Content marketing is as old as storytelling; in other words, it’s ancient.
Storytelling mediums have evolved from cave paintings, to printed books, to Snapchat stories, to virtual reality, but the human need for compelling stories (i.e. content) remains constant. The content cave continues to inspire us today, because stories are at the core of content marketing.
That’s stories, plural. Your destination has more than a single story like, “We have the best beaches in Europe,” or “We’re the best place to eat southwestern food.” Every destination is a beautiful tapestry, and its stories are the thousands of colourful threads woven into its identity.
As destination content marketers, we shape that identity by finding the right stories told by the right storytellers (your DMO, industry, influencers, visitors) on the right channels, to engage our target audience.
In our recent content marketing webinar at Destination Think! by Marketing Manager John Freeman, we explored some of the principles behind effective content marketing tactics and strategy.
What goes into valuable, shareable content for travel?
The most successful pieces of content usually incorporate these four aspects of the Content CAVE:
Does your story speak to a specific audience? Will it make someone say, “That’s me!”? Whether you seek connection with coffee connoisseurs, Indian food lovers, motorcyclists, extreme campers, grandmothers, or scuba divers, the principle remains the same. Everyone wants to see themselves in the stories they read.
We’re all competing for attention, and grabbing attention is all about catching the viewer’s eye. Your content needs to be different, bright and optimized to compete in competitive social media newsfeeds. Study the platforms you use and make marginal improvements over time.
The bar has been set high. Facebook says that “every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and Pages for them to see, and most people don’t have enough time to see them all.” Your posts need to be unmissable, like the purple and blue waterslide above.
How does your content provide value to the individual? If they share it, does it give them cultural capital? Travel bragging is a strong motivator for travel, so shareable content might help your audience #humblebrag about their good taste.
Valuable content might also give your audience tools to make travel or itinerary planning easier, or sometimes even a discount. It can also provide necessary information about your destination, its customs, and its culture, which will help your visitors when they arrive.
Does your content elicit an emotional reaction? Colleen Geske has led I amsterdam’s Facebook page to over 700,000 fans, and she says that surprise is one of the most important emotions for content marketing. Don’t forget others like enjoyment, anticipation, confidence, amazement, and nostalgia. Have a look at Plutchik’s wheel of emotions and consider the emotions that are best-suited to your audience.
Here’s an example that our team worked on with Destination Cleveland. Seeing LeBron James lead the Cavaliers to an NBA championship fueled intense pride among Cleveland supporters on Facebook.
Our experience has shown that following these four principles will help your destination’s content connect with your audience and build more impactful word-of-mouth promotion.
Do you have any tools, tips, or strategies to add to the content cave? Tell us what works best for you in the comments.