Creating Content to Entice Travel
As we work through the development of a digital strategic / action plan for one of our larger destination marketing organization (DMO) clients, the question of content…specifically content marketing…is one that arises often.
For a touch of insight into our thinking and strategic process, we want to introduce our concept of goal-based content creation…a process we are currently utilizing for this DMO client.
Too often, DMOs, CVBs and tourism organizations create content simply for the sake of creating content.
Check the content marketing box, we just published a blog post with a video!
Unfortunately, the creation of content is often driven by one of two external, and inappropriate, forces…pacifying politics and / or search popularity.
Certainly, both have a place in guiding content development, but for many of our peers there is simply too much influence given to these factors.
Pacify the Problems
Let us start at the bottom of this proverbial pyramid of content, with content that is designed to pacify. You know the kind, a request from a member, stakeholder, peer or ‘expert’ who thinks…likely bolstered by their own gut feeling…that there should really be a section on the site dedicated to ol’ Bill.
Because, you know, he started the boardwalk.
You can spot pacifying content by the level of support it receives, typically, it is one person, requesting a very specific story, video or photo, because they think other people are looking for that information.
Do your best to kill these content requests. Use statistics, goals, strategic plans as your defense. Resist the temptation to give in to the content fallacies of a mad man.
Pacifying content makes related content worse. Turns useful websites into a wasteland of useless paragraphs. It adds confusion, bulk, wrong answers and consumer frustration.
Kill the pacifying content.
Searching for Eyeballs
The second commonly found content group is search-specific content. On the surface, a well-known and widely praised content marketing technique: Find out what people are looking for and create content for them.
However, your organization needs to A) prove relevance and expertise in terms of the content and B) understand how search content impacts goals.
Many of our clients have spent thousands on content marketing development, experts and agencies, only to find themselves with a few hundred, frequently poorly written stories that deliver few visitors and even fewer conversions.
Instead of approaching search content with this question:
How can we create content that people are searching for?
You should be approaching content with this question:
How can we create content that answers a question worth searching for?
Don’t create content to capture a mass audience, create content to answer a question that encourages travel.
Content that Entices Travel
Ah, the good stuff. The content you should be creating, but don’t, because no one told you how. The difference is creating specific content, and only content, that entices people to travel.
For example, content that highlights fun facts, or did you know trivia does little to entice travel. Sure, it checked the content marketing box, and probably attracted quite a few search visits, but did it actually convince anyone to travel to your destination?
You tell me, which is the travel-enticing headline?
Fun facts about our state…including, the state bird!
How do I get from the airport to the convention center?
Don’t focus on the specific content examples, rather ask yourself a simple question: which piece of content is more likely to represent / result in a visit to our destination?
Your tourism content does not have to be focused on a question and answer format, but it should be focused on the strategic goals that have been set for your organization.
Develop content that connects directly to a strategic goal, instead of pacifying or searching for clicks.
Auditing Your Content
Clients regularly come to us with a request for a content audit, but the needs are far greater than a simple count and categorization of existing stories, blog posts and articles.
Creating content is not a content marketing plan. You must examine and classify content, understand how it works, how it should work, what the consumer needs, what the consumer wants and how all content leads back to a core goal.
Start with this simple set of questions, and ask them each time you create a new piece of content:
What type of scenario would cause a consumer to need this content?
You should understand what, why and how the consumer came to need this content.
Does this content scenario answer a consumer need / entice travel to our destination?
A simple question, does the consumer need this content from your DMO or CVB, and will it entice them to travel.
Does that consumer need directly answer a strategic goal?
Yes or no. Would answering the consumer’s question…their content need…result in a measurable goal?
I can assure you, that your website contains each of the content examples talked about in this article.
As you begin or continue your content marketing strategy, consider the different types of content and the ROI of each.
Kill pacifying content, shrink search content and expand travel-enticing content.