MIR’s complex, multi-language website was vastly expanded in 2014, then completely refreshed in 2020 – in large part thanks to MIR’s brilliant marketing director who envisioned things we could never imagine, and then made it a reality. (And thanks to her, our blazing marketing team won multiple top travel industry awards year after year for MIR’s website and catalog.) The site builder is a customized version of WordPress, using Gutenberg/Block Editor. Because of the COVID pandemic, many website stories, videos, and tours I worked on (such as Iran) have been removed from public viewing.
I wrote more than 400 stories for MIR’s website: with my byline; ghost-written for top management and local/international staff giving them the byline; or bylined with “MIR Corporation” as evergreen marketing material. Memorable in-depth travel series included Turkey, driving through Siberia in a 1928 Plymouth Roadster, and – my favorite – “MIR’s 30 Years,” with 13 blog posts and 13 videos exploring MIR’s early history and remarkable travel offerings.
PORTFOLIO BLOG POSTS: UZBEKISTAN, CENTRAL ASIA & CROATIA
I chose these examples simply because I love Uzbekistan – all of it! – and I love Croatia – especially Dubrovnik. I lived and worked in Uzbekistan as a Soviet TV correspondent reporting in Russian, and lived with an Uzbek family. This opportunity changed my life and opened my heart even more to Central Asia. As well, I lived in Croatia as a college student studying Serbo-Croatian and economics, and had the opportunity to travel through this dazzling country. Once the pandemic ends, I hope my stories and videos inspire travelers to add Uzbekistan and Croatia to their bucket lists.
PORTFOLIO SERIES: MIR’s 30 YEARS
I’ve chosen this portfolio series – part of a 13-part marketing campaign I created on MIR’s beginning and its vast travel offerings – as an example of the company president sharing his vision for what seemed impossible at the time: playing volleyball with Soviet Olympic athletes, which led to the serendipitous founding of his travel company. It also illustrates how we took stand-alone videos and embedded them into multiple blog posts – adding life and vibrancy to MIR’s travel destinations by simply re-purposing existing content. This volleyball story was an illuminating collaboration with MIR’s president; I learned so much about the company and was entranced – so, I reasoned, why wouldn’t others?
A second story in this series is an example of how I created a stand-alone video that could be used not only in a blog post about MIR’s history, but also could be re-purposed to illustrate and promote MIR’s rare tour to Kazakhstan to witness a Russian space launch.
PORTFOLIO MIX: TARGETING TOP-TIER DMC MARKET
This is an example of drawing upon several related blog posts and videos and combining them into a singular South Caucasus story to appeal to a very specific audience: DMC. These are destination marketing companies that work with high-end luxury organizations and bespoke clients: the crème de la crème. Using a different website builder, SquareSpace, I built blog posts that had originated on MIR’s consumer-oriented website, and reworked and streamlined them for the DMC audience. I enjoyed experimenting with SquareSpace’s features, such as image lightboxes. In addition to working on this DMC website, I also created email newsletters targeted to this specific DMC market.
In this example, I rewrote stories I and others had written and then embedded four videos I had created on the South Caucasus countries of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, showcasing specific UNESCO highlights that would appeal to the DMC audience. Click on the photo below, or click here for the story. (The DMC website builder doesn’t allow thumbnail embeds the way the regular MIR website does.)
PORTFOLIO: OTHER BLOG POST EXAMPLES
These are a few thumbnails of the bylined stories I wrote at MIR, illustrating the breadth and depth of linguistic knowledge, travel experience, and research required – from writing about sacred Potala Palace in Tibet and why church bells ring so distinctively in Russia to delving into how the Cappadocian moonscape was formed in Turkey and marveling at a brave Soviet artist who secretly spirited thousands of forbidden Soviet paintings into the desert of Uzbekistan. Note that since the COVID pandemic, these are “unpublished” and no longer available for public view.
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