Creating Content for Travellers Workshop: Content Strategy


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Workshop I ran at TBU (Travel Bloggers Unite) Conference about the importance of developing a content strategy similar to brands use, and how to develop and use it.

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  • In this workshop, we will look at a process and method for creating content for travellers.The process and approach should help you to develop content (blog posts, videos or audio) that will achieve 3 key things:It will stand out in the crowded travel content space. This is really important as there is so much content around. It is likely that every place you plan to cover will have been covered many times before. How can you ensure you create content that is unique, different and stands above all the alternatives.It will help you to ensure your content is valued, and sought out, by an audience. The process will look at how you create content that talks to a specific audience and addresses what they want and need.It will ensure that the content meets needs consistently, and so your audience will keep coming back. Building a loyal and passionate following.
  • A short bit about meI have spent over 30+ years in a global marketing, including roles as a Global Vice President Marketing at Johnson & Johnson. I am now semi-retired doing some marketing consulting for companies around the world, and focused on creating content for travellers.Thanks to my job, I have been travelling all over the world every month of every year for over 20 years. Something I am still doing, though even more for leisure than beforeI in 2005, starting with audio podcasts and video and adding the blog.YouTube views = over 25 millionPodcast downloads = over 600,000Blog growth = 80,000 visitors and grew +50% last yearI launched in January 2012 to provide on-going learning, advice and tips to help travel bloggers become more professional and create content that travellers valued, so making them more attractive also to travel brands looking to reach their audiences.I am going to be drawing on both my marketing and blogging experiences in this workshop session to show how we can
  • Travel bloggers face a huge challenge when it comes to creating contentThere are 4 challenges that I want to highlight:There are millions of blogs around. 70 million blogs use Wordpress alone. I do not know how many travel blogs there are – but we can easily assume there are thousands – if not hundreds of thousands. The competition and choice that travellers have if they want to read blogs is vast.This is even harder as the same destinations, places to stay and things to visit will have been covered already. Not only by blogs but by other sites and guide books. We can assume that every place you want to cover has been covered thousands of times. There is probably no real need for it to be covered again – unless you have something different and unique to bring.The study I did with travellers showed that blogs are probably not really meeting the needs of travellers. Only 40% of travellers said they have ever read a travel blog – and only 1 out of 4 had used them in the last year. It suggests that blogs are not meeting the needs of travellers – or they would keep using themThere is though huge potential is we can get it right. 60% of online travellers say they have not read a travel blog. So if bloggers really understand how to create content that travellers want, and do it in a distinctive way, there is a vast audience to reach
  • This workshop will cover 3 key areasDefining a content strategy.The main focus of the session is on why and how to define your content strategy.I will show you why it is so key – and how to create your own.You should be able to leave the session with a draft of your strategy for fine tuning after the eventAdvice, tips and watch outsI will through the session give you key tips, and then at the end 9 key pieces of advice, tips and watch-outsWorksheet and reference for you to follow up after the eventI have created a worksheet with advice and tips that you can access and use after the event at
  • To help illustrate the discipline and approach to creating content I am going to show you a template and approach to develop your strategy.It is inspired by my experience in building brandsI am going to illustrate how to apply it by using a few examples through the workshop.It does not matter if you are familiar with them as you will see through the session that by defining a strategy that even if you do not know the brand or blog, you can see and understand what content is right and fits.The examples I will be using are:Olay Regenerist. This is one of the largest and most successful anti-age lines in many parts of the world – especially in the USA and UK.1 blogs that I think deos it – run by an Australian who lives in LondonMy blog tipsfortravellers and how I defined it using the approach and how I try and apply itBased on time, we will try and get some of you to share how your work as we go
  • Let’s start then!What exactly is a“content strategy”It consists of answering 2 simple questions. Though they appear simple on the surface, they are actually quite hard to answer! They will take a lot of thinking and careful consideration.As we go through the session, try and answer them for your blog. I think most of you will find it much harder than it seems on the surface – and you will leave the session with a first draft – and lots to think about. One of the hardest parts will be making choices about what to leave out.The 4 seemingly simple questions are:What is your content about ?Who is your content for?What exact and specific content are you providing?How is your content different to the alternatives your audience could read?Before we start looking at blogs, I want to show you an example from the world of brands, as think it will illustrate the power of these 4 questions – and how they help and drive content creationI am going to use Olay to illustrate how they answer those 4 questions – and the implications of the choices they make
  • Key points to note:Tight definition of what it is about. Very specific Then ensure every piece of content is about that specific topic.They use it to ensure consistent message – consistency is very important so audience knows exactly what they are getting – and every piece adds and reinforces the story
  • Key points to note:Tight definition of who they are for. Very specific about what their target believes, wants and feelsThen ensure every piece of content builds on that understanding and use it in their story telling as the hook to draw them in, as speaks to them directly.They use it to ensure consistent for that audience – consistency is very important so audience knows exactly what they are getting – and every piece adds and reinforces the story
  • Key points to note:Tight definition of what they provide. In this case they have spent time to find out what issues concern their audience (the main signs of aging) and then sell products for those (only) – and those are the ones they communicate and talk about.This ensure every piece of “content” is exactly what their audience wants and needs… They use it to ensure consistent for that audience – consistency is very important so audience knows exactly what they are getting – and every piece adds and reinforces the story
  • Key points to note:They have found what makes them different. They created 2 key differences to make them stand out –and invest in keeping them different. A unique ingredient (that they proved worked) and getting recommendations (which in skincare is important to validate how good you are)This ensure every piece of “content” tells why they are different – so they stand out from the alternativesThey use it to ensure consistent for that audience – consistency is very important so audience knows exactly what they are getting – and every piece adds and reinforces the story
  • Let us look now at developing a content strategy for blogsThis is the 1st question..
