If you’re not interested in working with tourism boards or travel companies, now or in the future, today’s missive is not for you.
However, if you are, I’ve just returned from an event that was a big investment by us for you guys: the conference specifically for Directors of Marketing and Digital Marketing Managers at top CVBs.
I always advise going to conferences where your clients, rather than your peers, are to learn what are the problems your clients are actually facing (rather than what you see to be their problems or simply the things you want to pitch them whether that is a pain point for them or not).
But it’s even more fascinating to see how your potential clients are trying to solve their problems when it is so, so far off base from the best practices that are second nature to you.
So many of you that I suggest pursue travel content marketing through cold pitching struggle right off the bat with both aspects of this:
- matching what they’re offering to what their prospective tourism board and travel company clients are actively looking to hire contractors for
- understanding that a good portion of what they bring to the table is educating and convincing tourism boards that they should be doing basic things that we all know work
It’s difficult to pinpoint just what set off that sense like you have watching a thriller that something is very, very wrong here, so I’ll tell you a few specific instances and refrains that stand out in my memory:
1. “Organic is dead.” This was a constant refrain from the gentleman selected to give an outsized number of talks that represented, let’s call it, the world of digital agencies that work with tourism boards on all of the things they don’t understand.
I was struck as he kept saying this by the knowledge that, among the many bloggers and influencers I know who have built huge, loyal, engaged followings in recent years and seen and spoken to at conferences just this fall, this issue was never mentioned.
And these are folks who started their brands with nothing…rather than an incredibly old and authoritative domain theoretically packed with useful information.
2. The session designed to teach the others to use Facebook live was about how a tourism board had spent a year gathering user-generated content (mostly photos), assembling pre-created videos to show off said content, brought in a professional host to speak in between the pre-created videos, and hired a production team for five-figures to produce one one-hour Facebook live segment.
3. The person selected to speak about email marketing best practices…where should I start.
Before hearing any more on this, it’s very useful for you to understand that this presentation came from the tourism board of one of the ten most populous cities in America–and one that is, without doubt, a major destination for both domestic and international visitors.
The presenter said that they just don’t have the resources (staff time) to send their email newsletter (composed of links to articles in their website and sponsored content from hotels and attractions in the destination) out more than twice a month, even though their audience has indicated interest in it.
Even though they know they should be sending different information to locals and people planning a trip, they don’t have the technical resources to segment their readers. (He didn’t say what software they were using, but it was clearly some kind of janky, older one.)
And the only way they are currently adding people to their list is through on pop-up sign-up form on their site with no free content offer or any other incentive to sign-up.
You should all be pitching these people to have them pay you to make their content marketing better. All the tourism boards. All the travel companies.
Some of them may have some of the things figured out.
Or look like it (those ones are probably outsourcing to agencies charging them mid-six-figures).
But most of them desperately need your help with things that you’ve picked up writing online that you don’t even think about as skills or marketable propositions.
They need your knowledge, your handholding, and your keeping them from wasting tons of money on tiny returns from things they shouldn’t even be spending time on in the first place.
I know many of you caught the free showings of our series on putting together content marketing pitches last week or you may have caught it in the past (you can also grab the full video series at any time here), but I just wanted to take today to urge you to add content marketing for travel companies and tourism boards to your mix if you haven’t already.
The gigs are stable, the money is good, and this is the time the people who you need to pitch are making their marketing plans for next summer.
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