You hear it everywhere. Content marketing. It’s a term that’s used a lot these days, particularly in the tourism world, and definitely within our organization. Done right, content marketing can be highly effective, but done wrong, your wheels might be spinning and you don’t know what to do next!
So how do you do make sure you are doing it right? The answer to this question is surprisingly less obvious than you might think. We can all recognize amazing content marketing campaigns, but can sometimes forget to note the elements that make them stand out.
Briefly defined (according to Dictionary.com), content marketing is:
“A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”
Read this sentence closely, because the answer to the question above lies in the first few words. Content marketing is the “…creation and sharing of online material…” (emphasis added).
Do you see which comes first? This chicken or the egg question is an element that is easy to miss in the rush to dive into the content marketing world. The first step in amazing content marketing is physically creating compelling content.
This means developing the written words that tug at something in your soul, the photos that make you long for the experience, or the video that takes your breath away.
At OHTO, partnership opportunities exist to help tourism stakeholders to develop killer content, specifically because we understand that the quote “if you build it, they will come” is 100 per cent true. First you need killer content that tells your compelling story. Once that part is in place, everything else naturally follows.
At this year’s OH! Tourism Summit in Pembroke, developing strong partnerships was the focus of the event, but the content marketing theme was nevertheless interwoven through every presentation. There was a lot of discussion about how to partner to extend your reach and elevate awareness of your brand, but beneath it all were the casual mentions of the challenges in creating that content in the first place.
If you’ve been looking for a way to strengthen your content, read on for more information about the challenges of creating content, and how to circumvent them.
- Identify your strongest assets and their message
If you just thought “well, duh” when you read the heading above, don’t be surprised if this is harder than you might think. Identifying your assets is about more than just writing down the name of a park or museum, it’s taking the time to sit and find a way to spin those assets in a way that delivers your curated message to the reader. One excellent example of this is the video created by OHTO in partnership with Hastings County that went beyond identifying Eagle’s Nest Lookout as an asset, it identified the message to relay to the visitor, loosely translated as simply: “Find serenity in Hastings County.”
- Plan ahead – waaaay ahead
Don’t expect to begin developing content to use in two months from now. Understand that there is often a long lead time between when you create your content and when it actually reaches the consumer, sometimes a year or more will pass while you sit squirming on amazing content you can’t wait to get out into the world, but you are waiting for the right opportunity. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint!
- Find good talent and communicate your goals clearly
Finding good talent means taking the time to source photographers, videographers and writers who understand what you are trying to create and have the experience and skills necessary to bring it to fruition. Ensuring that your goals for the project are well communicated will go far in avoiding disappointment later on in the game. Oh, and talent doesn’t refer only to your contractors – believe it or not, models are also considered talent, and they are just as crucial to creating inspiring content as those taking the photos or video.
- Coordinate the heck out of it (also known as pray for good weather)
Creating content is a logistical nightmare that can have you waking up in the middle of the night in a sweat, worried you will forget something. You need to coordinate schedules for the models, your contractors, and yourself, along with any businesses or operators who may be included in the content creation. And don’t forget about the weather! Mother Nature can be less than accommodating when you need sun for your shoot, so be prepared for inclement weather conditions.
- Don’t underestimate your audience
If you see your photos or video or written content and aren’t blown away by how awesome they are, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t do well in the marketing world. Be brutal in rejecting anything less than your vision. After all, if you aren’t moved by your content, how will your audience be? So if you aren’t sneaking back to your computer to replay your video or flip through your photos, think about why not and how you can improve your content development for next time.
OHTO’s Marketing Manager