It was a post topic that I’d been meaning to cover for years, an annual January literary event at a museum. Every year I’d blow it and forget to write the post until it was too late, but this year I put a big fat star on my calendar for the end of December, so I wouldn’t forget.
There was no problem finding updated information about the event, and I was particularly pleased to find that the museum also has a blog, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter stream, YouTube channel (only one video, but hey, a start) and lo and behold, a Flickr photostream. I linked to all of them in my travel blog post, because that’s the power of the Web – the simple act of linking actually helps you pull other blogs and sites up in search rankings, because linking to a site increases its authority in search engine algorithms. Hey, my whole job these days is tourism and social media, so I love to shine a light on great places.
I ran into trouble when it came to finding a good photo and video to go in the post. A photo or some sort of graphic is almost a must-have for a compelling travel post, and embedding a short video of this particular event into my post would also make it more intriguing and attractive to possible visitors.
When I don’t have a photo of my own, I always go to Flickr and look for images with the appropriate Creative Commons alternative copyright license (need more ideas for finding photos? Here’s how to find local photos for your tourism projects.)
Since the museum has a Flickr account for their own pictures and a Flickr Group Pool for others to contribute their personal photos, I figured I’d have an embarrassment of riches for wonderful pics.
No such luck….I struck out in the Group Pool and even though the museum had plenty of nice photos taken at the annual event, I couldn’t use any of them in my blog post because they all had the default Flickr Creative Commons license of “All Rights Reserved.” For this particular travel blog (which is ad-supported and for which I’m paid per post, so I consider it commercial) I needed an image with one of the least-restrictive CC licenses, simply “Attribution.”
That means that when I use the photo in my own content, I give attribution/credit to the original photographer, and I also link the photo in my post back to its original URL page on Flickr. Confused? Just look at the Whistler’s Mother spoof photo above in this post. Mouse over it to see the attribution, and click it to go to the source page.
Yes, if I contacted the museum and asked, they might let me use one of their photos, but it was New Year’s Eve and I wanted to post that day. I didn’t have time to wait around playing “Mother May I.” I’m a blogger and I want it now, and I want it at 2 a.m. if that’s when I’m writing the post. You can see our obsession with speed as either a total pain in the neck or a totally great opportunity to get the word out, fast. I vote for Option B, of course.
If you want me or any other wired writer to have great material to highlight your destination, help us out. Make it easy for us to toot the bloggy horn about your destination, attraction or event.
Give at least some of your Flickr photos the simplest license, “Attribution,” or even “Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs” would work for many blogs. Put a link to your photostream on your Web site or blog, to help us find it. While you’re at it, put a nice selection of available-for-media-use pics under the Media tab on your site. Yeah, ’cause we are media – even though you may never have heard of us, I guarantee you want our coverage and links.
Give us a few decent videos to help show off your goodies, about two to three minutes long, with titles and credits that say who you are and list your URL. Make sure we can embed them, whether you use YouTube or some other service like Blip.tv, Viddler, Vimeo, etc. They do not have to be professionally produced, but they do have to be interesting, with decent audio, and easy to embed.
Most bloggers could care less about email blasts (“delete, delete, unsubscribe, delete” describes much of my day) or pretty Flash-based Web site pages that we can’t link to or some giant press packet on a CD. I know exactly what I want to write about and I do it on my own schedule.
Learn to think like a blogger and provide those nuggets that help us tell your story, because we want the world to know about you.
Feel free to let me know in the comments if I’m off my rocker and missing some obvious impediment, or if you have additional thoughts. Thanks!
Update: Kudos to the museum! After I asked them on Twitter to switch some of their photos to a less-restrictive license, they did it, so here is the blog post that I updated to include two of their images and here is their whole set from the event.