Favorite Female Adventure Instagrammers

My favorite thing about Instagram? I can live vicariously through others as I sit in my cubicle watching the clock. Specifically, I love seeing photos from people who are out exploring the world…photos of National Parks, trails, sunsets…they all get a quick double-tap from me.

If you are looking to add some beautiful photos added to your Instagram feed, I highly suggest following these amazing women. Yes, as I wrote down my list of my favorite adventure Instagrammers, I noticed that 95% of the list is made of female adventurers!

Add these accounts to your Instagram and get ready for more virtual adventure!

  • @AshleeNewman – photographer and lover of sunshine and water. Ashlee travels as part of her job so you’ll see photos from all over the U.S. on her account
  • @Torilesikar – skier, photographer, and rock climber. Tori is always exploring and encouraging others to get outside
  • @runaroundaroo – Heidi inspires me to take up trail running again! She’s busy exploring Colorado and takes photos of her adventures
  • @katieboue – Katie is one of my favorites and with her recent move to Colorado and her plans for “the summer of Katie”, I know to expect even more fantastic photos from this rock climber
  • @happiestoutdoors - I found Taryn super recently but I’m already smitten. Her love for the mountains is pretty evident with her recent photos from Olympic National Park
  • @walksimply – Traci is from Orange County and explores the local trails with her family. She’s the kind of mom who takes her kids to the beach after school, how awesome is that?!
  • @chasquimom – Melissa is one of the bloggers behind the popular #outfam Twitter chat. She shares photos of her family backpacking & hiking together
  • @realcalipidder – Rebecca (and Thor, because really, he’s the star of this account right now) is in California, too, and she is always out and about exploring. She spends a fair amount of time in some of my favorite places (the Eastern Sierras) and going on fantastic adventures

Keep up the great work, ladies, you continue to inspire me (and your other followers) to get outdoors.

What accounts would you add to this list? Leave a link below to share!

 

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What is one way for you to grow your community, connect with fans, and get your message out to the masses? Starting a YouTube (or similar) channel.

Now, I don’t have a channel so I didn’t feel I would be the best person to share information on how to start a channel — especially a super niche channel with the aim to further your blog/brand.

I did a quick interview with Paul from The Outdoor Adventure to get a better idea on how to best start a YouTube channel. His channel is an extension of his website and is a way to educate others.

3 Tips for Starting a YouTube Channel - Campfire Chic

Paul, your site, The Outdoor Adventure, is full of information and gear reviews. What inspired you to share all this outdoor information with others?

I guess there were two reasons: a need to document our family adventures and a desire to share what I was learning.

I was in South America with our young family on a long-term missionary stint (four years). I was in some amazing countries and even though we didn’t get have a lot of free time, family and friends wanted to hear how we were doing. I am not a letter writer, so a blog was a great alternative to share those adventures and what we were learning.

As the work was volunteer based, money was a big factor. We love to adventure, but I wasn’t earning any money, so anything I could make myself meant that our family didn’t have to dig into savings. What I couldn’t make, and therefore had to buy, had to be a good purchase. Those careful purchases and DIY projects started making their way into those early blog posts.

The Outdoor Adventure Family Photo - Campfire Chic

One way you share information with your audience is through your YouTube channel. It is very well-organized and you have quite a followership! What 3 pieces of advice would you give to bloggers looking to start a YouTube channel?

You’ve caught me at a pivotal moment in my video production. I’ve done a lot of reading recently on how to improve my videos. I have a lot of videos on youtube… many that I can’t watch any more myself. Seriously. I cringe through them. And that’s the biggest tip really.

Plan your shots and take the time to set them up. On the way to the trail, at home, or even while you’re hiking you should be planning shots. If a ground shot of you walking over the camera is better, take the time and do it. If you need a close up of a product in action, plan it out.If you think your shot would look really cool if you put the tripod on a cliff above the trail, then take the time to do it (oh, and always carry a tripod).

Take out the boring bits. Make your biggest critic watch your video… and listen to them. My wife is my biggest critic. She has always said, “make it shorter”, or “that shot is too long.” NO ONE wants to watch a boring video, not even your relatives. I typically use less than 25% of the footage I take… as low as 5% if I don’t plan the video before hand. So, get a critic and get them to be merciless with your finished video. If you, or your family can’t even sit through the video, then no-one else will… and they certainly won’t share it with their friends.

Make sure the audio is good. That can mean everything from buying a better mic, doing a voice over or cutting the audio and replacing it with music. There’s a reason that GOPro videos have songs playing and the internal audio turned off. If you need to talk, and the audio is bad on your camera is bad, try recording voice overs at home. If you don’t need to talk, don’t. Rely on music to make it more interesting. Try taking a video you’ve done and swapping the audio with a song from soundcloud.com. You’ll be amazed how much better it is.