  • Once you have defined it you must, as Olay did with “high performance facial anti-age” ensure that every story and piece of content is about that.Do not drift away from it and start talking about other topics. If you want to consider if you need another blogThis is why it is important
  • By looking at the2 blogs and their about pages and what they do here is what I think their answer to the question isThey are pretty consistent and ensure that every story is about just that.48HourAdventure is brutally consistent and almost never goes off topic.I try and do the same
  • Now try and answer the question for your blog!Think of your content “bullseye”Be specific not generalYour “headline”Fit on a post-it noteUnder 10 words
  • The 2nd question now….
  • Remember Olay and how they had defined their target audience as women who wanted dramatic visible results – but without having to resort to proceduresThey had a specific mindset and attitude in mind and used it to create their hook and angle for their story telling.You use you definition of who your blog is for to find your story angle – by looking at the world through their eyes. It should help you find something new about places that have been covered so much already
  • Blog examples
  • Now try it for your blog
  • Question 3Specific contentThink of Olay – they understood the specific signs of aging that their audience wanted to fix and improve and gave them those in products and contentYou need to do the same for your audience
  • Understand exactly what they want – not what you want to give them!
  • Remember the learning from the studies of travellers and bloggers I covered,It is likely that your audience wants advice and tips – possibly money saving, places to stay reviews and general travel tips….
  • Blog examples
  • Now try and define the specific content you will provide…
  • Think of OlayThey were the ONLY ones with a specific ingredientAnd UNLIKE OTHERS had more independent experts recommending themMy tip is to always try and write what makes you different starting with these 2 words: ONLY and UNLIKE…
  • Blog examples
  • Now try for your blog
  • AdviceAim to be best resource for your topic and audience - Not just best blog in your nicheBe consistent & stick to it – resist temptation to drift off topic. Strong brands come from being consistent as they stand for somethingStay focused on audience, not bloggers or brands. Respect your audience and what they want. TipsGood writing disciplines (beginning – middle – end/ grammar/ spelling / accurate and fact checked /Write appropriate to audienceOpinion not facts. Travellers looking for real life opinions and experiencesLayered and multi mediaWatch OutsDo not focus on you and what you can get out of it - think what they getting. Avoid things like begging to vote in competitions etcStay on topic. If you really have something else to say (e.g. experiences at travel blogging conference) consider a new blog or guest post on blog with that topicAvoid being intrusive – pop ups, lots of ads, sponsored links
  • Visit get the worksheet and examples
  • Stands out in crowded spaceTravellers value – and seek outBuilds specific audiences, that brands want to reachBrands do not want general travel audiences
  • Creating Content for Travellers Workshop: Content Strategy

    1. 1. CreatingContent ForTravellers Content that stands out Content that travellers value Content that builds loyalaudienceWorkshop by GaryBembridge@garybembridge
    2. 2. About
    3. 3. TheChallenge Thousands of blogs Covering same places Only 1 in 4 used lastyear Huge potential
    4. 4. Format Define ContentStrategy Advice, tips, watch-outs Worksheet & reference
    5. 5. With help of
    6. 6. ContentStrategy What is it about? Who is it for? What is it providing? How is it different?4 simple (?) questions..
