An investment in content marketing is so much more than just posting the occasional blog or having an influencer take a photo in your hotel. It’s a marketing approach that requires thought, planning and consistent execution in order to be successful, especially in the highly competitive hospitality sector.
If you own a hotel, restaurant, bar, or any other hospitality business, here are seven content marketing tips you should always bear in mind.
1. Understand your audience
Before you can create any type of digital content, you must first understand who exactly you want to create that content for and what you want to motivate them to do. Without that knowledge, it will be very difficult to produce and publish content that resonates with your ideal customer.
If you already have your target audience in mind – great! If not, you may want to spend some time answering the following questions:
What is the age and gender of your typical customer?
Why do they visit your hotel, restaurant or bar?
What problems do you solve for them?
What motivates them to choose you over your competitors?
Do they typically use your service alone or with friends/family?
Once you have the answer to the above questions, you will have a much clearer idea of potential content types and themes to invest your time and money in.
2. Take time to formulate a content strategy and editorial calendar
While it may be tempting to jump into creating content right away, it is crucial to always take some time to formulate a strategy and an editorial calendar – before you do anything else! This not only gives you time to align your content with your business goals, but it can also serve as a way to track your progress and hold participating individuals and teams accountable.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy can be as simple or as complicated as you want – however, as a bare minimum, your content strategy should always establish the following:
Specific business goals that you hope to achieve, e.g. 100+ additional leads per month or 100+ additional webpage views.
Reasonable budget over a period of time.
Specific deliverables to be expected.
Responsible individuals and departments.
What is an editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is essentially a content publishing schedule. When creating your editorial calendar, make sure to note all key dates such as holidays, important company events and any relevant awareness days. This helps to ensure that you are creating content that is relevant to both your company and the rest of the world.
When you’re out of content ideas, editorial planning can also serve as inspiration for content themes and topics. For example, you may notice that World Cocktail Day is May 13. This is the perfect opportunity for any hospitality business to create a fun article or video surrounding cocktails in general, or even a specific cocktail relevant to your brand or audience.
3. Utilize the perspective of your staff
Your front-line staff gets to see and interact with your target audience on a daily basis, and you should value their unique perspective. For example, your staff are likely to have a very good idea of the specific challenges that your customers face and what they may find interesting or even humorous. They also probably know a lot about what motivates your customers to make purchases.
When planning your content, don’t be afraid to involve these members of staff in the process! Oftentimes they will surprise you with creative content ideas, and at the very least, they can be a valuable sounding board to bounce ideas off.
Another way that you can involve staff with your content is to give them control. Ask a top-performing manager to write a blog for you about what it’s like to work at your hotel or restaurant, or, you can even give them full reign of your Instagram page where they can share photos depicting ‘a day in the life’ at your company. This approach is not only a great way to build staff engagement, but it can also help with recruitment.
4. Prioritize consistency
With any content marketing strategy, it is important to make consistency a priority. Here’s a closer look at three key areas where you should strive to remain consistent.
Processes and procedures
From idea formation to publishing – the entire content production process should be outlined and consistently followed by your staff. In cases where you are utilizing help from external content writing services, make sure to designate a staff member who can work directly with the agency and coordinate all deliverables.
Having consistent processes not only helps to ensure that your content is published on time, but it also helps to safeguard the quality of the creative work.
Before you begin publishing your content, try to establish a consistent schedule. For example, if you plan to publish 4 blog articles per month, try to schedule them to be published weekly rather than posting them all at once. Your followers will appreciate the consistency and will develop a sense of trust in your brand.
Remember, audiences almost always prefer consistency of content over quantity of content. Don’t worry if you can only manage one or two blog articles per month – all that matters is that it is published consistently.
Consistency in formatting is another key area worth paying close attention to. When you begin to publish content on a regular basis, your readers, viewers, and ultimately, customers will expect your content to be displayed in a way that they are used to.
For example, they may be confused if they see one blog formatted one way and another blog formatted completely differently. They may even perceive the brand as weak or unorganized if there are inconsistencies in style, formatting and overall tone.
To prevent this, make a conscious effort to create a style guide as you go. Style guides are particularly important for written content such as blogs, white papers and case studies. However, they can also be created for other content such as videos, podcasts, or even Instagram posts.
5. Repurpose existing content in new ways
In a lot of cases, producing new, high-quality content can be expensive. However, there are a ton of ways that you can breathe life into your existing content and use it in new ways.
For example, say you own a boutique hotel in the middle of a city. You probably already have a strong presence on Instagram, but maybe you want to improve your website’s SEO by starting a blog. Before hiring a writer or wasting time coming up with topic ideas, look back at existing photos that you have already accumulated on Instagram. Is there anything you can create a blog article from? More often than not, you can easily repurpose old photos or at least use them for inspiration.
As a bonus tip, take a look back through your social media posts. Which ones have received the most likes, comments and shares? Use this information to your advantage by writing blog articles that cover similar topics – they are bound to resonate well with your audience!
6. Always include a basic ‘call to action’
Even though content marketing isn’t intended to be as forward as an advertisement, you should still always include a basic ‘call to action’ or ‘CTA’ at the end of each piece of content that you publish.
A call to action can be as simple as inviting the audience to view another blog article or video, or it can even prompt them to make a reservation. The most important thing is to always invite readers to do something else and engage further with your brand. Typical calls to action that work well for those in the hospitality industry include:
Place a reservation or booking.
Sign up to a mailing list.
Follow your business on social media.
Sign up to receive a free coupon or offer code.
Enter to win a drawing.
View another blog article, video, or web page.
7. Audit and update your content strategy on a quarterly basis
After you have been publishing content consistently for at least a few months, it is always a good idea to reflect on its performance and make updates. Which pieces of content performed the best – or the worst? Can you directly tie any specific article or video to an increase in leads? Did any piece of content gain traction in the press? Are the members of your content team happy within their roles? Have they managed to stay on budget? Are there any new content types or platforms worth investing in?
These are all considerations that you should make either quarterly or at the very least annually. The digital landscape for content can change rapidly and it is very important to always keep your finger on the pulse of how your audience is responding, what’s going on within your content team, and how the content industry is evolving as a whole.