Wander into the New Year on the Right Foot: January 2018

The New Year ahead of us is filled with possibility. We recommend wandering into 2018 on the right foot and setting yourself up to reach new audiences and inspire visitors to Come Wander over to your business.

Each month, OHTO poses a new Monthly Guiding Question to you, our industry partners. These questions are created to spark creativity, uncover insider insight, and gather information beyond what would typically be included in a tourism directory. Our team takes the responses received to these questions, drills down to find the content nugget, and works with respondents to gather more information when necessary to develop a compelling story to be featured on ComeWander.ca, across social channels and through other content initiatives, such as our influencer program, media trips, and targeted emails. We also share these responses with our partners at a sub-regional level and feed them into applicable provincial opportunities.

Taking time to respond to these questions is one of the simplest ways to share your story through the Come Wander brand.  Here are our tips for how you can craft creative and effective responses to OHTO’s Monthly Guiding Questions:

  • Understand the Come Wander Brand – The Come Wander brand has been created to exemplify the trust, freedom, and beauty of wandering. The written and visual representation of the Come Wander brand should capture the moment of experiencing something for the first time, stimulate the senses and capture an emotion – not just an observation. In other words, the emphasis on written content should be placed on communicating the emotion attached to an activity, rather than simply the activity itself. For more information and examples of content in line with Come Wander, take a look at the Come Wander Content Guide.
  • Remember Your Audience –OHTO may be the one directly receiving your responses, but you should still be writing these for your visitor. Put the visitor first and try to share information and suggestions you would tell a real-life visitor if they were standing in front of you asking the question.
  • Get Creative –Try not to simply answer the question and leave it at that. We all have the potential to be storytellers, and with our knowledge of our communities and businesses going beyond just basic facts, this is your chance to share what you know, and what you have to offer, in a creative and engaging way.
  • Keep Your Key Messages in Mind –At the end of the day, your motivation for answering these Monthly Questions is to share your story and inspire visitation. Keep in mind what it is you want visitors to know about your business or community, and why they should visit you, and do your best to include these types of key points in your response.

Those are our tips, now let’s put them into action! Below is a hypothetical example of how to take a standard response and make it truly stand out.  NOTE: no response submitted is ever ‘bad’ or ‘not good’.  We simply want to share ideas of how to put your best foot forward and craft the best response possible!

Say we own a café and the question posed was, What experiences do you look forward to most when the snow thaws and spring arrives?”

A standard response could be: “Warm weather and the maple season.”

This response answers the question, but could be improved using the tips above to better highlight the business, incorporate the visitor experience, and inspire visitation.

A Standout Response could be: “We look forward to the flavours that take over our menu with the arrival of spring. Our menu features specials each season to highlight local products and spring is one of our absolute favourites as we get to play with the sweet notes of local maple syrup, the refreshing zing of lemon, and the early arrival of fruits and veggies. We try to capture the feeling of spring inside the café –in the sugary essence of a maple scone, or the refreshing notes of a lemon asparagus and ricotta tartlet. Indulging in these flavours is a great way to celebrate one of those early, unexpectedly warm spring days.”

This response builds on the answer above to explain why the café is looking forward to warm weather and the maple season, and how this impacts the business. It not only tells a story, but also incorporates key information about the business in an engaging, descriptive way. From this, we immediately know that the café’s menu changes with the seasons, we get a sample of the types of flavours highlighted in spring, and insight into the visitor’s experience.

This could inspire a story about the flavours of spring in Ontario’s Highlands or about unconventional ways to celebrate the first few unexpectedly warm spring days, both of which would highlight the café and incorporate information directly from this response. By taking a few minutes to expand on a standard response using the tips above, you can help your response standout and increase the likelihood that a story inspired on Comewander.ca will contain the key messages you want shared with the visitor.

Sound simple? We understand that content marketing is a new approach for many of you and that it can be challenging to come up with a creative response that ticks every box.  I hope you find the above tips useful and encourage you to do your best! And remember, we are here for support!

Please feel free to contact me by email, or give me a call at 613-629-6486 ext. 202 with any questions or to chat about how we can work together to share your story through Come Wander.

Happy New Year and best wishes for a successful 2018!

Julie Mulligan

Marketing Manager, OHTO