Photos are terrific at attracting visitors to your story and your place. I promise you that there are not enough photos of your place online.
Over at Tourism Currents, Leslie McLellan explained the need for pictures, pictures and more pictures: “With Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Foodspotting and all the other sites that emphasize social photography, it is clear that visual content is what the public wants.”
In a small town, tourism doesn’t have a big budget to get professional photos of every location and event. You probably don’t even have enough time to join all those visual-based sites that Leslie mentioned. The good news: you don’t have to join all those sites. You only have to get more of your best photos online and available to the picture-loving world.
|Teresa James takes amazing local photos, and always
participates in the Picture My Weekend event.
1. Get more photos.
- Look for local photo events to partner with. If your town hosts something like Picture My Weekend or a photowalk, talk to organizers about inviting participants to share their photos for tourism use. Don’t require them to contribute, but do encourage it.
- Talk to local teachers, youth art programs and scouting groups. Who does a project with photography? Can you enlist the students in taking fresh pictures of local landmarks?
2. Get more photos online.
- Use Flickr as a home base for your photos. From there, people can link to them from Facebook, pin them on Pinterest, Tweet them, share them on Tumblr, or embed them in a blog post.
- Upload photos direct from your smartphone using the Flickr apps.
- Use an Eye-Fi card to automatically upload all photos from your camera by wifi.
3. Make your online photos more usable.
- Add a good description. Give us the context.
- Use keywords wisely. Think about the words and phrases you’d like to be findable for when writing your captions.
- Include the location. Don’t forget the neighborhood, city, and state.
- Add photos to the map. When using your smartphone, turn on the Location or Geo-tag feature when you’re taking tourism photos. Then your photos will automatically include map info. For other photos, you can drag them onto a map right in Flickr. No technical skills required.
- Do these steps for each and every photo.
4. Spread your photos around online.
- On Flickr, change the default license from Copyright (which means no one has a license to use your photos without asking first), to one of the several Creative Commons licenses (which means people can use photos in limited ways without asking first). For more explanation of Creative Commons and to set the default license, go here. The goal is to make it easy for online travel writers or just plain old visitors to include a photo in stories they share online.
- Spread your photos yourself. Use the social media accounts you do have. On Facebook? Link to your photos. Have an email newsletter? Embed photos. Addicted to Pinterest? Start a “What to Do in (Our Town)” board. On Flickr, each photo has a “Share” button right above it. Click on Share, and get sharing!
5. Your ideas.
- What do you suggest for small towns without many resources who want to get more photos online?