How to work with bloggers, influencers to boost visibility - SNEWS

At the Adventure Travel Trade Association's AdventureELEVATE conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, last month, we got a primer on how to leverage publicity with influencers who have big followings.

Rachael Herrscher, CEO of Social Boost who also runs the site Today's Mama, is an expert on leveraging SEO (search engine optimization) and influencers' social media followings to boost your own brand.

At ELEVATE, she said the first mistake people often make is treating bloggers like regular media. Bloggers make their money off of web traffic, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts, so you need to speak that language, she says. Think about what you're selling, like trips, gear, apparel, lodging, or transportation, and other businesses you can partner with to create a well-rounded experience. That's your "currency," as it's something you already have that you don't have to spend extra money on. If you've got an empty spot on a guided trip, for example, you might as well bring a blogger with you who can write about experience and provide you with thousands of dollars worth of exposure for little to no cost.

We caught up with Herrscher after ELEVATE to pick her brain about ways specialty outdoor retail shops can boost their own rankings on Google using SEO to bring more business to their doorsteps. Here are her suggestions.

1. Create packing lists for nearby adventures, and post them on your blog or website.

Think about the most popular destinations near you, or destinations where many of your customers regularly visit. What do you sell that they'd need for that trip? Packing lists--like Today's Mama's guide to packing for Iceland, and travel blogger Jackie Nourse's ever-popular guide on the Budget-Minded Traveler to packing for a full year with just carry-on luggage--rank well in search results. People are always looking for advice and trying to make sure they haven't forgotten anything major. Think about it: You've probably Googled "How to pack for [insert vacation here]" more than once yourself.

If you're close to a big destination, like an expensive ski resort or other outdoor attraction, you might try publishing an "In case you forgot..." list, Herrscher suggests. Instead of paying top dollar for hand warmers, ski goggles, gloves, or wool socks at the resort, potential customers can file right into your shop for reasonably-priced goods just a few minutes down the road.

2. "Piggyback as much as possible." Reach out to your local tourism board and ask to contribute to the next press trip.

Tourism boards, no matter how small the destination, are always working with media, bloggers, and influencers. The goal is to capitalize on big social media and web followings to bring more tourists. The idea is simple enough, but it often hinges upon collaboration with a large number of partners. For example, the tourism board may cover the cost of bloggers' transportation, and may work with a local bed and breakfast to provide lodging, a restaurant to cater a nice dinner, and a local outfitter to run a trip. "Raise your hand to your local travel board," Herrscher says. "Say, 'I’m raising my hand, I’m available to you. If you’re hosting influencers, here’s the stuff I can make available, and here’s how many times I can do it in the course of a year.'” You could offer to host an event at your store, or to provide gear or apparel that bloggers could wear in social media posts during the trip.

3. Google terms you want to rank for, and reach out to sites who are already ranking.

If a blogger is ranking for a packing list near you, reach out. Ask them to link to your shop's site in their post, and offer a discount for readers or cash for the blogger in exchange. Many bloggers might gladly take $100 to include a link in an old post that's still performing well in search rankings, Herrscher says.

4. Figure out what your "currency" is, and use it to facilitate coverage of your store or brand at little or no cost to you.

Did you order too many backpacks this season, or do you have an event to which you can offer free admission, like a race, class, or rafting or climbing excursion? Reach out to bloggers whose presence, and coverage, this time around might lead to bigger audiences next year.

5. "Social media is hungry." Offer bloggers free ways to feed their channels.

Today's Mama posts on social media 20 times a day, Herrscher said, which involves continuously recycling content until it can't be recycled any longer. So, offer your own content to bloggers to share on their channels. Got a great video from an event of interest to a wider audience? Offer up the video file for them to embed on their channels. If you've got a few extra bucks to spare, you could also offer to pay for them to boost that content through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, which will result in even more reach.


Liz Carlson, Young Adventuress

The Young Adventuress explains influencing

Liz Carlson grew up in Virginia, but the millions of annual visitors to her blog, Young Adventuress, know her better for her life in New Zealand and her travels around the world. Since she started the blog in 2010, Carlson has become a powerful influencer. She knows from years of more


The C-Spot | ATTA President Shannon Stowell

Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), doesn’t just know how to beat up gear on adventures all over the planet. He knows how to sell it, too. Before becoming president of ATTA in 2004, Stowell co-founded, an online outdoor and more

Rafting in Tuscany

Buyers: Apply now for an all-expenses-paid trip to Tuscany

Everyone knows you can eat like a king in Tuscany, Italy, and drink fine wine while gazing at some of the world's most famous art. But did you also know you could mountain bike in a marble quarry there, or raft through a canyon? If your shop runs trips and you're looking for a more

Copper Cow Coffee

Wake up with SNEWS at Outdoor Retailer

Every time Outdoor Retailer rolls around, we get countless emails from incredible people from awesome brands who want to catch up and show us what's new. More often than not, we have to pass up the amazing events you're hosting because we're tucked away in an undisclosed location more


This 22-year old is a retail Shop Star

Sam D’Aoust started working at Escape Route in British Columbia when he was 17. He started out with a simple enough task, just watching the doors during the holiday shopping season. It was meant to be a seasonal gig. But as the weeks went on, he started selling jackets. It more

Neptune Mountaineering

Neptune Mountaineering has worked out rent agreement, is here to stay

Neptune Mountaineering has been a Boulder, Colo., institution for decades, so it’s no surprise that the outdoor community here was briefly panicked after the local newspaper published a story saying that the specialty outdoor retail shop was facing an eviction notice. “Neptune more

REI Instagram

5 outdoor retail shop Instagram feeds you should follow

My name is Hannah and I’m addicted to Instagram. Lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) for me, my internship with SNEWS is supporting my addiction with this assignment: finding the most inspiring retailer shop Instagram feeds. As a millennial and outdoor newbie on more

Tapping into adventure travel: tips for outdoor retailers from ATTA President Shannon Stowell

In the fall, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) in conjunction with the George Washington University released its 2013 market study, the Adventure Travel Trends Report. It shows the $263 billion adventure market has grown 63 percent since 2009. Tapping into that revenue more


What if you could climb the Swiss Alps in a rock gym in Boulder?

It's a problem many climbers face: They want to scale mountains and walls in far-off countries, but can't get there, or want to train for a specific route in advance of the climb. Now, there's a solution. Dartmouth assistant professor Emily Whiting and postdoctoral scholar more