If you’re an outdoor brand (of any capacity), you’re familiar with weekend warriors—the segment of your audience that eats, sleeps and breathes extreme adventure. They’re fluent in the language of the outdoors: they know the top gear, the best spots, the trade secrets and all the dos and don’ts of playing outside.
But what about that segment of your audience who, simply put, don’t speak “outdoors”? Maybe they grew up in the city and aren’t used to hearing the mountains call or were intimated by the “extreme-ness” of the outdoor industry in general. Well, these folks are now coming for the outdoors in a casual, more bite-sized and totally awesome way. Let’s call them “weekend wanderers”.
Over the last few years, we’ve noticed a large influx of outdoor brands coming to us with this question: how do we create and market content that invites these nature-newcomers safely and effectively? Here are our top tips:
Connect with the Weekend Wanderer
This one calls for empathy. Just because you (and your brand) have been in a committed relationship with the outdoors for as long as you can remember doesn’t mean everyone has. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the weekend wanderer—someone who is just starting to fall for nature—and carry this sentiment through every piece of content you create. This could look like:
- Softening the language used around the outdoors. Instead of saying “gnarly”, “extreme” or “ultra-endurance”, try words like “casual”, “mellow” and “reconnecting”.
- Leaning on UGC (user-generated content) on your social media feeds to highlight everyday people getting outside.
- Opting to sponsor friends of your brand instead of pro-athletes for influencer campaigns and ambassador programs.
- Show people themselves in your content. Try replacing some product-centric content with people-centric content.
Recess Pickleball does a really good job at showcasing a wide range of bodies, genders and athletic abilities in their content.
Tailor Your Content
Weekend wanderers have a different set of wants—and needs—than weekend warriors. Knowing what the weekend wanderer is looking for in an outdoor brand will set you up to tailor your content—allowing you to further engage and connect by speaking to their specific desires.
But how do you know what the weekend wanderer is looking for? Ask them! Pose thoughtful questions about what products they want to see, what information they’re lacking and how your brand can better help them enjoy the outdoors. And yes, you have to listen to their answers.
If you’re looking for honest ways to connect with your audience, no one does it better than Outdoor Voices.
Educate. Educate. Educate.
Maybe you grew up in a household where the phrase “leave no trace” was commonplace. Or stepping into the outdoors meant packing extra supplies and letting someone know your exact location and expected return time. This isn’t the case for most people.
Many experienced nature for the first time during the pandemic—and these hard-earned lessons that outdoor-extremists assume are common knowledge may get lost in translation. If you want nature-newcomers to support your brand and use your products, it’s also your responsibility to educate them on how to practice safe-outdooring. Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Create an Instagram swipe-through of common facts and myths about the outdoors.
- Host an IG Live to answer questions from your community and share expertise.
- Include best practices and how-to’s underneath your ecomm product descriptions.
- Establish open lines of communication with your audience—be there to help them.
- Have experts weigh in on topics you’re unsure about—and pay them for their time.
Patagonia dedicates a section of their website to educational articles and videos about the outdoors, how you can enjoy it and how you can protect it.
The outdoor space has lacked diversity for, well, it seems like forever. As an outdoor brand, not only is it your job to educate how to experience nature safely (and respectfully), but it’s also your responsibility to contribute to diversifying the outdoors. Here’s how diversity can show up in your content marketing:
- Use diverse talent—both in front and behind the camera—when shooting your next campaign.
- Create a buy-back program or donate used gear to a local organization helping the next generation get outside.
- Support local groups that are actively trying to diversify their local trails. You can check out a few of our faves here, here and here.
Be sure to keep these tips top-of-mind when strategizing how to appeal to weekend wanderers in your next campaign—not only will they propel your brand, they’ll help create social and environmental change too.