Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Keep audience’s attention

Pair photos with food, souvenirs

By Jen Jepsen, Guest Travel Columnist

What’s the one thing guaranteed to bring people to an event no matter how boring the event sounds? Free food.

Apply this theory to sharing your travel experiences and you’d be surprised how many people are ready to hear your stories.

It’s a tough but true fact: Few people are as excited about your trip as you are. You’ve had the chance to see beautiful places, make new memories and meet interesting people, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone interested in every detail.

To make your travel experience more relatable, keep your audience in mind and keep your method of sharing short, unique and memorable.

First and foremost, limit the number of pictures you showcase to the top 15 or 20. Ever had to sit through a friend showing you all 300 of his or her trip photos image by image?

After about 50 I’m begging for mercy. By highlighting specific memories or places, you can keep an audience’s interest and leave him or her wanting more. Spicing up the variety of images will also help to show different aspects of your trip.

In the same vein, blog entries should also be kept short and updated often to retain interest. Blogs are a beloved tool of travelers for sharing trip updates, but too often entries are longer than necessary and full of an overload of details.

Anecdotes, photos and snippets from daily life make for the best reading material to keep people returning and commenting on your posts.

Check out travelblogs.com for some great examples of engaging travel stories as models or check out my favorite site: StopHavingABoringLife.com.

Finding a way to make your travel experience tangible for others is another great way of engaging your audience. Did you drink a lot of great tea in China? Bring some back to share. Fall in love with the local music of Mexico? Get an instrument your friends can play with.

Bringing a piece of your trip home offers a unique starting ground for conversation while getting your family and friends more genuinely excited to hear your stories.

Being strategic about the way you share your travel experience can make or break your audience’s attention.

An overload of details and photos can have friends running for the door, while staying brief, unique, surprising and full of personal stories will pique their interest for more.