What is the one piece non-essential of equipment/gear you never leave home without?

Probably my video camera (attached to my tripod). My wife rolls her eyes when I walk to the car with them, but that’s just the way I roll.

How can readers connect with you online?

I’m most active on twitter, but you can find me on Facebook, and of course through my website, and YouTube channel

Want a taste of Paul’s videos? Here are three to check out:

 

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Favorite WordPress Plugins - Campfire Chic

 

After moving over from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site, I received a few inquires about my favorite WordPress plugins.

Plugins are are tools that extend the functionality of WordPress sites…and self-hosted WordPress sites have access to many plugins. If you want to do something with your website, there is probably a plugin to make it happen!

I selected three of the plugins I currently use on a daily basis that I think will be of the most help to Campfire Chic readers. If you are not currently on a self-hosted WordPress, you can still get ideas for aspects you can add to your site to support your goals.

 

Hello Bar

HelloBar - My favorite WP plugins

I shared information on Hello Bar ages ago and I’m still a fan – a huge fan. Instead of needing to scour through the html of my site to change out my Hello Bar, the plugin makes the process so much easier! I just copy the code from my Hello Bar account and then paste the code into my plugin! Easy-peasy.

 

 

Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar

This is the newest addition to my plugin collection and I’m already hooked. I love planning ahead…but I hated how I couldn’t visualize my posts in the default “all posts”. Enter Editorial Calendar! It seamlessly fits into my Posts section of my dashboard and allows me to very clearly see what I have scheduled and drafted. As you can see, as I’m writing this post, I have some catching up to do if I want to stay on my blogging schedule! It’s not pretty, but it does fit in with the rest of the dashboard that I will probably forget that it’s a plugin and freak out when I go to the 30 Days of Lists dashboard in a few days and not see the calendar option. No setup needed, making this a quick and painless addition to your toolkit!

Flare

Flare - Favorite WP Plugins

There are so many options of social media plugins that I had a hard time figuring out which one would fit in with the design of Campfire Chic without looking like it’s a plugin. I know that makes no sense, but it totally does! I wanted something I could easily customize and edit to better fit in with the overall look and feel of the Campfire Chic site. Enter Flare. Flare is from the same folks behind Hello Bar and Slide Deck (another awesome tool) and allows me to select between several options in regard to shape, size, color (hex codes are accepted!), platforms, placement, and more. It’s a fantastic little tool that I totally love. As you can see, in the image above, I have my Flare plugin only show up as a reader goes through an individual blog post and only after s/he scrolls down the article a bit – again, I wanted these to look seamless and not take away from the main article…but still be eye-catching enough to encourage readers to share content.

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Improve your twitter interactions

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Twitter – I use it to connect with readers, stay up-to-date on geek culture, and to stay in touch with friends and family.

But what if you are using Twitter and not getting responses from others? You’re posing questions, asking for help, or maybe sharing links to your products but not getting any hits…if you are using Twitter as a way to market your brand (or become Twitter-famous), you need to make your interactions on Twitter count.

Today’s tips go beyond the usual tips: retweet others, don’t overshare, and make your account public. Those are good tips, but let’s take it a step further.

 

3 ways to increase your Twitter interactions

 

Think of Twitter as a conversation not a sounding board

You know the kind of account I’m thinking of…the person who tweets 20 times a day (not necessarily a bad thing!), but it is only self-promotion, statements, and more self-promotion. No linking to others, no responding to mentions, no retweets. Just somebody essentially pushing things into the Twitterverse hoping things take off – and sometimes they do! But let’s be honest, with what you have in mind (an empire, dammit!) you don’t want to be this account. 

Why? Well, why the hell not? Do you like to be around that guy at work who seems to live off of one-upping everybody else? “Oh, you only got 5 hours of sleep? Well I got 4.5! You bought your coffee from a local shop for $15??? Well I got mine from Costco for $10 and it’ll last me forreevvvveerrr!!” Sorry, this one hit too close to home. The point is, don’t be that guy. Be the person people hope to run into at the water cooler — has a good story to share, waits for others to share their stories, asks questions…interacts! People want attention and want to pay it in return so if you’re just out to take all the attentionz, get out of here.

Respond to questions others pose

You don’t like it when a question you pose goes unanswered, so why would you let somebody you follow experience the same thing? See a question in your feed? Respond to it! If you don’t know the answer, obviously this may not be the time to respond, but if you do know the answer or have some sort of opinion, connect!

Why? I think I’ve used this before, but here it goes…All this social media stuff is a lot like getting letters in the mail. You can sit at your mailbox for ages waiting for somebody to write to you, or you can spend that time sending out letters to others. The same is true here…why should others interact with you if you’re not willing to start that conversation?

