Planning storytelling interpretation CHECKLIST TO HELP BRING SPECIAL PLACES TO LIFE

How can you bring the special places that you look after to life? Here is a simplified checklist to help you in the planning process to develop storytelling at your visitor site. As a special bonus there's also a worksheet to help you through the process.

Where do you start?

  • What is your objective e.g. ‘to increase visitor appreciation and enjoyment of the site or ‘to highlight the hidden stories about a place’ e.g. historical events or describe what once existed on the site
  • Identify your likely audience and target audience and what they want from the site
  • How can you achieve your objective? Think about the different media options: sign, brochure, audio, app, website, guide etc
  • Decide on the location/site and if using signs the ideal placement
  • What are the likely stories at the site? Themes?
  • Is the site related to other local attractions/places of interest? What considerations do you need to make?
Tupapa heritage trail, Gisborne New Zealand. Image credit: Sandra Groves

Engaging a contractor?

  • Decide what tasks you will pass to a contractor to complete
  • Select a contractor to do a range of tasks – e.g. research, writing, editing, design etc
  • Keep in contact with contractor throughout project
  • Sign-off with contractor when completed

Project management

  • Have you determined your budget for the project? Do you have funding for promotion of the site? Have you considered running costs (human and financial) of your chosen medium?
  • Have you selected the resources you will need? Images, maps, people, books etc
  • Have you determined your timeframe for completion? Be realistic?
  • Have you drafted your project plan? (Separate project plan template coming soon)


  • Have you decided what digital channels to use – website, social media, app etc
  • Have you drafted content for media releases, articles, brochure, advertising
  • Will you need to develop other communications around the site? Celebrate your success!

Long-term prospects for the site

  • How long will the information be valid? Will you need to update the info at some stage?
  • What maintenance if any is required? How frequent?
  • Any updates required for publications – e.g. reprints etc

Complete information on worksheet

Downloadable copy of planning visitor storytelling checklist and worksheet.

Created by Sandra Groves, First Chapter, Gisborne New Zealand. August 2019.


Tupapa heritage trail Gisborne New Zealand. Credit: Sandra Groves.

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