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Content Marketing for USA Today Hunt&Fish Magazine

USA Today Hunt&Fish Magazine

USA Today Hunt&Fish magazine is a special interest publication produced annually with a 4.5 million circulation.  Its timing is Summer/Fall, it is perfect bound, and the page count is between 120-130. Editorial-to-advertising ratios run about 55%/45% and the magazine appeals to an outdoor enthusiast audience.

Historically, the content primarily focused on whitetail deer hunting and largemouth bass fishing. Our task was to create content that would resonate with a larger sphere of sportsmen and women.

Content marketing has become sort of a buzz word these days, but in the end it simply boils down to people. Tom Keer, Guest Editor for the issue, selected a group of contributors that amounted to a dream team of sorts, and they included Nancy Anisfield, Peter Cary, Kirk Deeter, Joe Healy, Lars Jacob, Russ Lumpkin, Brian McClintock, Kris Millgate, Phil Monahan, Jed Portman, Ben Romans, Jared Sullivan, Shane Townsend and Stephanie Vatalaro. Without these marquee contributors and their unique stories, we could not have produced content of this quality and versatility.

The content strategy began by identifying universal themes relevant to all who hunt and fish. We focused on legacy, conservation, women in the outdoors, tradition, and new/newsworthy. As form follows function, story ideas rolled out of these foundational themes. For instance, the cover story, written by Jared Sullivan, features Jim and Eva Shockey. This father/daughter duo epitomizes legacy, conservation, women in the outdoors, and tradition. Kris Millgate’s piece further explores the theme of women in the outdoors across three different user groups of fly fishing (Cathy Beck), wing shooting (Nancy Anisfield) and big game hunting (Kim Callahan). Stephanie Vatalaro’s Waltzing with Sailfish carries forth both legacy and women in the outdoors as it’s a story about fishing with her dad and how she rose to the occasion to land a fish as large as her.

The bucket list theme, written by Russ Lumkin, showcases places that represent the pinnacle of the public sporting experience. And part of the reason that these areas are so exquisite is because of conservation initiatives. Tom Keer carried forth that theme in his story about differentiating conservation from preservation. With all of this hunting and fishing inspiration, you’re bound to get hungry and Jed Portman’s Now Your Smokin’ provides a number of mouth-watering recipes to try.

For tradition, Joe Healy covered the Cortland Line Company. Founded in 1915, this year marks the company’s centennial. Combine old and new and you’ll get Shane Townsend’s piece on hunting with a crossbow; a tool founded several centuries Before Christ that is rapidly gaining in popularity for hunting.  And you can’t get more traditional than Peter Cary’s building of a bamboo fly rod, not to mention the passing down of a hand-made work of art is another form of legacy.

For new and newsworthy, we asked renowned shooting instructor and gun fitter Lars Jacob for wing shooting techniques since everyone wants to shoot better. Nancy Anisfield explored man’s best friend, for what sportsman/woman doesn’t appreciate tips for selecting a dog suited to his/her hunting conditions.

Brian McLintock covered a relevant topic which is how to move from recreational to professional bass fishing, Phil Monahan expertly tackled how to read the water, and Kirk Deeter looked at small watercraft that can put anglers where the fish are. Shane Townsend circled back with tips to not lose a deer, and Ben Romans focused on a variety of rifles, shotguns, and loads to make your hunting more enjoyable.

Exposing a dominant whitetail/largemouth bass audience to new sporting opportunities made sense for growth in readership opportunities. In the end, readers received enough information in their areas of interest, and they were exposed to much, much more.  Themes, stories, and in the end people contributed to delivering an excellent issue of USA Today Hunt&Fish.

Click here to buy a copy of the 2015 USA Today Hunt&Fish Magazine.

 

Keer places in prominent outdoor writers competition

 

August 2, 2015
For more info, contact: OWAA Headquarters, info@owaa.org
406-728-7434

Keer places in prominent outdoor writers competition

Outdoor Writers Association of America is pleased to announce that Tom Keer of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, was recognized as an award recipient during the 2015 OWAA Excellence in Craft Contests. This annual awards program recognizes and honors the best work of outdoor communicators who are members of OWAA. This year, 62 individuals took home a total of nearly $12,000 in cash prizes. For more info, visit http://owaa.org/eic.

His awards:

First place in the hunting/shooting sports category of the Blog contest for “Improve Your Dog Work by Hunting for a Different Species,” SportDOG Brand blog, February 20, 2014. The hunting/shooting sports category includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or inspiring stories about a competition. The prize money for this category was sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

First place in the fishing category of the Blog contest for “Rebuilding Angler Stocks One at a Time,” Takemefishing.org, December 3, 2014. The fishing category includes freshwater and saltwater, any tackle. Emphasis should be on human interest or adventure within the sports. The prize money for this category was sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy.

Second place in the humor category of the Magazine contest for “Wearing off the Brown,” Sporting Classics Daily, November 7, 2014. The humor category recognizes pieces that are funny and outdoor oriented.

Second place in the hunting/shooting sports category of the Blog contest for “Working with Different Dogs,” SportDOG Brand blog, July 24, 2014. The hunting/shooting sports category includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or inspiring stories about a competition. The prize money for this category was sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

Second place in the family participation/youth outdoor education category of the Blog contest for “Handing over the reins…or check cords,” SportDOG Brand blog, March 27, 2014. The family participation/youth outdoor education category recognizes excellence in communicating the value and enjoyment of family participation and youth education in the outdoors. The prize money for this category was sponsored by Realtree.

Third place in the hunting/shooting sports category of the Magazine contest for “Best of the Sporting South: Top Dog,” Garden & Gun, December 2014/January 2015. The hunting/shooting sports category includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or inspiring stories about a competition. The prize money for this category was sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

Third place in the fishing category of the Blog contest for “Learning from Family and Friends,” Takemefishing.org, December 17, 2014. The fishing category includes freshwater and saltwater, any tackle. Emphasis should be on human interest or adventure within the sports. The prize money for this category was sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy.

Third place in the Column contest for “Puppy Love,” “Alone in the Woods,” “Naming Coverts;” Covey Rise. The Column pieces can be on any outdoor recreation, nature or conservation topic, but must be a regularly published, opinion-style column, not a general news or feature story.

Tom Keer owns The Keer Group, a full service marketing agency focusing on fishing and hunting. He is an award-winning freelance writer, book author, content contributor and photographer. He, his family, and four English setters live onCape Cod,MA. Visit him at www.thekeergroup.com and www.tomkeer.com.

The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in theUnited States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA’s professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio and television show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered inMissoula,Montana. Visit www.owaa.org for more info.

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A New Logo: Dave Brown Outfitters


Meet Dave Brown.
  Dave Brown started fly fishing and bird hunting when he was 13 years old.  His field and stream time was interrupted by eight years of military service.  For five years, Dave served as a paratrooper in the elite Canadian Airborne Regiment and he served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.  After his eight-year hitch, Dave left the military and embarked on a fly fishing and wingshooting career that now includes guiding for trout in western Canada and the Rocky Mountains and bird hunting in western Canada and Arizona.

Dave Brown is intense and focused.  Add passionate when it comes to fishing and hunting, add enthusiastic because he wants everyone to have a fantastic time.  Dave Brown cares, and that’s why he has such a diverse client base.  Some of his clients are rank beginners, others are hard-core enthusiasts, and still others are celebrity notables that include Hollywood actors, supermodels, and professional athletes.  While his client list reads like a veritable Who’s Who, what matters most to Dave is that his clients share in a memorable experience.  He creates trips-of-a-lifetime.

If you’re on social media you’ll see Dave Brown broadcasting from remote areas on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram among others.  While he’s cutting edge, Dave is also a traditionalist.  He knows that things of value take time to create.  We met when he had a problem to solve, and that came from his logo.  Dave’s business, you see, had expanded significantly.  As a result he had multiple logos representing the variety of his business units.  He needed to simplify down to one.

