How Blogging, Mobile and Google are Changing the Way DMOs Develop Content

How Blogging, Mobile and Google are Changing the Way DMOs Develop Content

Travel is a dynamic process.

Growing, changing, evolving. Dependent on the weather, the curious whims of your friends and the random turn down an undiscovered street.

So why do DMOs continue to create, market and hope that static content will entice, influence or encourage visitors to explore their destination?

Static content is worthless.

Should You Build Content or Apps?

We covered the recent launch of Google Field Trip, the location exploration app, as a decision point for destinations.

Build content or develop apps?

And thanks to our peers at Visit Philly (GPTMC), we now have a clear example of a destination marketing organization focused on building content, rather than apps.

“As of now, we have made a strategic decision to engage with larger, more established apps (Google Field Trip, Foodspotting, Foursquare), in addition to having a mobile version of visitphilly.com, instead of creating our own app.” – Caroline Bean, Visit Philly

Read that quote again. They are creating content, rather than apps. Building stories, instead of technology.

Brilliant.

And the partnership with Google Field Trip, where Visit Philly acts as a content provider (via the Uwishunu blog), is simply the latest example of this strategic direction.

Visit Philly's Uwishun on Google Field Trip

The details of Visit Philly’s content inclusion on Field Trip are not a huge secret. Google tells you exactly how do it. But, they want a certain type of content.

Specifically:

  • Is your article/story geo tagged?
  • Do you have images associated with each individual article/story?
  • Is your content time sensitive?

Allow us to translate: We don’t want your standard, boring re-creation of the yellow pages. We want dynamic, interesting, relevant, happening right now content.

Static content is worthless.

Travel demands dynamic content.

The Value of the Blog

You're damn right that's George Takei.

For those of you who have written off blogging as something best left to 29-year-old, Star Trek fans who live in their parents’ basement, allow us to issue a collective…ha!

Call it whatever you want. Content generation, content marketing, storytelling, dynamic descriptions, blogging, tumbling. The value of blogging is in the vitality of the content created.

Visit Philly’s Uwishunu is only one example.

Our peers in Indiana and Vancouver are experiencing tremendous success with their ‘blogging’ efforts.

“The Indiana Insider Blog has been one of the most important digital investments we’ve made in the past several years. We’ve seen an 87% increase in visitors. Without our blog, we would be losing the opportunity to get Indiana in front of roughly 400,000 people annually.” – Jeremy Williams, Visit Indiana

“We have seen a consistent increase in visitation to the Inside Vancouver Blog. For 2012, more than 100% more traffic than 2011.” – Darren Johner, Tourism Vancouver

Yes, all three of these blogs were started years before Google introduced Field Trip. And yes, all three measure success in different ways. But all three share a common theme. A belief that content creation is not something that occurs only during a website redesign project.

Content creation for tourism needs to occur daily.

Because the content of your city is changing daily.

Let’s Start a Blog!

Please don’t.

At least not yet.

Don’t jump into the blogging pool head-first, without thinking about your strategic goals.

Screw goals, wait until my boss sees that we are on Google Field Trip!

Oy.

Rather than create, curate. Expand the infrastructure that already exists within your community.

Yes, Philly, Indiana and Vancouver have three of the most enviable blogs in the DMO industry, but that does not mean that their strategy will work for you.

Look at your own community first. More than likely, you have several content creators with popular blogs in your own backyard.

For food alone, I would practically guarantee it.

Partner with those people. Use your resources to push their content into Google Field Trip as well as other channels. Combine individual blogs on fashion, shopping, food, outdoor into a single blog…then push the dynamic content generated into other channels.

Do not assume that you have to create those channels, they likely already exist.

Static Content is Worthless

Sorry, but it is. And for a lot of destinations, DMOs and CVBs that is a scary thought. For years we have literally built a business model on the aggregation of basic information about our local tourism community.

Unfortunately that service is no longer required, nor an exclusive role of the DMO.

Destinations like Philly, Indiana and Vancouver have already shifted their content and distribution strategies. Content distributors such as Google are demanding dynamic. And the expectation of the traveling public is shifting toward relevant and right now.

DMOs should be distributing dynamic content across the most widely used channels.

Instead of building lists and apps.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.