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Sarah Woodall

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Sarah Woodall, Content Creator & Customer Relationship Manager at Visit Greenland, will be joining us on the 30th and 31st of March in Copenhagen for the second edition of the Content | CampusSarah will be talking about how and her team managed to get involved in the process of creation and therefore develop the sort of powerful content destinations should be creating today. If you haven't done it yet, make sure you secure your place to the leading event all about Content! 

Quick introduction to yourself and the work you do at Visit Greenland.

I'm Sarah Woodall, one of the international team members at Visit Greenland. While there are a select few of us, I'm the only Paraguay-born naturalized American citizen that now lives in Nuuk. As if that isn't enough of a conversation starter, I also have a nearly-too-good-to-be-true story that begins five years ago with a summer internship at Visit Greenland, which turned into getting my dream job, and ultimately led to the biggest change in my life - moving to Greenland.

I wear a few hats at Visit Greenland. These days I split my time between writing stories for our website and newsletters and supporting our international agent partners with their efforts to send travelers to Greenland. Not to mention, 2017 is a special year as we are hosting Vestnorden Travel Mart, an annual trade event that promotes travel to Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. So you can also add Event Coordinator to the list this year.

How many people are part of the Visit Greenland team and what is the main focus of your organisation?

Visit Greenland is a team of thirteen persons whose mission is to show that this culturally rich and unimaginably beautiful country we call home is also the perfect travel destination for Nature Lovers, Globetrotters and other adventurers. Our everyday is focused on three primary activities: content creation, customer relationship management, and market research.

We do content creation of our own stories, photos and films to market the country through our website www.greenland.com and our social media channels. These are supported by key partnerships with international media and influencers to help us tell our story.

We also do customer relationship management and partner training by attending trade shows, directly communicating with international travel specialists, and hosting FAM trips in our destinations.

Finally, we base our content and agent partnership decisions on analyses of market data which we collect ourselves as well as partner with Greenlandic and international firms to collect.

Can you tell us more about your 'Pioneers' video content series and how you created powerful destination content?

“Explorers by Nature” is the newly minted brand in South Greenland, and the portrait-style film series by the same name showcases individuals in the region who exude a pioneering mentality and lifestyle - that is to say, a life shaped by and dependent upon the surrounding nature.

The Pioneering People of Greenland is the official name we give to the people for whom Greenland is home, either by birth or by choice. Historically they have been pioneers in terms of human migration over seas, and presently they are pioneers in terms of adapting to and embracing environmental, social and infrastructural extremes.

“Be a Pioneer” is our branded call-to-action that taps into travelers’ adventurous, courageous and independent side. It urges them to take the road less travelled and go to a destination that perhaps no one else they know has been to, or even considered. By casting themselves into such an experience, they become pioneers.

The “Explorers by Nature” film series - a creative collaboration between Visit Greenland and Greenlandic filmmaker Ulannaq Ingemann - is the inspirational link that connects the pioneers on the local side with the pioneers on the traveler side.

What do you think makes the Pioneer video series a success and what can other destinations learn from that?

Each film has its own strongest element, like the dramatic music in Paninnguaq’s portrait and the breathtaking drone footage in Lars & Makkak’s portrait. But across all of the “Explorers by Nature” films, the red thread tieing them all together is an intimacy with the characters. In Thor’s portrait, we sit in his private kitchen listening to the radio with him.  With Paninnguaq Lind Jensen, the artist, we are right next to her face and at times so close to her eyes we can nearly see into her mind and how she’s thinking about the painting as it unfolds on the easel in front of her.

I can see the beauty in any fantastic photo or nature show on mute, but only when it is paired with powerful music does it have the ability to capture me in debilitating awe. I think any destination should dedicate good time to selecting the perfect emotive score to hold viewers in rapt attention for a few minutes.

What is your approach to creating content?

At Visit Greenland we create content with purpose to cater to the 11 traveller market segments in Greenland. Every article, every photo shoot brainstorm, every photo purchase is conceptualised or chosen using a fine-grade sieve of questions like, “What segment would this appeal to? What segment do we already have plenty of content for?” and "What segment do we lack content for?”

How do you identify those stories to highlight and create content around?

We enjoy the blessing and curse of having SO many different angles and storylines to grab hold of in Greenland. We definitely let the content calendar get shaped by a pleasant combination of 3 things: evergreen content like unbelievably tall icebergs next to tiny boats that hit no matter what day or time (like one by @danielkordan), product development content to help the local operators get eyes on their new experiences or lodges, and piping hot trending content that needs to come out yesterday to be relevant (like our “Happy in Greenland” film that jumped on the Pharell Williams trend).

In your opinion, what can other destinations learn from Visit Greenland's decision to get involved in the process of content creation? 

Keeping our own hand in the content card game is a great way to ensure sustainability - not only for the strength of the Be a Pioneer brand but also for the careers of local photographers and filmmakers. International content creators of course have the freedom to put their own spin on a destination and we love to partner with them for completely fresh viewpoints, but there is always a small risk that the final product does not jive perfectly with the brand we have put so much effort into creating. If we maintain control of some of the content, we are able to ensure the longevity of the pioneer brand while supporting local talent at the same time.

What are some of the outcomes / learnings / results so far?

Breathtaking natural landscapes sell, no doubt about it. Put up a mediocre mountain or northern lights photo on Instagram and it gets several hundred more likes than a cultural shot of a girl in the colourful national costume, for example. But what also grabs attention is content with some sort of shock factor - like my own @polarphile shot of evening rush hour in the center of Nuuk with approximately 10 cars and a few buses in the queue, or the final minute of an airplane landing in the middle of snowy peaks, shot from the cockpit (like one by @malik_niemann).

Why should DMOs not miss your talk at the Content | Campus?

While Greenland is gaining momentum as a household name with reference to Bucket Lists and adventure travel dreams and finally breaking free of the long-standing association with igloos (which Greenlanders do not live in, in case anyone was wondering), the world is still very much in a discovery phase about Greenland.

My talk is a can't-miss because it gives you the chance to discover Greenland. I’m coming with the absolute best content out there that we have - created by incredibly talented Greenlanders and viral-worthy global influencers alike - and I might even have a little sneak peak treat in tow.

What are you looking forward to the most at the Content | Campus?

I’m really looking forward to the Tourism Australia keynote! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been exposed to their content in the past year at various trade shows and tourism conferences. It seems they absolutely are a leader in content trends like digital technology and first-person storytelling - certainly an organisation with a lot of knowledge and inspiration to share. They’re going to be a hard act to follow!

 Photo Credit: Mads Pihl / Visit Greenland.

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