January | 2016 Issue  
Heartland Byway Conference  
Russ and Laura featured speakers for The Path Less Traveled
 
The 2016 Heartland Byways Conference will be here before we know it. This year's conference will bring together the movers, shakers and innovators to address the challenges confronting our byways. With over 200 expected attendees and a wide roster of speakers, the collective insights are sure to hit on topics that may drive solutions for better community efforts.

Some of the topics to be covered in the breakout sessions include: Statewide Projects; Working with Volunteers; Marketing; Themed Passport Programs; Creating an Authentic Experience; GIS Mapping and more pertinent operational areas every byway leader needs to know.

Featured speakers include Michele Matt, Chuck Offenburger, and Roca and Laura Crawford addressing The Path Less Peddled. Since 1984, Michele Matt, CSP, has inspired the attitudes and actions of people in a variety of industries. Using a 10-step strategic planning process, she helps leaders create a strategic focus and organizational action plan for future success.

Chuck Offenburger has become one of the more popular public speakers in Iowa. He is in high demand with Chambers of Commerce, farm groups, economic development organizations, healthcare providers, journalism audiences, trail development groups, political groups and young professionals. Offenburger will speak about his experiences of growing up in Iowa and how to make these memories a lasting connection.

Russ Roca and Laura Crawford will share their experiences bicycling across the country and help us to understand ways in which bicycle travel can bring economic development to rural areas and partner with community members and rural tourism advocates to develop and grow the concept of bicycle tourism. 
 
Contributed by Brenda Windmuller, Conference Planner, Golden Hills RC & D

Tips on Social Media
  
  
If you have an elaborate editorial publishing calendar for your blog and other social channels, we salute you. If you're muddling along without any real plan, then steal this from our training team member Leslie McLellan, who also does destination marketing for several clients. The new year is a prime time to start a master calendar.  
 
Monday - General destination info, often with historical photos & tidbits. 
Tuesday -- Highlights from the Calendar of Events. 
Wednesday -- Recreation options in the area, usually outdoors. 
Thursday -- What's coming up for the weekend, & the weather forecast. 
Friday -- Highlight a local attraction.

Add or swap out with: arts & culture highlights, #TBT (Throwback Thursday,) local dining, beverages, or agri-tourism, or share partner social posts. Yes, you can make this a lot more elaborate. Yes, you can build in your search engine optimization (SEO) keywords and strategic seasonal marketing goals. But....if you aren't quite there yet, and just want to know what the heck to say online on the average Thursday, these structured tips are sure to help!

The Foundation has recently established a new Twitter account (@Americas Byways) and a strategy to gather many hashtags throughout our byway communities. To help us make it as robust as possible, please email your collection of twitter addresses tonsbsocialmedia@gmail.com and let us hear from you on a regular basis to keep the byway buzz moving.      

Contributed by Sheila Scarborough and Leslie McLellan of Tourism Currents
 
  
Educational Opportunities
Scholarships Available - April 4-6, 2016 - The Heartland Byway Conference will be held in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Heartland region is made up of Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri. Speakers and participants nationally are welcome. This conference is open to byway leaders as well as partners in the travel industry including agri-tourism business owners, chamber of commerce participants and development boards. Over 200 participants are expected. Featured speakers include Michele Matt, CSP, and  Chuck Offenburger, a popular Iowa public speaker. They will discuss ways in which bicycle travel can bring economic development to rural areas.

The National Scenic Byway Foundation is offering scholarships to attend this annual event. This opportunity is for no more than two byway leaders per byway. To qualify you must be a Foundation Member and belong to a Byway Organization. We encourage leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to broaden their knowledge and network at the conference. Click here to download the application due by February 15, 2016. 
  
For more information, contact Brenda Windmuller, Golden Hills RC&D712-482-3029,brenda@goldenhillsrcd.org To register, click here. 
Visit the conference facebook page Heartland Byways Conference.


Webinar - February 9, 2016 - The Foundation's next webinar is to be held at 4 p.m. EST. "Social Photography: How to Market Your Scenic Byway Online, With the Camera in Your Pocket" is being presented by Tourism Currents and sponsored by Market Wise.  Forward the event flyer to your colleagues and join in the discussion. 
 
Contributed by Sallie O'Hara, NSBF Director and Byway Community Support Co-Chair
National Scenic Byway Foundation | info@nsbfoundation.com | nsbfoundation.com
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