Meet The Keer Group.  Dave’s four logos represented domestic and international fly fishing and wingshooting.  His brand proposition was simple, established and unchanging, so we moved to a number of different concepts from rod and gun to fish and bird to fly and pointer.  We all agreed on the fly/pointer position, and moved on to the rim.  We experimented with a variety of geometric designs from ovals, circles, squares, rectangles and triangles and settled on the oval for simplicity and inclusion.  We then tried a sequence of layout/design with the fly/pointer combination, and while they looked good they just didn’t pop.  Stock images just didn’t capture the wild, traditional, and insightful part of Dave Brown.

Stock images are fine in some instances, you know, but for Dave Brown Outfitters, we needed something to pop.  Our solution lay in a custom design and application.  We began with a thorough review of Dave’s extensive image library.  Inspiration struck when we found the perfect dog: Johnny Ringo.  Johnny Ringo conveyed the right feeling and his was one of intensity, style, and class.  These characteristics personify Dave Brown Outfitters as well, so we hand illustrated and colored the pointer you see in the ring.  Good things take time.

Dave chose the fly, one of his favorites, and it was an H&L Variant.  To match Johnny Ringo we drew that fly from hand as well.  Hand-drawn images can be colorfully illustrated, so we did that as well.  And we added a contemporary twist which is a vibrant and sparse coloration coupled with a clean design.  Just like Dave Brown.

To finalize, we returned to experiment with layout and design and shifted the placement of the images.  Once positioned we tweaked font and coloration until it matched and arrived at the correct hue of brown.  Symbolically it resembles the land where Dave hunts and fishes and corresponds with his last name.

It was a true pleasure working with a client who is insightful and patient and understands that great creative work doesn’t just come from assembling a series of canned and disposable components.  Great creative comes from teamwork and proper communication, the kind that existed between our two teams.  Check out Dave Brown Outfitters at www.davebrownoutfitters.com and visit him when you get a chance.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Shane Mahoney Unveils Conservation Visions, a Global Wildlife Initiative

Internationally recognized wildlife authority and expert on the much debated North American Model of Conservation, Shane Mahoney, announces the formal launch of Conservation Visions, a private initiative focused on providing scientific research solutions, strategic review, organizational restructuring, policy development and leadership advice to a range of conservation-minded stakeholders, including industry leaders, governments and NGOs.

Conservation Visions will aim to build broader societal coalitions, and encourage the concept of “citizen conservation,” a term coined by Mahoney.  “As Theodore Roosevelt once said, Conservation means development as much as it does protection.  His brilliance lay in recognizing that active management and stewardship would eventually prove essential for the conservation of wildlife in the long-term.  Conservation was also meant to be a social movement embracing all citizens, but I fear that the global community has drifted away from both these ideas,” says Mahoney. “I look forward to focusing my energies on reinvigorating the idea that wildlife belongs to everyone, and everyone has a responsibility to conserve it.”   The new organization will bring Mahoney’s wisdom and expertise to bear on today’s most pressing conservation problems.

Mahoney was employed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labradorfor over thirty years, serving in a variety of leadership roles, but most recently as Executive Director of Sustainable Development and Strategic Science.  His extensive field research has been published in numerous articles, appearing in more than twenty independent scientific and peer-reviewed journals.  An effective communicator with the broader public, he has published nearly one hundred popular articles, and his work appears regularly in such well-read publications as Sports Afield, North American Hunter, and Game Trails.  He has worked in radio, and appeared as host or narrator on a variety of television efforts, including the Sportsman’s Channel’s World of Sports Afield and Boone and Crocket Country.  He’s collaborated with media giants such as the British Broadcasting Corporation and National Geographic, to produce award-winning films inCanada, theU.S., andSouth Africa.  He has accepted eighteen professional appointments, and currently serves as International Liaison for The Wildlife Society, and Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Use and Livelihoods (SULi) Specialist Group for the United Nations’ World Conservation Union (IUCN.)

Conservation Visions emerged from Mahoney’s profound global experiences and discoveries, both as a wildlife researcher and a natural world explorer.  By fusing science, collaborative management and a passionate concern for nature with emotive speaking, writing and filmmaking, the organization will seek to develop business relationships and solutions that will help to advance conservation and the idea of stewardship in the 21st century.

Conservation Visions’ motto neatly summarizes Shane’s vision: “One Natural World, One Humanity, One Chance… Conservation Matters.”

