The Growing Role of Outdoor Freelance Writers | Outdoor Industry Jobs
Graphic By: Deanna Riley – Web & Graphic SpecialistArticle By: Weston Schrank – Content Strategist and Manager
Outdoor industry jobs in freelance writing, or hunting/fishing freelance writers are professionals of a dying art. Would you agree or disagree…really is it?
I would like to start off this article with an excerpt from one of our most recent blogs.
“Depending on your passion, you waited for that hunting and fishing magazine each and every month. You would reserve a spot in the calendar, even a chunk of time after dinner but before bed, a time for just you and the latest hunting and fishing articles…This pull and addiction was mastered by print writers, as we know to have been very successful at evoking emotional connection to the story and topic through detailed descriptions, delicate vocabulary, and well-formed article structure” – Hunting and Fishing Marketing | Appealing to Google and the Customer with Multimedia
I remember as a kid (I’m young so I know you remember) reading magazine article after magazine article, diving into adventures that I knew I may never come across in my life. However, that didn’t mean I didn’t experience it! Through the writers account, and flowing river of text, I was placed into that moment, whether it was a high elevation sheep hunt, salty deep sea fishing trip, or thrilling encounter with a grizzly while camping in the backcountry. The writer’s ability to pull and addict the reader to the content was undoubtedly an art form possessed by a handful of skilled outdoorsmen that secured their roles as a key in outdoor industry jobs.
There is no doubt that the world we live in today is going digital, nearly every piece on our blog has reiterated this old news. But will print, our coveted magazines, suffer? The bigger question for any readers diving into this topic and article is, regardless if print suffers, “what is the new role being developed into for outdoor industry freelance writers?” Now wait for it…the even larger question trumping your concerns is, “how the industry, and outdoor industry jobs will incorporate these hunting and fishing freelance writers moving in the current direction it is?”
The first and basic answer to any of these question is the general response. The direction of the outdoor industry, the hunting industry, and the fishing industry is and will continue to be content marketing. It always has been, from the magazines to the TV shows, but this movement is catching up to the outside world of digital content marketing. Again we have been repeating this over and over again in each one of our blogs, so whether you are a brand or company, or a content creator/freelance writer, it is time to take notice and learn what and how to change!
Opportunities for Outdoor Industry Freelance Writers
A popular question of the outdoor industry world of hunting and fishing, is how to get a job in the outdoor industry. While countless “regurgitated” articles and blogs will tell you to “start a hunting or fishing show” or “become a pro staff member” in order to obtain outdoor industry jobs, they are all missing the point of what the outdoor industry companies, brands, and potential employers need…real, authentic, authoritative content that doesn’t sell the product, just gives the reader and consumer what he/she wants!
Outdoor freelance writers again have mastered this, it is evident in any magazine article, and the problem however, is transitioning to the changing industry. If you are a skilled writer and an outdoorsmen with the passion and know how you are in luck! Now what I am about to reveal is key, this is why there is such a big opportunity present, and it is knocking on your door! The outdoor industry currently does not know how to value a freelance writer…do you know why that statement is true? Because the majority of the industry doesn’t know how to use the content they produce or currently hold.
“The world and this industry has gone digital, the most significant sentence of this article is this. “Your customer will seek you out online, so you need to give them exactly what they are searching for.” It is the premise behind the BE SEEN. BE FOUND. BE DIFFERENT of Stone Road Media. Customers will educate themselves before the buy, whether that buy is online or in the store. Those businesses and brands that give the information, detail, expert opinion, enjoyment, and influential piece on the subjects and topics related to their goals and objectives will beat out the competition… Newly created content will eventually create an authoritative content gap for a business that dives into and employs content creators. This will stack the content as the top results for every search a consumer types, related to your business. Those top results will place your expert content in front of the competitions, causing a free fall for the competition.” – Outdoor Industry Content Marketing | The Authoritative Content Gap
In a nut shell, as the outdoor industry recognizes the need for custom, fresh, informative, interesting, but optimized content, they will turn to content creators, and the first ones targeted will be freelance writers! This will be a massive opening for outdoor industry jobs and a big opportunity for anyone looking into how to get a job in the outdoor industry. Knowing that freelance writers possess the skills to bring a story, a “how to”, a “tips and tactics” basically anything a reader would search for and desire, will make it easy for business and brands in the industry to snatch them up.