Follow up

The problem with fast-paced social media is just that…it’s fast paced! We have short attention spans when it comes to things on our feeds and sometimes follow too many accounts to keep track of what is going on, but you know what? You gotta do it. If you see some big news from somebody in your feed, make a note to follow up with that person in a few days! For example: If you see somebody post about getting the keys to their first house, be sure to tweet them in a few days to see how the move is going! Or check in with people you know who are going through finals at school or applying to a new job. Those people will be surprised and will most likely respond to your message pretty quickly. Again, be genuine!

Why? That’s how connections work. If you see that somebody tweeted about buying your recent ebook, follow up to see how they like the book…and maybe see if they’d be willing to submit a testimonial/review once they’re done! The person moving across the country may investigate you a bit more and see what an awesome writer you are and request a guest blog post from you while they’re busy moving! Or maybe that brand who sees you connection and influencing others contacts you for a partnership.

What other tips would you include to increase or improve Twitter interactions?

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Blogging self-paced ecourse

 

Last month, I announced an opportunity for Campfire Chic readers to get 9 months of FREE blogging tips from Amy of Lemon and Raspberry. Yes, NINE MONTHS OF FREE TIPS. Can’t beat that with a stick.

Hundreds of people have signed up for Amy’s blogging tips and I want to tell you a little bit more about this whole thing in hopes that you sign up as well.

Amy is launching an AMAZING self-paced blogging course in July. I say AMAZING because I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the course and spent plenty of time pestering Amy about everything from the course content and navigation to the resources she’s including and exclusive interviews.

Now, if Amy has 9 months of weekly blogging tips to send out, imagine what she has planned for this course! Amazing. Seriously. You can read the breakdown of the syllabus when you sign up for the free weekly emails, I won’t go into it here.

Two awesome things about this course:

Awesome thing number one - I contributed an interview that’s a little bit different than the others because it wasn’t done via Skype! I drove all the way to Amy’s house, poured myself out of my car, went for a walk around her neighborhood, and sat down for over an hour with her talking about building a blogging community.

You can hear my voice (which sounds totally weird to me), see how long my hair is (for now!) and get my #1 tip for building a community in the video below

 

Awesome thing number two –  if you sign up for the 9 months of free blogging tips, you will get a promotional code to get Amy’s BUILD self-paced course for half price. Yes, email subscribers will get 50% at the time of the launch, which is just another incredible reason to get on the mailing list!

 

To review: Free blogging tips, a mega discount for Amy’s upcoming ecourse, and more from me on building community.

Get on the BUILD mailing list now.

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5 Things to Triple Check Before Sending Out Your Next Newsletter

 

Learn from my mistakes:
Triple-check your newsletter
before hitting publish.

You know what? I made a pretty dumb mistake with my latest newsletter…I didn’t triple check it. I have my cool people-will-totally-open-this-email subject line swapped with my Mail-Chimp-dashboard-friendly title. I lost more subscribers and had fewer opens than in the previous four months.

 

Let me tell you, if I was a bigger company or trying to sell something in the last newsletter, it would’ve been a terrible campaign. But because I use my newsletter to connect with readers I just feel like I did a poor job of reaching out…the newsletter landed in my inbox Tuesday morning and all I thought was, “what the hell is this???” and my heart sank.

 

Newsletter Subject Line - Things to Triple Check Before Hitting Send by Campfire Chic

 

If I wasn’t willing to open MY OWN EMAIL why would anybody else open it. Seriously. So I want to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who did end up opening the newsletter…you’re a better person than me.

 

5 Things to Triple Check Before
Sending Out Your Next Newsletter

 

Subject Line

The subject line is so so so very important. It really is. Think about all the junk mail that comes into your inbox on a daily basis…how do you decide to open something? Based on the subject line, most likely. The same goes for blog post titles, but we’ve talked about that plenty of times in the past. Don’t make my mistake: The subject line is the first line of your copy and what is the one thing you need to remember about good copy? The each sentence is designed to get the reader to continue reading. A crap-tastic subject line of “Campfire Chic Newsletter” doesn’t quite have the same impact as “Are you ready to take some brave steps? // Campfire Chic May 2013 Newsletter“.

 

 

Call to Action

Why are you emailing people and taking up space in their inbox if you don’t have some sort of call to action? It’s like calling me in the middle of the newest episode of Mad Men and not having anything to talk about. It just doesn’t make sense. Your call to action is a verb…what do you want your subscribers to DO? Do you want them to read through, get inspired, and buy your ebook? Do you want them to see that you have cool things planned for the next month and they should advertise on your site? Or maybe you want them to help you boost your Facebook page and throw a “like” your way. Whatever it is, make sure you have one and make sure it is pretty evident.