Contact:

Shane Mahoney, at Conservation Visions by email: insights@conservationvisions.com or by phone at 709-754-4780

 

ICAST/IFTD 2014

Last year, IFTD decided to forgo an independent trade show in favor of joining the significantly larger ICAST show that is touted as being the world’s largest fishing show.  Discussions prior to that union were across the board, with many fly anglers leaning towards joining Outdoor Retailer.  What seems to differentiate fly rodders from conventional anglers is the fly fisherman is particularly focus on method which, according to our surveys, ranks at the top of the list.  I had covered that point in my freelance piece I am a Fisherman in the ICAST magazine, and according to readers the piece was well received (thank you all for taking the time to write).

For our seminar chose to address the topic of Fly Fishing and Conventional Fishing: Why Can’t We All Get Along?  100% of surveyed anglers agree that there is a gap but aren’t really sure what to do about it.  I enlisted the help of industry experts from a wide variety of channels so as to offer our audience a 360-degree view of the subject, and they were:

Ken Cook, Managing Editor, Fishing Tackle Retailer, who spoke about the profile of a conventional angler and what is important to him/her.
Ross Purnell, Editor, Fly Fisherman magazine, who spoke about the profile of a fly rodder and what is important to him/her.
Rich Hohne, Digital Marketing Manager and Public Relations for Simms who spoke about benefits a manufacturer offers consumers by selling to both audiences.
Peter Jenkins, President/CEO The Saltwater Edge and Edge Angling, brick and mortar and ecommerce mixed-stock dealer who discussed the overlap between fly and conventional anglers at the retail level.
I represented topics of critical importance to both groups such as angler participation, legacy, open-space, clean waters/environment, GNP contributions, et al.  They’re far more relevant than hashing out our differences in methods, and we proved that fly and conventional anglers have more in common than less.

We’re grateful that The Outdoor Channel identified our seminar as an important one and gave us some ink.  Check it out here. We’re psyched for the coverage and are glad a group as large and prestigious as TOC wants to help!

 

 

 

Keer places in prominent outdoor writers competition


Outdoor Writers Association of America is pleased to announce that Tom Keer of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, was recognized as an award recipient during the 2014 OWAA Excellence in Craft Contests. This annual awards program recognizes and honors the best work of outdoor communicators who are members of OWAA. This year, 57 individuals took home a total of more than $11,000 in cash prizes. For more info, visit www.owaa.org.

 

 

His awards:

  • First Place in the Gear/Technical Category of the Magazine/E-zine Contest for “Drop ’em a dropper rig,” Kayak Angler, Summer/Fall 2013.
  • Second Place in the Gear/Technical Category of the Magazine/E-zine Contest for “Easy kayak anchor,” Kayak Angler, Early Summer 2013.
  • Second Place in the Gear/Technical Category of the Blog Contest for “Steer with a homemade drogue,” TakeMeFishing.org, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Third Place in the Gear/Technical Category of the Television/Video/Webcast Contest for “How to tie a surgeon’s knot,” TakeMeFishing.org, Aug. 28, 2013. The Gear/Technical Category entries must be informative about gear; or instructional in how to use outdoor equipment in an entertaining yet easy-to-understand manner.
  • Second Place in the Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education Category of the Magazine/E-zine Contest for “Class in session,” USA Today, Summer 2013. The Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education Category recognizes excellence in communicating the value and enjoyment of family participation and youth education in the outdoors. The prize money for this category was sponsored by Realtree.
  • Second Place in the Hunting or Shooting Sports Category of the Newspaper/News Website Contest for “BVA program strives to preserve precious hunting heritage,” Daily Local News, Sept. 17, 2013. The Hunting or Shooting Sports Category includes hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting. This includes archery, firearms and other methods. Recreational shooting stories can be human interest stories or inspiring stories about a competition. The prize money for this category was sponsored by the National Rifle Association.
  • Third Place in the Humor Category of the Magazine/E-zine Contest for “The forbidden fruit,” Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, July 2013. The Humor Category better be funny and outdoors oriented.