    7. 7. “What is it about?”Used to ensure content focus & consistencyDramatically reduce the appearance ofyour wrinkles in just 1 application3 transforming results for youngerlooking eyesProven to reduce the appearanceof lines & wrinkles. Or moneybackEvery story always about “high performance facial anti-aging”
    8. 8. “Who is it for?”Used to find & drive your story “hook”/ angleImagine younger lookingskin – withoutsyringes, scalpels andside effectsIf you think cosmeticprocedures are too`drastic, do we have analternative for youNeedles. Acid. Lasers. Surgery. Is yourskin really ready for this? Dramatic skinimprovement. No drastic measuresAlways use as hook & angle for every story
    9. 9. Forehead wrinklesEyesSkin textureWrinklesSagging / firmness loss“What is it providing?”Used to ensure giving audience what they wantOnly provides what audience wants
    10. 10. Notable magazines, beauty editors, researchinstitutes – everyone keeps saying the best thingsaboutFormulated exclusively with Olay Peptide B-3 Complex.This unique complex helps to regenerate skin’s appearance while…“What makes you different?”Used as reason for people to use & choose youover othersAlways uses in their storytelling
    11. 11. ContentStrategy What exactly is yourblog about?Question #1
    12. 12. ImportantEvery story Content consistency iskey to building a loyalaudience Audience knows whatget every time use yourcontent
    13. 13. Is about:Short break guides andadviceIs about:Luxurious travelexperiences on land –and at seaMost popular posts:• 48 hours in Prague• Exploring Switzerland by train in 2 days• 48 Hours in Istanbul• 48 hours in San DiegoMost popular posts:• British Airways First Class Travel• Crossing the Atlantic in QM2 Queens Grill• Virgin Upper Class Travel• Las Vegas in Luxury
    14. 14. Exercise 1 : What exactly is your contentabout?Tips :• Be specific - not general• Under 10 words• “Headline like”
    15. 15. ContentStrategy Who exactly is itfor?Question #2
    16. 16. ImportantUse it to find yourstory angle  Many will have writtenabout thatdestination, place tostay, attraction Understanding who youwriting for helps find yourangle Look at, & cover, the worldthrough their eyes
    17. 17. Is for:Career focused peoplewho love to travel, butcan’t get lots of time offworkIs for:People who are lookingfor inspiration, adviceand tips on finding the“must do” luxury travelexperiences• Best Friday departures.• Fast ways to get there.• Destinations close by.• 48 Hours.• Business & First Class.• High end Ships.• High-end hotels.• Popular, on trend, “hottest” destinations.
    18. 18. Exercise 2: Who exactly is your contentfor?Tips :• Attitudes & beliefs?• Situation or interests?• Demographics if essential
    19. 19. ContentStrategy What specificcontent providing?Question #3
    20. 20. Important Surveys Meet & engage withthem Analytics Social Media insightsUnderstand exactly whatyour target audience wantsand needs
    21. 21. Giving travellers what they want70%54% 52% 48%64%
    22. 22. Is specifically providing:Advice & tips on how toexplore cities on yourdoorstep in a weekend (48hours)Is specifically providing:Advice & tips on thehottest, must see andsought after luxury travelexperiences• “Trophy” destinations• Premium Transport• High-end Accommodation• Art, culture & history Attractions• Classic Journeys• Must see and do• Food/ drink• How to get there• Where to stay• Getting around• Budget
    23. 23. Exercise 3: What specific content will youprovide?Tips :• Audience wants?• Tips and advice need?• What can’t get elsewhere?
    24. 24. ContentStrategy What makes yourcontent different to orunlike others?Question #4
    25. 25. Important2 essential wordsin differentiatingyour contentOnly…Unlike…
    26. 26. Unlike others:Shows how to have amazingtravel experiences when time isnot on your side – and withouthaving to quit your jobUnlike others:Draws on travelling every monthof every year for over 20years, visiting luxuriousdestinations, using luxurytransportation, and staying inluxury accommodations –multiple times.e.g. Weekend breaks from London base:• Luxembourg• Stuttgart• Seville• Glasgowe.g.:• Based on multiple visits and trips• Comparisons across options, like• Different Business Classes• Different rooms in same hotel• Luxurious travel alternatives
    27. 27. Exercise 4: My content is different to or unlike othersbecause? Tips: Only I… Unlike others I…
    28. 28. Advice Be best resource Be consistent AudiencefocusedTips Write well Opinion Vs. facts Layered contentWatch-outs Focus onyourself Posts off topic Intrusive stuff
    29. 29. Tools Template worksheet Tips & watch-out
    30. 30. CreatingWinningContentHave aContentStrategy
    31. 31. Thanks••••