Lessons in content marketing from the travel industry

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Editor's Note: The author of this article will be an attendee at the iMedia Content Summit.

At my company, MMGY Global, we inspire people to go places. And we don't take that "inspire" word lightly. When you visit a destination, hotel, airline, or hospitality website, what do you want to find? Chances are, you'll want to see imagery, photos, video, interactive maps, reviews, and testimonials that tell an interesting story.

All content -- whether in the travel, food/beverage, retail, or healthcare industries -- has to do one thing: It has to evoke some sort of emotion. For the travel industry, that emotion should be inspiration. Inspiration to travel, inspiration to explore, inspiration to spend a little more money, inspiration to book, and inspiration to destination.

But other industries should also be utilizing content marketing as a tool to inspire consumers. And they can take a few tips from the travel industry. Take a look at these eight secrets of content marketing and learn just how you can integrate these secrets into your own content strategy -- whether you're in the travel industry or not.

Find your "why"

Before we even begin coming up with a content plan for our clients, MMGY conducts research. When conducting our research, we make sure we understand the "why" behind each and every brand we work with.

And you should do the same. Before diving into content marketing, it's important to ask yourself a few questions. What are the reasons that content marketing makes sense for your organization? What can content marketing do in your industry? What can content marketing do for your customers?

It's not (all) about you

When it comes to content marketing, you need to leave the sales pitch at the door. In the travel industry, the point of content marketing is to be helpful to the consumer. Travel brands must make it a top priority to provide consumers with the information and inspiration that they need to plan a trip or make a buying decision.

What can other industries take away from this? Overall, be helpful. Take off your marketing or sales hat and put on your storytelling hat. Consumers want you to engage them and ultimately, provide them with the information they want to find, see, read, or experience.

Be the expert

Every brand has the ability to find its niche and stick to it. Don't try to do everything for everyone. When helping South Dakota develop its content marketing efforts, MMGY developed audience-driven content that was distributed via photo essays. One photo essay catered to avid motorcyclists and told the story of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This photo essay content provided other bikers with original and authentic information and positioned South Dakota as an expert in a specific space.

When planning your content strategy, always keep your audience at the top of mind. For example, if you're a high fashion brand such as Michael Kors, you should be speaking to a very specific target market, fashionistas, in a way that fashionistas speak, engage, and share.

Be authentic

As all travel marketers know, there is an ocean of fake reviews, paid inclusions, and outdated content out there in the online travel sphere. Content marketing is meant to be 100 percent transparent and that means that authenticity is crucial when developing your content strategy.

Let's face it; there is poor online content present in every industry. Break the mold by executing content marketing strategies that are transparent and based around the idea of storytelling. As a matter of fact, many marketers refer to content marketing as "brand storytelling" or "strategic storytelling," and that's exactly what it should be.

 

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