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8 cool content marketing tips from HEDNA

Content marketing successYesterday, I shared the mobile marketing lessons I learned at the HEDNA conference I keynoted last week.

But the biggest topic of the conference revolved around content strategy. Which, if you think about it, makes a lot of sense. You see, in the hospitality industry, the physical product always stays in the same place (ignoring cruise ships for the moment). Distribution (the “D” in HEDNA) refers to how hospitality companies get their information in front of consumers and the channels through which consumers, um… consume that information. So, there was a lot of information to learn.

Here’s what I heard:

Content marketing tips

  1. Transparency rules. Your customer can find out everything they want to know about you, whether you want them to or not. If you give a price to someone, it will end up online somewhere. If one customer has a bad experience, they’ll write a review and tell all their friends. Your job is to listen, understand and engage with customers and to help them share your story as well as just learn about it.
  2. The customer is (still) king. Hotels (and others, really) sell experiences, not just beds. And your content is the “magnet” that draws those people in. What do they care about? What do they think about you? Start with your customers, then worry about what you say and where you tell your story. Channels come last. don’t fall in the trap of choosing your channel before thinking about people.
  3. Content promotion matters as much as creation or curation. As a rough rule of thumb, expect you’ll spend 1/3 of your time on creation/curation and 2/3 of your time on promotion (though those numbers likely will be reversed when you’re first starting out).
  4. It’s a conversation, not a speech. Customers are talking about you. Make sure you’re listening to what they say. For instance, your response to an online review is not just for the reviewer but for all your future customers, too.
  5. Content plays a huge role in defining your brand. Your brand is the combination of what you say and what customers experience. If these two messages don’t line up, your customers will think you’re a liar. Don’t fight their perceptions. You are what you are. Be honest. Fix what’s broken, address their concerns and play to your strengths.
  6. Who’s on your team matters. One theme that appeared frequently during the discussion was the value of a “chief content officer.” This isn’t necessarily one person or a full-time job. Rather it was gaining consensus and paying attention to useful and consistent content whether in comments, pictures, promos, etc. Many companies can do a better job at maintaining a consistent brand story across many channels.
  7. Content influences where people purchase. Consumers have lots of options for where and when to buy. In the hotel industry (and many others), consumers will keep shopping until they find the site that does the best job answering their questions. So, a big reason content marketing is so important: it helps you maintain control of where your inventory sells and how it’s priced.
  8. It’s all e-commerce. Finally, a distribution channel is where a consumer chooses to buy, not where you choose to sell. Make sure your content tells your brand story effectively wherever a customer may encounter that message.

Again, this was a truly great conference. I enjoyed myself immensely and am looking forward to the next one. Content marketing is a core component of how your market your brand online. Happily, these tips apply to many industries and can work for you today. And, don’t forget, I’m available to share these and many more ideas at your conference, too.

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Tim Peter

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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