Distance is helping Whitney Bsharah help West Virginians reach tourists, and as a native living abroad she's observed changes in what audiences think about the Mountain State.
"I will always miss home, but I think living in Richmond helps give me insight into how people feel about visiting the state," she says, "and that's turned out to be a blessing."
Born and raised in Beckley, Bsharah is now a marketing consultant for West Virginia Explorer, the chief online magazine for West Virginia tourism.
"When I'm working with advertisers, I can feel the allure of West Virginia in a way that I think might be diminished if I still lived there," she said.
"It's important to be able to feel about West Virginia the way tourists do. The magic and wonder of traveling there stays with me."
Bsharah says she's zeroed in on three trends that might help businesses engage target audiences in cities across the U.S.
West Virginia never really leaves you.
Not every former West Virginian wants to move back, but many enjoy fond memories that inspire them to return to visit old stomping grounds, attend reunions, and explore family history. "Many of the stories we publish are written to kindle that interest in natives who no longer live in the state."
People associate West Virginia with the outdoors.
Many out-of-staters think of the outdoors when they think about West Virginia. "A lot of people consider West Virginia an adventure destination as much as anything—a place to simultaneously decompress and challenge themselves." The state's four seasons are very important draws and provide something for everyone.
The slower pace of life is a big attraction.
Many people think of West Virginia as a place where a slow pace of life is customary. "West Virginia is seen by many people as a reprieve," she says. "Here in Richmond, as well in other larger cities, so many are consumed with the day-to-day. It's always go-go-go-go.” There is the possibility of longing for what West Virginia offers.
For more information or to reach Whitney Bsharah about marketing with West Virginia Explorer, call 804-814-9508 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Advertising to find out more about our services.