Use this checklist to spend your budget (and your time) wisely as you search for your DMO’s next content creator.
The right content creator is an invaluable asset for your destination’s media mix – but how do you choose the right person amid the flood of skilled professionals looking for work?
With the travel industry undergoing drastic changes, many content creators are looking to innovate and broaden their networks. As these creatives seek new connections, your destination marketing organization (DMO) might be receiving more pitches than ever before. The talent field is wider than ever, which can make choosing the right creator more difficult.
Choosing talent is a crucial skill for destination marketing leaders to develop. At Destination Campbell River, we continually receive pitches and refine our selection process along the way. We’re sharing our six-point checklist and some strategic thinking in the hope that it will help other DMOs save time vetting content creators and lead to long-term partnerships.
What can content creators do for a DMO, and how are they different from influencers?
Gone are the days when all destination marketing content comes from a high-budget production house. While some of your DMO’s hero content might require a large investment, content creators can help frugal DMO budgets go further while providing the kind of authentic, high-quality content that is in demand.
In destination marketing, content creators and influencers play similar roles that often overlap according to their skill sets and the significance of their audiences. Both groups include writers, photographers and videographers. While influencers can provide access to, and influence over, an online network, content creators focus primarily on producing high-quality content. Content creators are professionals in their creative field (travel writing or nature photography, for example) who produce on-brand content for destinations.
Checklist: Six signs that a content creator might be right for your DMO
Your DMO’s media relations team can use this checklist to vet content creators and their pitches.
1) They don’t lead with a request for compensation
Coming out of the gate with a compensation ask does not create a good first impression. DMOs, brands and businesses are not here to facilitate free trips. We look for content creators who demonstrate passion and have a real interest in the destination, regardless of a comp or partnership. Content creators should bring comps into the conversation later, when working out deliverables and a contract.
2) They’ve researched your destination properly
When content creators haven’t done their homework, it shows. For example, look at their pitch. Have they sent you a generic message? Or have they personalized it by including the name of your marketing manager? Professional pitches also illustrate a clear understanding of brand alignment. For example, have they described their perspective on the place and the brand? Have they shown how their storytelling will bring value to the destination?
3) Their media kit is relevant to your destination
Listing metrics and followers is not enough. A media kit should introduce the content creator, tell their story and provide examples of past work. It should also show why they want to work with a particular brand or destination. At Destination Campbell River, we love it when content creators pitch ideas on what they’re interested in about the region, including potential blog concepts or itineraries. This extra step shows great initiative.
4) They’re flexible with dates and skilled at communication
Professional content creators provide their availability and suggest dates or seasons when they are flexible to execute projects. For example, a destination may need a creator to promote the shoulder season instead of the summer. Providing availability early on reduces the need to go back and forth with extra communication. If communicating becomes a hassle, it’s a bad sign for future work.
5) They deliver work on time
For content creators, consistent delivery leads to a good reputation among DMOs. At Destination Campbell River, this reputation is a key consideration when selecting content creators for new projects. Being forthcoming about delays in delivery is also a must, as missed deadlines are major red flags for our team. When we have to chase up work, there’s a real probability we will not work with that person again, or provide a positive reference.
6) They provide the details you need to make a decision in today’s context
During the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing managers tend to seek talent close to home, perhaps within their own province, state, or region. Has the creator made their location clear? For example, they might include a flag emoji or details of their current city in their social media bio. Information like this is beyond helpful when searching for talent, and it shows they have your DMO’s best interests at heart.
Content creators are here to stay. Chances are they will remain an important part of your DMO’s media mix. A positive relationship with a creator who is aligned to your destination’s brand can pay dividends – but this brings us to one final question for your team:
How does hiring or inviting a content creator meet your DMO’s marketing goals? Think about how they fit within your content strategy first, make a strong talent choice, and then, ideally, your destination’s brand will benefit from a long-lasting relationship.
Destination marketers: Share this post with the people in your office that vet influencers and content creators. Do you have any tips to add? What else do you think content creators should know about DMOs?
Content creators: Want your pitch to make it past the inbox? Use these tips to present your work in the best possible light and make it easy for the destination to choose you.
Editor’s note: Carly Pereboom is part of the Destination Think team leading the DMO at Destination Campbell River. She originally shared some of these tips via LinkedIn.
Feature image credit: Tyler Cave, content creator for Destination Campbell River
We have been working with a content creator/marketing consultant who only gives us limited rights to photo or videos. Is this the standard practice? I am thinking that we should own the content if we are creating it for our DMO. Any Suggestions or contract wording?
Great question – when working with content creators creating a scope of work and deliverable contract that speaks directly to rights, usage etc. for the DMO and in some cases a 3rd party which may be a City, Province or State; ensures everyone is on the same page and understands that assets are to be protected and used by the DMO to support promotional efforts. You can either agree to work within the terms laid out by the content creator, or you can negotiate and find those that are willing to work with you as the DMO to build assets that you can use time and time again.
Defining the terms and usage rights clearly before any project is underway is key. Also being specific to how the assets will be used provides context to the creator and ensures that the assets are protected within those terms.
For instance, you could include some of the following bulleted points;
By this agreement, (photographer name) grants (DMO name) non-exclusive, unrestricted, perpetual use of the attached images. (Or whichever agreement you come to with your creator.)
Then break down and specify how content will be used; These images/video may be used for the following purposes: Electronically, in Advertising and Promotional projects, in Media Communications, etc.
Limited rights, usually come into play if you’re purchasing imagery or video that was not created solely for your project, and or with your collaboration, the cost to the creator may have been higher to have captured that content, therefore they protect that asset. Agreements that are in place and discussed before the content is created ensures all parties are comfortable with the terms so that the DMO can make the best use of the investment and build their catalogue of assets to support their overarching brand-story. Long-term relationships with creators often yield the best results, as they become familiar with your brand, storytelling and expectations; building trust in your creative relationship, as well as trust that you are protecting their best interests when working with you.
Hi DT team,
I am a content myself and this article couldn’t come at a better time. Thank you so much Carly. I am hoping to put this insights into practice as I move forward with my pitches to DMOs and tourism brands.