Writing about your expertise on your website will attract a lot more interest in your brand.
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All people and organisations possess the power to elevate themselves on the web to a position of importance. In the new e-marketplace of ideas, organisations highlight their expertise in online media that focus on buyers’ needs.
The web allows organisations to deliver the right information to buyers, right at the point when they are most receptive to the information. The tools at our disposal as marketers are web-based media to deliver our own thoughtful and informative content via websites, blogs, e-books, white papers, images, photos, audio content, video, and even things like product placement, games, and virtual reality.
We also have the ability to interact and participate in conversations that other people begin on social media sites like Twitter, blogs, chat rooms, and forums. What links all of these techniques together is that organisations of all types behave like publishers, creating content that people are eager to consume.
Organisations gain credibility and loyalty with buyers through content, and smart marketers now think and act like publishers in order to create and deliver content targeted directly at their audience.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, an eco-resort on a 265-acre rain-forest reserve in western Belize in Central America, is a publisher of valuable content about rain-forest wildlife, nearby destinations such as ancient Mayan cities, and the country of Belize itself.
This content marketing effort helps the Lodge at Chaa Creek achieve high search engine rankings for many important phrases associated with travel to Belize. This work generates a remarkable 80 percent of new business for the lodge. Its story is among the best I know for learning how content drives business.
As anyone who has built a website knows, there is much more to think about than just the content. Design, colour, navigation, and appropriate technology are all important aspects of a good website. Unfortunately, these other concerns often dominate. Why is that? I think it’s easier to focus on a site’s design or technology than on its content.
The global hotel chains fall into this trap: big-budget design and poor content. If you visit the sites of any of the majors (Hilton, Starwood, Marriott, etc.), you’ll notice they all look the same.
The content is all created by corporate headquarters, so individual property pages rarely contain original content about the location of each hotel. The result is that most hotel sites are just big brochures that pull product features like room types and food offerings from a global database.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s website couldn’t be more different. The team behind it includes co-owner Lucy Fleming, who oversees marketing; Australia-based writer and former newspaper editor Mark Langan, who creates most of the written content; and an on-site marketer who focuses on social media and search engine optimisation.
The team researches what people are searching on—terms like “Belize honeymoon” and “Belize all-inclusive vacation”—and then works to craft content for the Lodge at Chaa Creek’s site, as well as its Belize Travel Blog. The goal is to offer content that is valuable for those researching a Belize vacation, content that will be ranked highly in the search engines.
Can you see what’s happening here? Somebody goes to Google and wants to learn about bird-watching in Belize. And because the content on the Chaa Creek site and blog includes stories about the birds of Belize, this searcher ends up on the Chaa Creek site or blog.
For people searching for information on planning a wedding trip to Belize, Chaa Creek publishes content such as “Ten Reasons Why Belize Makes for Honeymoon Bliss” on the Belize Travel Blog.
Notice that this kind of information is not about the lodge itself. Instead, the Chaa Creek publishing program focuses on delivering information to people planning a trip to Belize. Then, when they are ready to book a place to stay, they’re likely to consider the Lodge at Chaa Creek, the place where they learned about traveling in the country.
My favorite examples of this technique are the team’s articles about the Mayan sites located in the vicinity of the Lodge at Chaa Creek, such as the Xunantunich Maya Temples. Anyone using a search engine to find information on “Xunantunich Maya Temples” will see the article on the Chaa Creek site at the top of the search results.
Clicking through, they learn that the temples are located near the village of San Jose Succotz and that the lower temple is famous for its stucco frieze (a band of sculpture along the facade). Let me remind you that this is a hotel website. The team even created content about the Tikal Mayan site, located about two hours from Chaa Creek in Guatemala, a whole different country!
All this content drives people from the search engines to the hotel site. Many of them will then choose to stay at the Lodge at Chaa Creek. Indeed, some 80 percent of new bookings to the lodge come directly from this content marketing effort.
This reduces the lodge’s reliance on the old-fashioned techniques of its competitors, which get a large percentage of their bookings from online travel sites (for which they must pay a commission) or advertising in travel magazines (which is very expensive).
And it all starts by providing would-be travelers with the information they’re looking for when they begin researching a trip.
This is an edited extract from The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 6th Edition, by David Meerman Scott (Wiley, September 2017).