CampMinder Magazine Volume 2 - Page 10

How did we come to this realization? Time after time at our camp presentations and during phone calls, parents gave us glowing testimonials about “seeing the wonderful pictures every day.” They shared with their friends, as well as with families who were interested in sending their children to camp for the first time, how it made them feel so reassured and happy to see the photos. Their enthusiasm about “being able to see the fun at camp” and “spending hours browsing through all the photos,” really sunk in. We realized that the photos and news we post are the experience we offer our camp parents while their child is with us. No longer is it an afterthought or burden to determine who is going to take the pictures, how we would find the time to upload them, and what news we will post. Reevaluating our view of the importance of our news writing and photo uploading services made us change the way we approach them. Now it’s our goal to really WOW our parents with our photos and news. We want to exceed our parents’ expectations in this area as much as with their child’s overall camp experience, and so we are continually improving our photo service. Each year we reconsider how we take, sort, and upload our photos, as well as how we communicate news to parents. I want to share with you some tips that have helped us become more successful. Some tips for improving your photo posting 1. SPEND MORE MONEY. Posting quality photos of every camper is now one of our top strategic priorities. Some directors may question placing this much emphasis on photos, but I contend that the photos you post from camp have a profound impact on your parents’ perceptions of your whole program. For most of them, it’s all they see, and it’s the only impression they have of your camp. If you aren’t already committing a significant amount of time and money to your photo department, I suggest you allocate some of your marketing dollars there. Having a captive audience of camp parents view your photos, post them on their Facebook pages, and email them to their friends and family is one of the most effective ways for your current families to share your program with others. Thus, hiring a few more photographers and providing them with better equipment may be one of the wisest uses of your precious marketing dollars! Wowing parents with Photos & News Audrey Monke Gold Arrow Camp When we first started posting a few low-resolution digital pho- We realized that the photos and news we post are the experience we offer our camp parents while their child is with us. tos back in 2000, we had no idea how this seemingly innocuous service would become a source of parent complaints and camp director headaches a decade later. We found ourselves lamenting to one another, “Why did we ever start posting photos?” 2. TAKE PICTURES OF EVERY CAMPER. Why do you need all these photographers? In analyzing our parents’ feedback, one thing became crystal clear: It’s not enough to post beautiful pictures featuring smiling faces and adventures in the woods. Even the breath-taking sunset picture with the canoe silhouetted on the lake is not what parents want. THEY WANT TO SEE THEIR OWN KID. Period. In a camp of any size, that presents a challenge. For us, that translated into increasing from one photographer back in 2000 to five in 2011. But hiring enough photographers, we learned, was not quite enough. We had to start using The same thing happened when we started with news. We’d write up a few stories, but it seemed like no matter how hard we tried, we could not make all of our parents happy. We heard comments like, “Clearly your photographer likes girls more than boys, since today there were seventy-two pictures of girls and only thirty-five pictures of boys.” We began feeling discouraged and drained by the effort we were putting into writing news stories and taking photos and uploading them. But a few years ago, we had a revelation that completely changed our approach to our camp photography and news services. Despite the inevitable criticism, we realized that providing top quality photos and news gives our parents a rewarding experience while their child is at camp. This meant that more effort – not less – was necessary to make our photos and news a success. 10 | Volume 2 PHOTOS Gold Arrow Camp | 11