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer, columnist and blogger who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for Covey Rise magazine, Upland Almanac, and Woodcock Limited and is a contributing editor for Fly Rod & Reel and Fly Fish America. He is also a spokesman and blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. He writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines. He also owns The Keer Group, a full-service, outdoor marketing company. When they are not fishing the beaches and the flats, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters. Visit him at www.thekeergroup.com or at www.tomkeer.com.

The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA’s professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio and television show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. Visit www.owaa.org for more info.

For more info, contact: OWAA Headquarters, info@owaa.org or 406-728-7434

 

Tom Keer interviewed on “Wake Up with Al” morning show

TKG’s President Tom Keer was recently interviewed by Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams on the Wake Up with Al morning show. Tom was speaking on behalf of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s “Take Me Fishing” campaign (www.takemefishing.org). Keer has been blogging for the campaign since 2011 and has made numerous TV and radio appearances on behalf of the foundation. As a lifelong fisherman, Keer is passionate about encouraging newcomers to give fishing a try. Below is a clip from the show.

 

 

Keer Places in Prominent Outdoor Writers Contest


From the OWAA Headquarters in MISSOULA, Mont. – Wellfleet, Mass. resident Tom Keer earned prestigious Excellence in Craft awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America, with recognition to be made at OWAA’s annual conference to be held in Lake Placid, N.Y., September 16, 2013.

Keer received three awards. He was awarded first place in the Conservation/Nature category, Magazine contest, which recognizes excellence in communicating articles with an emphasis on successes or challenges within conservation; interesting new discoveries within nature; or a fascinating tale about a creature, plant or ecosystem. His first place submission, “Open Water Catch and Keep?,” was published in the Spring 2012 issue of The Flyfish Journal. The Nature/Conservation contest is sponsored by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Keer also won two awards in the Blog contest. His submission “National Fishing and Hunting Day: The Cast and Blast,” published Sept. 27, 2012 on TakeMeFishing.org, placed third in the Hunting/Shooting Sports category, which recognizes excellence in communicating hunting for both large and small game, and competitive or recreational shooting, including archery, firearms and other methods. The Hunting/Shooting sports category is sponsored by Crosman Corporation. Keer’s submission “Yes We Have No Bananas,” published Aug. 27, 2012, also on TakeMeFishing,org, placed third in the Blog contest, Humor category which recognizes excellence in communicating humor in outdoor related subjects.

In addition to running his international marketing company, Keer is a widely-published freelance writer and regularly writes for Sporting Classics, Covey Rise, Gray’s Sporting Journal, The Ruffed Grouse Society, Fly Rod and Reel, among others. He is also a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Editor for Fly Rod and Reel and a Contributing Editor for Fly Fish America. He’s been a member of OWAA since 2008.

The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA’s professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio and television show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. Visit www.owaa.org for more info.

For more information on this award, contact Angela Keer, PO Box 2023, Wellfleet, MA 02667; angela@thekeergroup.com; 508-349-3473.

 

TKG’s client wins Sporting Classics magazine’s Hunting Lodge of the Year Award

On January 24th, 2013, The Keer Group received news that their client, Honey Lake Plantation Resort and Spa, had been awarded the prestigious Hunting Lodge of the Year award from Sporting Classics magazine. The magazine annually salutes companies and individuals whose products and services have a decidedly positive impact on their readers’ lives. 2013 marks the 13th anniversary of the magazine’s Awards of Excellence which recognizes a select group of distinguished manufacturers, venues, foundations, and conservation agencies.

TKG’s Founder/CEO, Tom Keer, was ecstatic. Commenting on the award, Keer said “Honey Lake Plantation opened its doors to the public in 2008. In January of 2012 they retained TKG to help reach a larger national audience. Our goal was to increase media exposure and grow sales for the plantation’s sporting package offering. We began by reaching out to a focused group of industry connections which included Chuck Wechsler and Brian Raley from Sporting Classics. When Chuck called me to announce that our client was selected for the award, I was thrilled.”

A Video from the Award Ceremony:

According to Editor Chuck Wechsler, “the Awards of Excellence program recognizes the year’s leaders in a wide variety of categories. Nominees are submitted by our Senior and Contributing Editors and then finalized by the Sporting Classics staff. Every year, honorees are chosen for their achievements in defining what a great sporting product should be. Their craftsmanship, engineering, and innovations have set standards higher than before.HoneyLakePlantation is a relatively new-comer to the industry and already they have made contributions to the sporting venue classification that raise the bar just a little bit higher.”

