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Content marketing has quickly become a tired buzz-word in the SEO community. A popular topic because it is one of the only SEO strategies that works well and is unlikely to be penalized by Google anytime soon.
Instead of calling content marketing an “SEO strategy”, it should really be called a “marketing strategy”, because producing quality content and marketing it well is simply good online marketing. Content helps with SEO, but more importantly, gives guests quality information, increases your hotel’s visibility, establishes the brand as a thought leader in your niche, and encourages guests to trust you, making them more likely to book a room with you again and again.
So what does content marketing even mean? Check out this case study:
The Washington Post released a timeline of the ongoing IRS scandal called “Who Knew What, When”. It’s a simple timeline, pulling information from freely available news sources, organized into a visual timeline of events – basically a glorified Excel spreadsheet.
This timeline was easy to make. The information already existed. All The Washington Post had to do was collect it, organize it, and summarize it, while their development team whipped up a simple interactive timeline.
Their results are impressive. In less than 24 hours, this one article picked up over 100 comments, over 380 Facebook likes and shares, and has been tweeted over 175 times.
This example of content marketing is great. Why? Because it was made using freely available information, was easy to produce, and no one had done it yet. Hotel marketers can do the same thing. You just have to be creative.
True, The Washington Post example was in the news vertical, but the principles work equally well for hospitality too. Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts wanted to create some compelling content their guests would find interesting, so they contacted SEO Gadget, who produced an interactive Ultimate Guide to Worldwide Etiquette, which you can see here. Guests choose a country, and the map then shows them the appropriate etiquette for that country concerning tipping, gestures like handshaking and kissing cheeks, dining customs (think “elbows on the table”), and other dos and don’ts for the specified culture.
This piece of content has been online for much longer than The Washington Post article, which helps explain why it has over 2,100 Facebook likes, 620 Twitter tweets, 340 Google +1s, and has been shared on Stumble Upon an astounding 20,000 times. Open Site Explorer shows that this one article has over 300 backlinks from 90 different domains.
Quality content that provides guests with actionable, useful information is evergreen—that is, it remains popular long after first being published, and has a great chance of going “viral”.
So what kind of content can you make for your unique hotel that has this kind of viral-like potential? You know your property and your area better than anyone. Sit down with your staff and brainstorm some ideas. Here are 5 ideas to get you started:
- A guide to local customs and sayings.
- A timeline of historical events that happened in your area.
- A weekend trip plan, where you create an agenda of things your guests can do in your area over 2 days.
- A guide to spending less than $50 a day in your area while still seeing amazing things and eating great food.
- A guide to windsurfing, skiing, skydiving, snorkeling, in your area, with directions on who to contact for gear, which places offer the best sights, etc.
Once you have your topic, decide what kind of content you will produce–an infographic, a video, a calendar, a spreadsheet, a map. It could be a simple article, but make sure it is chocked-full of photography and, if appropriate, maps and illustrations.
If you’re not the creative type, you can contact a vendor to write content, take photos, or produce images and infographics for you. Check out the list of buuteeq-approved Validated Vendors you can explore. We go to local Killer Infographics to help produce our infographics.
Bottom line: Content is important for any strategy. And good content marketing will surely set you apart from the competition now and years to come.
This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor, Buuteeq.