Wisconsin' Outdoor Explorer
Updated: Oct 3, 2018
Why does someone start a new project in their lives? Where did I start and where do I want to go?
Do you ever just have a feeling you should be doing something more than what you’re doing? I’m not talking about the feeling you get when you are reading a book and feel you should be mowing the lawn or folding laundry. I’m talking about the feeling that you should be doing something different in your life, something more, something that challenges you more than what you are currently doing.
That’s how I started to feel before I started working on Wisconsin’s Outdoor Explorer. It started as, what I like to call, and itch that I couldn’t scratch. I was working at my current job thinking I would like to do more, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew it needed to be something creative, something that I would use my skills in photography and video production and it was something that I wanted to start. I didn’t want to join something that was already up and running. I wanted the challenge of starting something new and seeing if I could grow and nurture it, almost like growing a plant from seed.
What would it be about and how would I share it? Those were the two nagging questions that really kept me from starting anything. I had talks with close friends about doing a half an hour outdoor show. But being in the television business for over 20 years, I knew what it would take to pull this off and knew we didn’t have the time or resources to pull this off well enough make it a weekly show let alone get is started. I knew I wanted to do something about the outdoors. I wanted it to be more than just another hunting or fishing themed idea. I wanted it be about everything outdoors. Events, hunting, hiking, snowmobiling anything that had to do with getting outside. I wanted to encourage people to get out and explore Wisconsin in any and all ways. That’s when a friend and I came up with the name Wisconsin’s Outdoor Explorer in the summer of 2016.
I started putting down some ideas about what I wanted this brand to be about, but still struggled with how to introduce it to an audience. My friend and I tried few times to get together to kick around ideas but we never could get together and summer turned to fall and fall into winter. Finally, after ringing in the new year, I was talking with a coworker who was having great success on Instagram. He suggested to start posting every day and see what happens.
The one smart thing that I did after the name was formed, was went to all the major social media sites and locked in the name. I also made sure I owned the domain name. Doing this made starting on Instagram pretty easy, I just needed to start posting. On January 5th, 2017, Wisconsin’s Outdoor Explorer was introduced to the world. It felt great, I was finally scratching my itch and feeding my creativity.
The first four to five months the Instagram account grew quickly to over 1000 followers. I was posting every day and getting out and sharing my outdoor experiences. Then the algorithm changed and growth slowed to snail’s pace. I didn’t let this discourage me, I kept posting and adjusting my hashtag and posting times. I started reading and listening to podcasts on how to improve my brand and grow my Instagram even more. But then after a year of posting and growing, the itch started coming back.
It puzzled me at first, I was doing what I wanted to do and growing, why is the itch coming back? I took it as another sign that it was time to push the brand forward and see if I can grow it even more. But the same questions came up, what should I do and how should I share it. I started including Facebook and Twitter with the Instagram account and even started posting some videos on YouTube. But was seeing little to now growth on all of those platforms. That’s when I listened to a podcast about not relying on social media account to grow your brand. If you want to grow your brand you need to have a place that people and go and connect with you directly...a web page.
I started working on a web page. I didn’t have money to hire a web designer so I decided to try creating my own with the help of a website host, Wix. This challenge has been a lot of fun for me. I enjoy the creative part of creating and I’m learning something that I know nothing about. But as I’m creating this website, the question still comes up in my head, why will people come here, what will they get out of the site. They can see my images from Instagram, but what else to I have to offer?
That’s where we are now. I decided to start writing blog post and recording my own podcast to share my outdoor exploring experiences in a new and different way. My goal is to try and give my followers a more in depth look at the places I go and the things I see with pictures, podcasts, blogs and even videos. Wisconsin's Outdoor Explorer’s main goal is to encourage you to get out and be one of Wisconsin’s Outdoor Explorer.