Bob Williamson, Honey Lake Plantation’s owner and founder couldn’t be happier. “There are a tremendous number of outstanding sporting properties spread throughout our country, and I am honored to have been selected by Sporting Classics magazine as their top pick. Sporting Classics has been an industry leader for decades, which means that their endorsement of Honey Lake Plantation is significant in every way. We are delighted.”

Founded in 2006, The Keer Group is an award-winning full-service brand management agency. Their services include branding, marketing, advertising, public relations, sales and operations. They specialize in the active sporting lifestyle and outdoor pursuits. The company is located in Wellfleet, Massachusetts but their clients are spread throughout the country and some internationally. They have worked with manufacturers, distributors, retailers, destinations, trade organizations, conservation groups, artists and publications.

 

Media FAM (Familiarization) Trips are Well Worth the Time and Investment

 

Honey Lake Plantation Media Event

Honey Lake Plantation Media Event orchestrated by The Keer Group. Photo Credit Nancy Anisfield. From Left to Right: King Montgomery, Bob Williamson, Lars Jacob, John Thames, Tom Keer, Angela Keer, Kelly Waldrop, Ken Cook, Irwin Greenstein

Years ago, a media FAM trip was often synonymous with a boondoggle or a junket.  I recall one poorly orchestrated event that quickly deteriorated into something more closely resembling the movie Animal House.  A good time was had by some, many took offense, and the rest were dumbfounded by the whole experience.  It was no surprise that participants, me included, chose not to write about the event.  The venue and the manufacturers who orchestrated the event believed that if the media had a great time they’d write glowing reviews; in the end, too much focus was on fun instead of work.

Large-scale media FAM trips have largely gone away. Some of them died a quick death because of the costs associated with the frivolity and lackluster results while others disappeared due to a budget-tightening recession. One FAM trip disbeliever recently told me that the media could learn everything they needed to know from their website. No comp trips were offered, no products were field tested, and no expenses were incurred. In the same breath, the disbeliever complained about declining sales.

TKG just concluded what I believe to be our most successful media FAM trip yet. We held the event at Honey Lake Plantation, a gorgeous venue in Northern Florida. The event took a tremendous amount of planning, but the results were well worth the effort.

Below are a few key components we’ve found essential for a successful Media Fam Trip.

  1. Focus intently on the list of invitees. By combining editors, industry leaders & personalities, writers and photographers you’ll find that the group will work together to deliver an outstanding and diverse series of media messages. The client hosting the event wins every time.
  2. Set expectations. Having a clear set of expectations (for coverage as well as for conduct) creates a mutual understanding. Clarity and simplicity are key.
  3. Intersperse print representation with digital media.  Both still have a lot to learn from each other and a relaxed environment (i.e. out of a formal work environment) enables both groups to communicate candidly and openly. Common ground is more easily found.
  4. Circulate attendee bios to the group prior to arrivalOftentimes, folks invited to a FAM trip will not know each other but they probably have mutual friends in common. Include links to the attendees’ websites, recent publications, blogs, and such.  By doing so you’ll find that the event takes on an ‘old-home week’ attitude.
  5. Provide a pre-trip planning document to ensure a smooth arrival. Airport pick-ups and drop-offs, gear lists for field work, and recommended attire enables everyone to plan accordingly. It is embarrassing for an attendee to arrive at dinner in a tshirt and shorts when evening attire is expected.
  6. Create networking opportunities for the attendees that go beyond the scope of the event. Introducing a photographer to a magazine editor or art director or a venue to a relevant service provider enables group members to network beyond the confines of the event.
  7. Observe group dynamics. Change group pairings during morning and afternoon sessions until you find folks with synergy. Exchanges become more meaningful when a group is simpatico. When you find a group that is in alignment and has the perfect chemistry consider repeating a separate event in a different setting.  And add a few new members to the group to keep things fresh.

In the end, it’s about getting the job done. We’ve found that by keeping priorities straight, the fun just happens.  And the end results are a win-win for everyone.