The Ultimate Content Marketing Cheat Sheet for Destination Brands

Content marketing=The creation and sharing of marketing content (stories, videos, images, etc.) for the purpose of attracting customers.

If your tourism/destination/entertainment business hasn’t yet invested in content marketing based on a perception that it’s “just a fad”, or “restaurants can’t do content marketing” or “content marketing only works with locals”, it’s time to re-think your perspective.

The facts are: Content marketing is here to stay for a while, and any brand can use the tactic to increase spend with best customers/visitors and draw in prospects that look just like those best customers.

So which content marketing techniques have the best ROI? The short answer is: Those that are guided by the characteristics and “buy buttons” of your best customers, which can be better understood once you’ve completed best customer profiling research. Once you have that insight, you’ll be able to knock out effective content, especially if it’s developed with these best practices in mind:

Transform your guests into content producers.
When you create opportunities and motivation for your guests to share their experiences , you leverage the full power of the unpaid, unbiased endorsement. Few tactics are more powerful.

Examples of guest content you can include on your website, newsletters, and social channels are:

– Guest-authored blog posts
– Video testimonials
– Video reviews
– Selfie sharing

And that’s just the beginning of the list.

Moderation is a must. But don’t be afraid to let your guests keep it real, too. A video that’s overall positive about a mom’s experience at a tourist attraction, but includes a moment where she laments the attraction’s lack of convenient parking, will come off as authentic and relatable. This type of content also gives you the chance to step up in your very best “brand voice” fashion and address the situation in a public forum – thus scoring further content marketing points.

Speaking of videos – let your cameras roll!!!!!!

What’s up with all of those exclamation points, you ask? Because we really really really want to get the point across that video is really really really important. Not only is it a preferred method of content consumption among millions of consumers, social media platforms are increasingly giving video content increased preference over aother types of content.

The possibilities for video content are crazy rich. Here are a few right off the top of our heads:

– Restaurants: “Kitchen tours” where the chef talks about new menu items.
– Tourism bureaus: Travelogues (led by a guest? A celebrity?) that give prospective visitors a front row seat that entices them to come find out more.
– Destinations: “Hack videos” where savvy customers offer hacks (tips) that help other customers save mone or have a better experience.

Harness the power of blogging.

In an earlier article, we talked about how blogging can play a starring role in a business’s content marketing strategy, despite the fact that it’s one of the oldest digital content platforms.

For entertainment and destination brands, blogs can be used with great effectiveness to publish:

– Tips, tricks and hacks your guests will eat up.
– Content showcasing all aspects of your brand experience that can be recycled across tons of platforms.
– Showing your team’s personality (“Take a tour of our city with none other than the top dog of tourism herself, our CEO”).
– Highlighting underutilized or under-trafficked aspects of your brand experience.

Listicles really work. Click here to learn the 5 reasons why.

Don’t listen to posers – er, we meant to say “self-professed marketing experts”- who want to declare “listicles” dead, dying, or cliché. (Listicles = “5 Tips For Whatever” or “10 Things to Do With Your Kids”, “7 Menu Items You’ll Love to Share” types of content .)

For the time being, listicles are neither dead nor dying. And as for cliché – well, your conversion rate (the percentage of marketing traffic you generate that turns into actual customers) doesn’t distinguish between conversions that happened as the result of an (alleged) content cliché or by some other means.

Ours is a sound-byte, short attention span marketplace. Listicles make it easy to get a lot of information in front of your audience in an easily-digested format. And as long as you’re taking care to reject “click bait” content in favor of high quality content that speaks to your best customers’ motivations, you’ll always be free of the risk of becoming a content marketing cliché.

Use infographics. But be smart about it.

Infographics are another highly effective content marketing technique – but use them with caution. Your infographic about best times to visit XYZ City may contain killer tips, but if it’s not designed properly, it won’t integrate well into digital environments.

Also, don’t whip ’em out just so you can say “We’re doing infographics, so we must be cool.” Instead, use infographics when you want to highlight content that’s best understood when conveyed in graphic text format – such as content with a lot of numbers or stats, or “if this, then that” types of content.

Think “shareable”. But don’t try to force viral.

Content that goes viral usually has one or more of the following characteristics:

– Timeliness (It’s relevant to current events, the time of year, etc.)
– Humor
– Drama
– Pathos
– Can’t-stop-looking-at-it cuteness
– Easily understandable (Not too many podcasts discussing themes and structures of subterranean leitmotifs of the Italian New Wave cinema go viral.)

BUT- just because your content has these features doesn’t mean it will go viral – and a brand’s attempts to force viral campaigns can easily come off as cheesy and self conscious. Remember, you don’t have to “go viral” around the world in order to get the results you’re after – you just to resonate with your target audience. A video that gets a million views on YouTube will provide bragging rights to your marketing team, but if most of those viewers weren’t in your best customer/visitor demographic, then going viral didn’t really do much for your bottom line.

Borrow from a winning playbook – but don’t be afraid to get creative.

It always pays to take notice of content marketing that seems to work for competitors and colleagues and appropriate accordingly. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and do a little bit of your own thing, too.

Throw budget and time constraints out of the window and brainstorm clever ideas for podcasts, slide shares, animated videos, and blogs that are guest authored by A-list celebrities. Even if you can’t pull off your most over-the-top notion, you’ll find that the brainstorming process also leads to realistic but clever ideas that can help you bring your A game to your content marketing strategy.

Related Articles and Resources:

“Thinking About Best Customer Profiling? Do It Now.”
MindEcology Social Media Services
MindEcology Best Customer Profiling Research
Content Marketing Resources from Social Media Examiner

Our Austin advertising agency speaks social, website and more. If you’re ready to turn up the volume on your content marketing strategy, let’s talk.