“Navigating COVID-19 in Putnam County”: Kelli Steele – Show Notes and Highlights

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic Agency
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Kelli Steele
  • Position: Executive Director at Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Favorite Destination: Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Dream Destination: The Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest or Europe

“Navigating COVID-19 in Putnam County” – Show Notes and Highlights


Show Highlights

About Kelli

  • Kelli got her bachelor’s degree from Marshall University in West Virginia where she currently still resides. With an advertising degree and a marketing minor, her first job out of college was at a PR firm. Then, she worked in the marketing department at an industrial company. Becoming restless with her work, she freelanced as a graphic designer and photographer and soon built a small business working as a one-woman marketing department for other organizations. She ran the business for 12 years and worked from home. 
  • After 12 years of working from home and raising kids, she became restless again. That’s when the job at the Putnam County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau opened up and fit her experience and desires perfectly.
  • She learned everything she could about the tourism industry and received TMP certification from the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College.

Navigating COVID-19

  • Kelli has a group text message with other CVBs nearby and they started doing weekly Zoom meetings to share ideas and information. 
  • Kelli shared a free software program called Visme she used to create an infographic for her website to identify what restaurants had dine-in, takeout, carryout, etc. 
  • She and her friends also collaborated to create an Instagram account called WV Metro Valley where they highlight and talk about things to do on Route 60. They call it the “Route 60 Ramble.” It’s the perfect way to show people what’s right in their backyard.
  • In April, Kelli created a marketing plan amendment for COVID-19. She paused all marketing efforts and focused to see what people were going to do next. When outdoors became a popular topic, she took some collateral pieces her area was already working on and took better photos and videos to make the marketing pieces even better. 
  • During that time, she also added more digital marketing to her mix including display ads, retargeting, and social media specifically targeted toward drive markets four hours or less away from her destination.
  • She bought a GoPro! Creating new things to better the customer experience doesn’t have to be hard. She put the camera on her car’s dashboard and did timelapses of how to get to trailheads that are hard to find. She walks and hikes with it. It’s a great tool for social media, websites, and more.  
  • One act of recovery that Kelli is working on is collaborating with venues that hosted one of the many sports tournaments in the area before COVID-19. She is working to partner with them for sports marketing in 2022. Thinking about the long game in this way is important. 
  • In the next six months, Kelli will continue these strategies of new content creation, digital advertising, and regional and state collaboration focusing on outdoor recreation messages. 

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast