Why even ask this question? Because excellent storytelling starts with you.

While stories have the potential of reaching the full range of emotions, without the presence and personal input of the storyteller, they can just as easily fall short of evoking any response from the audience at all.

The difference is how the person comes to the situation before sharing one detail. Everything from your confidence levels to your personal activity preferences dictate or influence every detail. And all of that adds up to whether or not you create resonance with your audience.

So, for starters, let’s get clear about who you are. Because who you are and who you choose to be are two very different things. And once you understand the difference, the road ahead will take on definitive edges and clearer sight lines.

Who You Think You Are

You exist, in some capacity, in the adventure or travel sphere. If asked you who you are, maybe you’d say you’re a tourism board, an adventure outfitter, a hotel, or a gear supplier. Or something of a similar nature.

And maybe you’ve come across some of the stats about adventure tourism that have you considering how important it is to take content marketing to this demographic seriously. Here are a few examples:

• In 2011, 79% of tourism boards reported that the adventure tourism private sector had begun to emerge or grow in their destination.[1]
• Only 34% of the U.S. population are mass travelers.[2] The rest fall into the AT category.

• 69%[3] of ATs do their research online.

Still on the fence?

How about this:

The 2014 UNWTO Global Report on Adventure Tourism mentions that, “Online the currency is conversations, and consumers need to be engaged and inspired to visit a destination. Today, good marketing relies on effective storytelling…In the experience economy, customers are searching for compelling story…”

If you’re not already in some some phase of the process, that information alone should be enough to move you to action.

Yet, like many businesses out there, you may be struggling to figure out how. Whether it’s developing a solid content generation plan, producing content regularly, or finding ideas that engage your audience on the regular. Maybe all three.

And while this may be true, that’s not actually who you are.

Who You Actually Are

Who you are is a choice.

On the one hand, yes, you can just be a tourism board. Just an outfitter. Just a hotel. Just a gear supplier.

Or, you can choose to be something more.

You can choose to be someone with much greater influence. Someone who doesn’t become a side note of the adventure, but who runs the clay through their hands, shaping, contouring.

If you choose, you can be the gatekeeper. The eyes and ears on the ground. The key that will help open up a new adventure, new experience, new world.

You have the opportunity to give your audience an alternative take on your location and how their life fits into it. And vice versa. You can offer the details for what it will look like. What they’ll do. What they’ll see. How they’ll see it. How they’ll do it.

You can be a craftsman of opportunity. A builder of dreams. A conjurer of unforgettable memories.

You have a major opportunity to make a difference in the experiences of the people with whom you come in contact.

In short, you can be a storyteller.

Storyteller Responsibilities

However, you’re not going to accomplish anything unless we trust you. That’s just a fact. And to build that trust, you must provide relevant, timely, and engaging resources. Then you must provide enough of them that we take you seriously. And finally, you must do it in such a way that holds our attention and inspires us to seek out more.

And in return, with each resource, every added value, we’ll look your way, take a step in your direction, and finally come to recognize you as a trusted guide on our journey. The wise elder directing our paths. The confidant we look to when making decisions.

What could be more valuable than this?

So, if you’re “A Just” (i.e., Just A hotel, Just A tourism board), I wouldn’t recommend wasting your time with storytelling. It’ll do you no good, because your heart just isn’t in it.

But, if you’ve decided to be more than that, if you’re looking to turn the heads of adventure travelers, then welcome to the party. Grab a beer. Let’s hear what stories you have for us today. 🙂

So. Who are you?

[1] Source: ATTA (2011)
[2] Source: ATTA and Outside (2015)
[3] Source: ATTA (2013)