Freelancers aid in marketing
|Reese Barrick, palentologist at the CEU Prehistoric Museum describes the uniqueness of Castle Country to a group of national writers and photographers.|
There are many marketing tools when it comes to promoting tourism, education, or economic development. Billions of dollars are spent each year on campaigns to lure in new business and new money into communities. Is there a correct answer? Has anyone found the right formula?
With enough money anything is possible, like large billboards, magazine and newspaper advertising, regional saturation on television or cable channels, or displays and demonstrations at trade shows.
But what happens if you live in a rural area like Carbon or Emery county? What happens if your smaller community is surrounded by national ski resorts, five national parks, golf courses that have budgets to lure in the rich and famous, hunting lodges that can afford to draw trophy hunters where money is no concern?
How can Carbon county get the word out to the rest of the nation, region or state about local destinations, activities, or tourism attractions?
Kathy Hanna Smith is executive director of the Carbon Tourism Bureau and constantly wrestles with these questions. "There are so many marketing tools but in smaller, rural areas where we do not have big budgets and even less resources, we often feel as though our hands are tied," she explained. But she does juggle the money she has between Internet sites, newspaper advertising, regional and national recreation shows, magazine advertising, billboards, and informative brochures. Smith's office has also perfected the word networking as she constantly puts together partners to fund projects and continues to promote Castle Country.
This week a group of free-lance journalists spent a couple days touring the area, all part of the 2004 Media Fam Tour. There were nine writers and photographers from throughout the nation, representing a wide variety of publications. They were here for one reason and that is to gather information for specialty consumer magazines, like AAA (American Automobile Association), airline magazines, Traveler Life, Coast to Coast, Friendly Exchange, and RV living. Many of these journalists also write syndicated travel columns for newspapers and national and regional specialty tabloids.
The tour began in Salt Lake City with a visit to the Downtown Farmers' Market, warehouse district, Gateway and Temple Square. A driving tour took them by Red Butte Gardens, Old Deseret Village, Hogle Zoo, and the state capitol. Following their time in the city, the group spent a day in Moab, visited the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River and toured the Dead Hose Point, Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park.
Castle Country was fortunate to be a tour guide Tuesday and Wednesday as the group visited the Dianasaur Diamond National Scenic Byway, San Rafael Swell, Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, CEU Prehistoric Museum and Nine Mile Canyon. Following the local tour the group headed north to Vernal and Flaming Gorge before heading back to Salt Lake.
|A copy of RV Life where dinosaurs of Castle County are featured|
This certainly isn't the first time writers and photographers have traveled through Castle Country. The Cottonwood Panel out in Nine Mile Canyon has been featured no fewer than four times in National Geographic and just last week a reporter for the New York Times interviewed several locals about the effects of natural gas drilling in Nine Mile Canyon and just published her emotional, one-sided view.
So what were these writers looking for? Shannon Hurst Lane, a journalist from Zachary, La., says her sources want stories focused on the family. "Since 9-11 more and more families are choosing domestic travel and discovering the incredible treasures in their own back yards," she says, explaining that "they want to live life now and not putting it off until retirement."
Jean Strauber, who works for a California based newspaper group explains that she writes a travel column called, "Going My Way," and is always looking for material, trips and destinations that will help her write better columns. A former elementary school teacher, Strauber says she simply changed her classroom. "Instead of students I have readers, and instead of the classroom I have the world, but I still educate people and enjoy talking about trips and travels."
Craig Lancto used to work for the magazine The World and I but is now developing editorial copy (feature stories and photographs) for specialty tabloids. He is working on a dinosaur edition and says, "what better place to gather information about dinosaurs than Castle Country." Lancto also writes newspaper in education columns for the National Newspapers Association and some 950 publications pick up his material and disperse it to their readers.
These freelance writers are just a few of the many journalists that will wander through the county with their pens and cameras this summer, but every story they produce, every picture they snap and every reference they make to Castle Country helps get the word out. Locals have long understood the uniqueness of our area, its attractions and opportunities, and now this area is becoming better known throughout the state, region and world as marketing expands.