Now this is not all good news, in fact it’s the opposite. If you are already an established freelance writer for many magazines, and are currently or about to dive into online articles and blogs for hunting and fishing websites, then your career and opportunity at seizing any of these outdoor industry jobs could be at risk.
This literally might be the first time this information has been presented online for our industry, I’ll just go ahead and claim that it is in confidence…”hunting and fishing print/magazine articles and the freelance writers that create them are not online worthy alone.”…Now let’s just agree to wait for the dust to settle on that bomb. It just blew up the strategy behind many “authority” sites in this industry. It is the same principle behind why you just can’t upload TV videos and content online and expect them to be found and reach the customers.
The reason behind why a freelance writer or an article that has been created for print/magazine cannot just be slapped onto a site and expected to be effective is that it does not meet all the criteria to be so. While a great opportunity is present and in front of both outdoor industry jobs, industry brands and outdoor industry freelance writers, it cannot be grasped without knowing the criteria for effective online content.
In the most recent news for fishing marketing, as it holds true for the outdoor industry in general, the tables have turned. The smallest fishing TV show, fishing manufacturing company, and/or even the startup fishing brands can oust out the big dogs of the fishing industry. Oust them out? What do we mean? Should you be concerned? It all depends, especially if you have not noticed, a major, huge….COLLOSAL shift has happened in your industry. The shift is from traditional fishing marketing to digital media and inbound marketing. The playing field is level with these considered and what has formed is a very real race and competition for open real estate. This is old news for fishing marketing, or at least it should be…
To catch up on what you need to know, or to test yourself on how much you really understand when it comes to fishing marketing, dig through these two lessons and see how you fare.
Fishing Marketing Lesson 1: Digital Marketing and Content
This is digital marketing, and if it is not something you’re fishing marketing plans and budget strives for then you need a quick lesson to help you understand how you are missing the boat and how your business will start drowning. The focus here is content, and it’s obligation for lead generation, customer acquisition, consumer engagement, and brand awareness. When discussing digital marketing, especially content it can begin to sound complicated, and to a point it is, but to really grasp what the terms associated with it like search engine optimization (SEO) is, you can actually just Google it. No seriously, Google it. This will be the best lesson and best advice you will probably hear today.
“As soon as you type the phrase “What is SEO,” SEO is occurring? Google is reaching out to find the most authoritative site on the terms you are looking for and will rank them in the search engine result pages (SERPs). This complex algorithm from Google is revised and released a lot. It is often too much to comprehend for most business owners, thus the advice provided by digital marketing firms like Stone Road Media…The term Pay-Per-Click or PPC is thrown around a lot, and often can be a quick way to drive traffic to your business. But if not managed correctly it can also be a quick way to drain the bank account. PPC, like Google AdWords, allows you to create a targeted ad for your business to “jump ahead” of the organic results on a SERP. This sounds great in theory and can be very effective, but lately, Google has found that over 80% of the clicks on the SERPs occur on the organic search results. Why? Basically the consumer has evolved and knows that the top and right columns are for “paid ads,” and tend to lean more towards the organic area more it’s ranked highly for a more definitive reason than “the highest bid.”” – There’s more to Digital Marketing than Social Media
The last bit of that is key. Basically you have to work hard and know what you are doing to own the very valuable fishing marketing web real estate on a given SERP related to your business and brand. This is the tip of the iceberg for digital marketing and fishing marketing as all of this revolves around what your focus should be and where your content should be. Written, video, and pictures are the critical component to successful digital marketing, it is digital media, and chances are you have been wasting all of it up to this point. Don’t keep making the same mistake! Some of the big players in the fishing industry, and we all know who they are, make very simple mistakes when it comes to this aspect of fishing marketing. The second part of this lesson in fishing marketing content are the lessons not to make! Here are the four mistakes when it comes to fishing marketing, and more specifically content in digital marketing by this industry.
