Welcome to the second installment of Summer Camp Marketing 101! In our last post, we talked about how blogging can help get your summer camp in front of prospective families, employees, and donors. Today’s installment will focus on where to find inspiration for your summer camp’s blog posts.
(Did you miss the first post in the series? Go back and read it now—I promise this post will still be here when you get back.)
Write the Stories Your Audience Wants to Read
Ask any writer what the hardest part of their job is and 9 out of 10 of them will tell you it’s coming up with ideas. Coming up with topics for your blog posts, especially if you’re posting with any kind of frequency, will be a challenge. The big thing to remember is to keep it relevant. Writing for the sake of writing and putting out content your audience doesn’t care about isn’t going to do you any favors and ultimately is a waste of your time.
Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 places you can find inspiration for relevant blog post topics your audience is dying to read about.
Top 5 Places to Find Summer Camp Blog Post Inspiration
1. The Comments Section
The comments section isn’t just for trolls—it’s a treasure trove of potential blog posts just waiting to be discovered!
Think about it… who comments on your Facebook and Instagram posts, or your existing blog posts if you already have them?
It’s probably not random people. It’s people who have already liked and followed you on those various platforms. And if they’ve liked and followed you, that means they’re interested in who you are and what you do.
Look back over the past year of comments and DMs you’ve received on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and your blog. What common threads can you find? Is there anything that keeps coming up again and again? Use your blog to answer these questions.
Flooded with questions from parents of first-time campers? Write a blog post about “The 10 Things Every Parent Should Know Before Sending Their Kid to Camp” or “The Ultimate Summer Camp Packing List”. Have a cool tradition that seems to have piqued some interest? Write a post about “A Brief History of Clothes Pin Tag at Camp Anawanna”.
You get the picture.
These are already-made-for-you topics are guaranteed to be a hit. Why? Because your audience has already expressed an interest in them!
2. Your Customer Service Team
Think about the people in your organization who are the first point-of-contact for various segments of your audience. I’m talking about the person who fields phone calls from prospective families. The person who screens your job applicants. The person who develops relationships with donors. Have a conversation with those people and find out what questions, concerns, or misconceptions they run into the most. Then use your blog to clarify those points.
If donors want to know how their money helps advance your mission, you could do a series of blog posts highlighting case studies of campers who received camps scholarships. If job applicants want to know more about what working at camp is like, write a post about “A Day in the Life of a Camp Northstar Counselor” or “5 Things You Need to Know Before Applying to Work at Camp Crystal Lake”.
Again, you know these topics are things your audience wants to read about because they’ve already expressed an interest in them.
3. Ask Your Audience
Who knows what your audience wants to read about better than your audience themselves? Use your current network—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, your email newsletter—and ask something like “What’s your favorite camp tradition”, “If you could ask _____ any question, what would it be?”, or “If you could only tell someone one thing about camp, what would it be”. Use those answers as inspiration for your blog posts.
4. Local, National, and International News
Another way to make sure your posts are relevant? Write about what’s trending. News stories about the camp industry, your specific niche, and legislation or events that will impact your camp are opportunities to write posts your audience cares about. If there are no big, shiny news stories to write about, do a little digging. Quora, Google Trends, Twitter Search, and Reddit’s homepage are tools you can use to find out what people are asking questions about and searching for right now.
5. Other Blogs
The next place to look for inspiration—other blogs. Now, just so we’re clear, I’m not telling you to steal blog posts from other camps. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you blog. If there are posts that are working well for others AND the subject matter would be relevant to your audience, there’s no reason you shouldn’t write your own post on the same topic.
So how does that work? First, put together a list of blogs you like. These could be blogs about the camping industry, your specific niche, youth development or education, or, yes, even other camp’s blogs. I like Feedly for keeping the blogs I follow organized. The free version lets you follow up to 100 blogs, which is more than enough. Log in once a day, or once every few days, and scroll through. See what people are writing about, what’s getting a lot of comments, and draw inspiration from there.
6. BONUS: Talk About Yourself
Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself. After all, your audience follows you because they want to know what you’re up to. Got a fundraiser coming up? Blog about it! Sending your staff to a conference? Blog about it! Adding a new element to your challenge course? Blog about it! You get the point.
As you can see, inspiration for timely, relevant blog posts your audience wants to read is all around you—you just have to know where to look! Hopefully I’ve given you enough here to get you started, but if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below. Our next installment in the Summer Camp Marketing 101 series will focus on blog post formats and choosing the most effective format for the type of content you’re posting.
Does blogging sound like something you want to add to your marketing plan but not something you want to add to your plate? Click on the WORK WITH ME button at the top of the page or send a message to hello [at] kendrayelizabeth [dot] com!