“Walk This Way”: Tips For Sidewalk Guides
“I do find walking is fundamental to my creative process.”
- Baz Luhrmann, Film Director
Sidewalk is reimagining how people discover their surroundings, with an emphasis on personal narratives and storytelling. We want to showcase a variety of locales and experiences, provided by a range of perspectives and voices. Anyone can curate a guided walk experience on the Sidewalk content platform and tell the stories of the places they know and love. Best of all, they can even earn a few bucks doing it. Sound intriguing? Download the app for iOS or Android and give it a shot.
Here is a quick overview of the Sidewalk creation platform and some pro-tips for getting started.
Nuts & Bolts
Access the Sidewalk content platform by opening the app and tapping on the pencil icon in the upper left hand corner. Add a photo and quick personal description to your profile to provide a glimpse into who you are. It’s also helps to remind people that their Guide has a heart beat.
Pick Your Guide Points
Once you have a theme and route in mind, it’s time to assemble your guide points. These points of interests can be places (ex. a bubble tea cafe, a one-of-a-kind craft store) or sights (ex. your favorite street art mural, an exceptional city vista). Most Sidewalks include 4 - 9 guide points and last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Tap the “Create a New Sidewalk” button, and follow the prompts to add your first guide point. Use the mapping tool to search for the name or address of your guide point and select the spot you want.
You can create your Sidewalk from home or while walking it. If you’re creating your Sidewalk on the fly, it may be helpful to do some pre-planning so you have a list of stops ready to go.
*Pro-tip: you can rename guide points whenever you like.
Make the Most of Walking Notes
After selecting your first guide point, the app asks if you would like to add a Walking Note (brief guidance to help get to the destination). While Sidewalk’s GPS will navigate people to each guide point, your Walking Notes will be helpful if places are difficult to spot.
You can also use Walking Notes to briefly call out fun facts or glance-worthy sights en route to a guide point.
*Pro-tip: Aim to keep the distance between each guide point to less than 5 minutes of walking.
Show It, Don’t Say It!
Each guide point includes sections to help tell the story. Most Guides include 4-6 sections, but it depends on the narrative. Content within each section should add rich, fascinating and specific ideas that add to the overall storyline.
*Pro-tip: The ideal paragraph length for each is 2-3 sentences, in order to keep your audience engaged and focused on the details.
- Overview: Tell your audience about what we’re looking at — in your own words — why it’s worth seeing or how it fits into your overall story. [Required]
- Recommendation: What are the insider tips that you would want your best friend to know about this place? Show off your savvy. Perhaps a must-order drink, a secret passage, a suggested activity. Keep it short and pithy, but be sure to say why you recommend it! [Required]
- Fun Fact: Add any entertaining trivia about the guide point. What fact will help someone remember the place, laugh out loud or contemplate it?
- Key History: Is there any background information one should know about this place? Historical significance? It may help to do some digging, whether in-person or online; you’d be surprised what you can learn about familiar places.
- How to Appreciate: Explain how this place is best enjoyed, savored or perceived. Is there a technique for eating a suggested food item, or a certain vantage point to find, a celebrity’s quotation about their experience there? Demonstrate why you are the expert.
- Hours: This section can include a location’s hours of operation or your recommendation on the best time to visit that particular point of interest.
- Custom Section: Have a part of the story to tell that doesn’t quite fit in any of the above sections? Create your own! These personalized additions can add extra color to the Sidewalk.
*Pro-tip: You can change the order of sections by sliding the section to the left and tapping the up or down arrow.
...And Take Photos!
Add photos to each guide point. Most guide points include 1-4 photos. You can either pull them in directly from the camera or from your photo album. We recommend taking them from your photo album since you will have more control over selection and possible editing.
*Pro-tip: Photos look best in the app when taken horizontally - ie. landscape, not portrait.
With your guide points completed, it’s time to tie everything together.
1. Create a title for the entire Sidewalk that will attract, inspire and give a taste of what to expect. Examples of top performing titles:
Skyscrapers, Art Deco & Bitter Rivalries: The Landmarks of Midtown East
Protest, Unity & Spray Paint: Street Art and Murals of the Mission District
Panoramas Then Pints: An Insider's Guide to the Marina Waterfront
Mansions of Nob Hill: The Robber Barons and the Stories Behind the Money
*Pro-tip: The first 3 words of your title matter most!
2. Write the overview for your Sidewalk. This is a short description that needs to sell the walk. Why should someone want to spend their afternoon on this Sidewalk? What are a few of the highlights they will experience along the way? What will they take away from the Sidewalk?
3. Select a cover photo that best represents the entire walk. Extra points if it is mysterious, colorful or stark. In a world where people judge the book by the cover, this photo is one of the most impactful ways to attract more people.
*Pro-tip: Photos with objects tend to perform better than general nature/city compositions, but there are exceptions to every rule.
4. Tap on the icons to select the Appropriate Audiences and Applicable Interests that are relevant to your Sidewalk.
5. In the Final Thoughts section, thank people for going on your Sidewalk and encourage them to share the it with others. This can make a huge difference in helping others discover your walk.
*Pro-tip: Use the Final Thoughts section to proactively thank people for providing a tip (i.e. “I created this because I’m interested in the neighborhood, but it does take work. Please show some love and leave me a tip for whatever the walk was worth to you. Thanks!”).
Publish + Spread the Word
When you are happy with your drafted Sidewalk, slide the toggle at the top of the page to publish it. Our editorial team will give it a quick once-over before it goes live. We encourage creative and colorful experiences, but we ask that people keep walks friendly, welcoming and engaging.
Once your walk goes live on the Sidewalk app, anyone can discover it. Spread the word by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, email and text directly from the app. Your Sidewalk will also have its own webpage which you can share with others.
Tips for Earning Tips
When people complete your Sidewalk, they’ll be encouraged to tip their Guide for the time and thought invested in creating a story-worthy experience. Sidewalks with the highest tips tend to feature surprising or memorable stories, and savvy and well-supported recommendations, all of which are told in an entertaining manner.
There’s no limit to the number of Sidewalks a Guide can create or the number of people who can go on any given Sidewalk.
One Last Thing
Let us know what questions you have about creating Sidewalks in the comments section below, we are always happy to help you!