Digital media has been an extremely hot topic lately in the outdoor industry. The writing is on the wall with TV, in just a few years TV has begun to fade in engagement. The fading traditional marketing method has gave way to unbelievable growth in the digital media sector. From original digital content to repurposed TV shows, content on the internet is reaching more people than ever. Why? With the hectic lifestyles of today’s society, having the ability to watch content when you want, where you want is extremely critical. But most companies are not utilizing digital content to its fullest, in fact, many are completely wasting the content.
I’m sure the latter seems quite impossible to you, but if you’re only reaching a few thousand views on YouTube you are definitely wasting the content. Content is king. If you are only utilizing content on one platform, especially if it’s not your website, you are missing the mark. The key to successful digital media is reach. The internet allows a smart digital marketer to syndicate content across many platforms in order to maximize impressions and engagement. No that doesn’t just mean Facebook and Twitter, it means multiple social media platforms, content syndication sites, and in our industry forums. Hunting, fishing, and shooting forums are extremely underutilized as a tool to gain valuable SEO and targeted reach.
One of the most common reasons for not doing digital marketing in the hunting, fishing, shooting or tactical industry is that the primary customer does not exhibit the buying behavior of a typical online shopper. They are simply “old school” and buying behavior is influenced by one of three ways: TV, Print, or just by knowing the brands they always go with. I’m not here to argue the last point much because I know that true for even a millennial buyer like myself. I tend to buy many of the same brands I did growing up because they were reliable. However, what we have to be sure of is that the business is always think a step ahead. Let’s say that 75% of your business comes from this “old school buyer.” In the firearms sector this is often an older demographic, much like the aging hunting community. They are often financially secure, versus a kid coming out of college, but although they may the customer today, what about your business tomorrow.
Unfortunately at some point the customer of today will pass through this world, if you have done nothing with your brand to reach the customer of tomorrow, you’re a sitting duck. SiriusDecisions research group discovered even with today’s buyers, 67% of the buying behavior journey happens online. Simply put there is more to just being available, you must be found, be engaging, and be informative or you will not be in business for much longer.
Whether you run your own small business or are in charge of a small piece of a large business, knowing your customer may be more important than any other thing that you do. No one has ever been successful selling a good or service to a customer they didn’t know. Even the late Steve Jobs knew that normal, everyday people wanted personal home computers, even before those people knew it themselves! Sure, you could make it by throwing generalized ads and marketing to the masses, but at the end of the day no other aspect of your business’s plan will be more critical than the foundation upon which you build…your target customer.
For some small business owners, their entire financial well-being will collapse by misinterpreting who their customer is. But that’s more of a rarity. In fact, most businesses know exactly who their customers are, as they have been the same for many years. But even these businesses can still trip and fall, when it comes to identifying how to market to a customer that you have not adapted too.
Far too often this is what happens in the outdoor industry. An aging demographic has led us to continue to market to the stronghold buyer. “Ol’ Reliable” that you know reads magazines and watches TV. The instant gratification is great, and year after year income remains where we like it to be. But there is a darkness looming. One that most do not want to realize, the fact that this old reliable customer is fading, and soon revenue will slip.
It should be no surprise that digital marketing is a major contributor to your overall marketing impact on potential consumers. If it is a surprise, then you likely are not adapting to the changing consumer behavior, and marketing ineffectively. Consumers are using the internet as a method to “find” what they are looking for more so today than ever before. Because of this, many companies are shifting large portions of their marketing budget to the digital realm. In 2016, worldwide spend on digital marketing is expected to be greater than traditional marketing like TV. By 2019, Forrester Research suggests that number will eclipse $100 Billion on sectors like paid search, social media, email, and display ads. In the hunting, fishing, and shooting industry, marketing is still predominantly traditional. But with tighter margins at retail, and increasing product niche competition, successful companies are embracing digital marketing in the form of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (like Google AdWords), and social media marketing through Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms. They are also exploring the vast digital ad network in hunting, fishing, and shooting communities. With this “inbound marketing” form so new to our outdoor industry, how can one maximize the internet? With so many companies relying heavily on retail sales, this results between digital marketing efforts and ROI can become even more compounded. But for anyone who dives into the digital marketing world, if done correctly, a vast amount of success lies in front of you, even at the retail sales level.