Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bravo Farewell Travels: Select Escapes

As my Generation X life deepens into my 30's, I plan my wedding where I'll be a bride at 35, and make plans to travel in my mature years instead of attempting to raise a family starting in my 40's (don't judge - I'm helping to promote a sustainable population). I am increasingly realizing the stars are aligning very nicely with my plans and the travel resources at my fingertips. The Mitch and I can't wait to begin our traveling days with our month long wedding tour of England and we both can't wait to finally see the world, not just look at it in picture books.

While picture books have planted the seeds, independent travel websites are foraging the new way into thoughtful and exploratory travel. Created by some of the world's best travel writers, the fall of traditional media has awakened an entrepreneurial spirit of a solid collection of travelers who previously made a living as travel writers.

Some of my favorite people, work, and interactions in my dozened career as a public relations professional in Vermont has been with a wonderful group of travel writers I have worked with in various capacities throughout the years and I absolutely love how I am now seeing them publishing their own terrific websites. What's even better is I am bookmarking these sites to be my most cherished resources when my traveling days begin - which is not too far in the future.

Suggestions to other Generation X travelers and globetrotters all around - find yourselves some favorite travel writers and follow them, connect with them - there is no better way to learn than from an honest third party endorser who has been there and has the intellect to talk about places, experiences, and cultures you have yet to see.

I previously wrote about Steve Jermanok's Active Travels and you can read my blog post here. And now I will writer about another favorite travel writer...

Susan Farewell has been a wonderful media contact for a once green PR chickadee and helped me understand how public relations can actually work and I will forever be grateful. I look forward to evolving media relationships as the lines of PR and journalism and merged into something very new as social media continues to power its way through the savvy, quick, and unforgiving yet compassionate consumer.

Susan's online travel magazine - elegantly entitled Farewell Travels: Select Escapes is a beautiful display of her work and skill at bringing you deep within the experience she is sharing. From romance to culinary, health to adventure, Select Escapes is easy to navigate, simple in design, yet comprehensive in information - exactly what a website should do yet it is uniquely Susan abound with friendliness, ease, and solid style. The added bonus of some exceptional video work makes this a website where you forget you are staring at a computer screen.

While over a cup of tea with a travel writer a few years ago, I mentioned The Mitch's and I's England wedding tour dream before we were even engaged and was told to rent a canal boat. And when I clicked under the romance tab on Susan's Select Escapes website - the first story I see is spending a week on a canal boat in France. In all my research I have done, the only two times a canal boat was mentioned was by travel writers - they are the best resources for travel, no questions asked. Forget those lengthy websites that weaken your eyesight and find yourself a few solid ones where you can actually - travel.

Worthwhile Travel Experiences and Destinations - www.farewelltravels.com
Authentic Active and Adventure Travel - www.activetravels.com
Organized Cultural Tours for Discerning Travelers - www.culturalcrossroads.com
Family Activities, Events, and Attractions in Northern Vermont - www.findandgoseek.net

Monday, November 16, 2009

Do's & Don'ts of Social Media

Much of what I have been teaching and training clients in as well as sharing with attendees at presentations can now be seen in so many business building resources. I was just glancing through the latest Business Vision magazine produced by Key Bank for small business and entrepreneur clients. It is identical to statements I have been making and have written about previously in this blog. Now you can see this information in language written directly from one of the country's most respected financial institutions for small business owners:

DO observe and read other social media sites.
This is what I mean by engaging - learn by examples of how others are doing it successfully.

DON'T blatantly promote your company on a social media site. At least 90% of your posts should be relevant to the conversation.
So all the idiots that post ridiculous spam comments on my blogs - knock it off! To those who actually comment on the post - keep it up!

DO use search engine optimization (SEO) to increase the traffic to your blog or website. SEO tools help you find keywords your prospects are using in search engines. Google offers a free SEO tool, and how-yo articles.
Don't worry about the expensive design updates to your website - it's most important you ask a web designer how they can market the website for you. For the short term, talk to a web marketer about optimizing your site. Two Vermont SEO marketers I suggest are Off the Page Creations and Performance Web Solutions.

DON'T give up. It takes time to build your site. Staying engaged in the social media scene increases your chances of opening doors to new opportunities.
In Rachel Carter PR words - "Chill." When you move to a new town, it takes time to make friends and build relationships. The same is true for social media because while it is online, it is also the most natural way of connecting since the old school livelihoods of neighborhoods. So be real and make some new friends!

Friday, November 6, 2009

5 Reasons Corporations are Failing at Social Media

I came across a fantastic blog post a few weeks ago and felt I needed to share it with my readings. Written by Amy Mengel from her blog Mengel Musings, the post - 5 Reasons Corporations are Failing at Social Media - conveys my thoughts exactly and exemplifies a lot of what I have been talking about at recent presentations.

Kudos Amy - always great to see other PR/social media peeps out there with similar philosophies and thanks for the great information!