
  2. There are lots of very social activities to do
  3. The people on our tours are friendly and outgoing

Point 3: Being intrepid reaps rewards

  1. You’ll create memories and friends to last a lifetime
  2. You’ll expand your mind and your world
  3. You’ll impress the heck out of people back home

Any more than three main points and your audience will get lost, and forget most or all of what you’ve said. Make it sharp, to the point and engaging.

Wrap It Up for Your Reader

The conclusion is the moment of fulfillment that answers all the questions you presented to your reader throughout your content. Make sure you stick to your message—don’t let your content get muddled for the sake of a longer post. Wrap up your main points neatly, and leave them feeling like they spent their time well.

Over to You

Remember: these five guidelines aren’t just for blog posts—no matter how you want to tell your stories online, you’ll draw in more people and keep their attention longer by giving them an interesting topic, hooking them in with a great title and opening, following the 3×3 rule, and wrapping it up neatly and efficiently. Leave them feeling satisfied and inspired, and the next time they want to get outside and make their own stories, they’ll think of you.

Want to talk more about how you can create killer online content for your outdoor adventure brand? Just get in touch!

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Marie Hunter
Marie HunterPresident & Chief Adventurer
2018-07-30T10:30:03+00:00 January 31st, 2018|