September 2009 – Welcome to Tourism Currents

A two-rocket launch (courtesy jurvetson at Flickr CC)At long last, it is September 2009 and we’re ready to launch our online learning community, Tourism Currents.

Sheila wants you to know that this is all Becky’s fault….

Back in May 2009 during the SOBCon “Successful Online Business” conference in Chicago, Becky and Sheila sat down during a session break and began drawing pictures.

Yep, like the 4th grade or something. Circles and arrows, though, so it looked a little better than stick men.

We were trying to figure out what we knew a lot about that we could teach others.

One of the circles was travel. One was tourism and economic development. One was social media. We drew intersecting lines through all of that and a new, big circle in the middle that we called The Intersection.

That intersection of our knowledge grew into Tourism Currents.

On this site, we want to share everything we know about using the tools of the social Web specifically for destination marketing.  As thought leader Clay Shirky so wisely pointed out, our modern problem is not information overload, it is filter failure.

Becky and Sheila want to help filter the social media “noise” and bring you helpful Web communications information that you can really use as a tourism professional.

We’ll be sharing what we don’t know yet, as well —  social media moves fast,   so we’re always “in the schoolhouse” online, to make sure that you get the best breaking news and up-to-date training.

Thanks for your early support of and interest in our membership site.

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How Do The Lessons Work Each Month?

Each month, we will cover a new lesson topic in depth, but we will spread out the release of the materials across the month to give you more time to absorb them, think about the information and ask pertinent questions in the Tourism Currents Member Forum.

The first week of the month, we’ll release our newsletter, then in Week Two paid members will see a set of lesson pages (in blog post format, often with video, photos and/or audio embedded in the post.)

In Week Three we’ll post that month’s exclusive video interview with an expert in social media and/or tourism, and finally in Week Four you’ll get a takeaway/checklist document to help you and your organization to focus and move forward.

Also in Week Four, members at the “Regular” and “1 to 1” levels will be able to participate in a live video Q&A session with Sheila and Becky, focused mostly on specifics for lesson of the month. This is perfect for ensuring complete clarity and the latest insights on each topic area.

We’ll throw in one or more bonus items each month as well, just to keep your head buzzing.

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September 2009 – The Intro Lesson

This month, we’re getting everyone started with a “big picture” overview of social media for tourism – background information on blogging, Twitter, Facebook etc. including examples of tourism organizations that are using each tool right now.

Paid members can access this three-part lesson right now on the Intro Lesson page, and in next week they’ll also see video interviews featuring two great communications folks who use social media very effectively for the City of Round Rock, Texas  –  Will Hampton (the city’s Communications Director) and his tech guru and fellow visionary Brooks Bennett.

Checklists and the live video Q&A with Becky and Sheila will go on the site in the last week of September.

Meantime, there will be plenty of discussion on the Member Forum.

In October we’ll cover Lesson One – How to Listen. Are they talking about your destination or attraction out there in the blogosphere or on Twitter? We’ll show you how to find out, starting October 1st.

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See us in person!

  • September 16, 2009 – Sheila will speak about reaching out to travel writers and travel bloggers at the Texas Leadership Institute one-day seminar The Tourism Equation: How Tourism Can Strengthen Your Local Economy, in Bastrop, TX at the LCRA Riverside Conference Center.
  • October 27, 2009 – Becky and Sheila will hold a bargain three-hour workshop hosted by Red Carpet Country tourism in Alva, Oklahoma. If you’re anywhere nearby, it will be well worth the drive.

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September 2009 Tip of the Month

Thinking about a blog? Use an editorial calendar.

If you think that a blog is a good way to connect with your visitors and you’re ready for the time and energy commitment (posting 2-3 times per week and keeping at it for at least 4-6 months before you really see traction and traffic, plus engaging with readers in the comments) then we recommend that you draw up an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar is simply a schedule of what you’d like to post on your blog, on which day.   You’ll find that if you sketch out a rough outline of what you’d like to write about for the first three weeks, you’ll begin to get a clearer picture of how to structure the blog’s categories and focus areas.

Zoom in on the smaller, unique events and attractions that don’t qualify for a spot on your Web site front page, but which are compelling for visitors.

Think about niches: family, disabled, seniors, sports enthusiasts, foodies. What would they like to read about?  Can you mix up your content by adding video, some audio clips and lots of photos?

It’s okay to recycle some of your press release topics, but personalize the delivery and lose any boilerplate corporate-speak. Make sure your posts have an engaging and conversational tone, link generously and invite comments.

Don’t force readers through some sort of registration to comment, either.  Make it easy for them; comment moderation on your end will keep out the inappropriate spammers.

For more help, Sheila wrote How to Build a Blog that Draws a Crowd, for the Bulldog Solutions Marketing Watchdog Journal.

Here are some blogs, each with a different tone and style, by four different tourism-related organizations:

  • Dawn on the Amazon Captain’s Blog – by a private tourism company that does Amazon cruises

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Bonus Material for September

1)  Tourism “Tweeps” or “Tweeple” to follow on Twitter:

2)  Three tourism-related LinkedIn Groups that you may want to join:

3)  Read this site to better understand how to write and create content for the Web:

4)  Upload your destination-related photos to our Tourism Currents Flickr Group Pool!

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If you found this newsletter helpful, go here to learn more about our online course and here to sign up to get the newsletter by email. Thanks!

Commenting area

  1. It’s two years later and we’re still at it, so Happy Birthday to US! 🙂

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