 

Invitation to Connect

Like I said…you’re taking up space in somebody’s inbox. That’s kind of personal, you know? They’re allowing you to queue up next to emails from their grandmothers, offers to connect via LinkedIn, and the blogs to which they subscribe via email. You’re lucky to be included, let’s be honest. So why not connect with your subscribers more? They took the time to subscribe to your newsletter, why not give some of that time back? You know the basic ways of getting people to connect with you: follow me on Twitter! etc. So why not be different than your counterparts and ask your subscribers to respond to a question you pose via email? I subscribe to an awesome newsletter that starts out with a short ancedote and then the author tells readers what he’s drinking and asks us to hit reply and let him know what we’re drinking that morning. It’s something that makes me feel like I know him more than if he was just some guy sending out a newsletter. Connect: you won’t regret it.

 

Take Away

Okay, so we’ve checked the subject line, the call to action, and asked tried to connect with readers in a different way. What’s next? Oh yeah, what do your subscribers get out of your newsletter? You’re taking up space in their inboxes, you are trying to sell them something, and you’re wanting to know what they drink…but what are they actually getting out of reading what you have to say? A take away is something that your reader gains from opening your email…exclusive content (interviews, tutorials, reviews), discounts on products or services, and even homework count as take aways.

 

Spelling

I’m not going to include grammar in this section because I’m sure I have a hanging preposition or split infinitive floating around in here someplace. But at the very least, check your spelling on some common words: your name (my phone thinks my name is Jam)…your brand…and the word ‘newsletter’ because I type it as newslelerr a lot when I’m typing quickly. Just do a quick scan.
 
What other tips would you add to this list?

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Take a blog break

 With summer starting in the Northern Hemisphere, I’m sure many Campfire Chic readers are starting to plan a handful of staycations, long weekends, and maybe even extended vacations away from home. But what about your blog? Will you let your blog sit untouched for a few weeks while you’re off, or do you hope to plan ahead so your readers won’t know you’re out of town until after you return? Today’s post focuses on a few tips on how to prepare your blog for a blog break, vacation, or an extended leave of absence.

 

Take it from somebody who has a few things on her plate and manages to have posts go up five days a week…planning ahead is essential if you feel like you want your blog to be “live” while you are away from your computer. Today’s tips can be used for a long weekend away from home or even as you prepare to for a hiatus from the blogging world (Think: a long backpacking trip or maternity leave)

 

Write everything down

Like what? First off, start with writing down when you plan to leave for your trip! At least that way you can actually see your deadline. Next: write down all the “stuff” you need to do before you leave…the guest posts you promised, the affiliate payments that are due, the newsletter you have tentatively planned, the blog posts you want to write…all of it! Get it down and take a step back…does everything need to be done? Can the blog re-design wait? Can you get an extension on that guest blog post? Take inventory and see what you can outsource…like, I’ll sometimes recruit Alex to help me get links for my Essential Reading posts! Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you may find it is exactly what you need.

 

Stockpile

Even if your trip isn’t for a few months from now, start stockpiling on blog posts now. Scary? Maybe. Starting now on a few drafts (or maybe even a few fully worked out posts!) will make the time leading up to your trick less stressful. Take a look at your current blogging schedule: are you posting three times a week? Aim to have enough posts ready to roll that you can even have a few go up during the days leading up to your departure as well as the few days upon your return. The last thing you want to worry about is whether or not you have a blog post scheduled when you are running through an airport terminal in a desperate attempt to catch your flight home.

 

Automate things

Another thing to start stockpiling? Social media updates! Now, some purists will scoff at the idea, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with planning a few tweets/updates to go up while you are out of town…what if badguys are watching your Twitter feed and notice that you went from 10 updates a day to 0 over a long weekend? Yeah, BADGUYS. So don’t let the badguys win and schedule some updates! I like to use Hootsuite to schedule updates for Twitter and Facebook since those are my most used social media platforms.

 

Pro tip: You can schedule updates for blog posts that haven’t gone up yet if you use the permalink to the post. That way, if you don’t have a plugin on your site that automatically sends out updates with new content! Another option? Set up an IFTTT channel to automatically send updates to different platforms. Automatically pushing the new content to your social media accounts will ease your mind and help to continue to drive traffic to your site while you are off enjoying yourself.

 

This seems a little overwhelming, I know. Especially the part about creating content in advance. For that, I’m going to (not-so-humbly) suggest picking up a copy of Three Sixty-Five: Ideas for Blog Posts, Scrapbook Pages, and Art Journal Entries. For $5, you get 365 blog post ideas, which should hold you over for a while, right? The best part of the eresource is that I set it up to act as a springboard for you to come up with even more ideas! Get started.

 Here are some additional resources:

 

How do you prepare your blog/shop for a vacation?

Do you have any other suggestions?

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