Giving your content marketing a refresh

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With hotels in Ireland set to reopen in June and hotels in the UK set to reopen even sooner than that, there’s no better time to revisit your content marketing efforts and ensure you’re getting the best out of your website, blog and social media channels.

The right kind of content marketing across all of these platforms can help you attract customers, who will naturally gain confidence and likely begin booking their summer getaways once there is more information released on reopening dates.

So, let’s get straight into it!

What is content marketing?

Specifically, there are three key reasons for using content marketing:

  • Increased sales
  • Cost savings
  • It helps to build customer loyalty

Using the right tone to reflect your brand 

Your tone of voice describes how your brand communicates with the audience and thus influences how people perceive your messaging. Your company’s tone of voice represents your brand personality and values.

How can you determine your brand’s tone of voice?

Gather everything from brand documents to website pages to previous social media content. Cast a critical eye on this content. Which of these examples could have come from any of your competitors? Set those aside. What you want to do, is whittle your examples down to a small group of pieces unique to your brand – the examples of a brand voice you want to embody. Circulate the examples to relevant team members so everyone who needs to be is aware of them.

Describe your brand voice in three words

Gather your team together and decide on what kind of brand voice you want to embody. Your hotel’s brand is most likely already established – it might be no harm to do this exercise anyway as a refresher. Is it still what you want it to be?

If your hotel brand was a person, how would you describe its personality to someone? At this point, talk about how you would describe your competitors as people, too. How do your brand’s personality traits make you different?

Revisit and revise your brand voice as the company changes over time

As your brand messaging evolves and new competitors come into your market, it’s good to take a look and refresh your brand voice. It’s no harm doing this exercise semi-regularly! A few tips:

  • Try to be warm, level with customers, treat them like humans, not robots! Try and connect
  • Be mindful of people’s thoughts, values and beliefs when you are crafting your tone if you would like to be a hotel known for being inclusive and accepting of everyone

Why does your brand messaging and tone need to be consistent?

Brand consistency is important because it’s about trust.

When it comes to consistency, major corporations such as Adobe and Walmart rely on specific style guides that govern all aspects of their brand messaging, even their partners’ branding. Although you might not be on the same scale as those giants, but you should still prioritize consistent messaging!

In order for people to trust you, they must be aware of you, recognize and remember you.

In order for people to recognize and remember you, you need to be consistent with your presence and messaging across platforms – for example, see below Instagram and website visuals from The Martello.

People who land on your landing page will look for a continuous message from the original touch point, eg the link in the Facebook ad or email they followed through on.

Are you using the same visual in both? Make sure your titles, wording and images all match up. If they don’t, you could confuse potential customers and lose their interest.

Building guest personas

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Guest personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research.

They will help you understand your customers better. This will make it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, products and services to meet the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of your target audience.

Guest personas can be created through research, surveys, and interviews, all with a mix of customers, prospects, and those outside your contacts database who might align with your target audience.

Now, on to the good stuff… what can you do in the run up to summer?

First off… you want your content to reassure and rejuvinate guests!

What are some strong content areas you can tap into?

There are a few very strong trends globally that have been accentuated by Covid-19. The importance of local is one – people are eager to support local, and they’re eager for experiencing the most their staycation has to offer.

Partnering with local businesses, like restaurants for example, will do a job in terms of showing support for your community, which you can tell a story about. You could potentially create a wine and food trail looking down the line towards summer time and beyond – the possibilities are endless.

Another area where people are craving experiences in is wellness – what kind of experiences can you create which guests can enjoy in nature, such as open air exercise classes or outdoor seaweed baths?

This is another opportunity to look around your community and partner up with different businesses to create a unique, truly memorable experience. And talk it up!

Here are a few more content tips:

  • Create experiences – guests are looking for more than just a room in a hotel!
  • Create itineraries for your guests! If there’s a walking trail you’re encouraging them to explore, how do they get there, how long does it take?
  • Make sure you have all your relevant FAQs up on your site
  • 75% of people expect brands to take a stance on the social issues that matter most to them – shout about this stuff
  • Continue reassuring people of your cleanliness and sanitization policies
  • Wedding content
  • Remote working content

If you don’t have a blog already… here are the benefits

  • Blogs are more effective than SEO and social media in increasing your web traffic
  • They can help to develop and strengthen relationships with customers
  • They can help to establish you and your hotel’s personality if you do it well
  • they can be a source of utility and entertainment

If you have a blog, consider the following:

  • Take a look back over your guest personas and refresh your memory of who you’re speaking to
  • Try to think about why your audience would want to read your blog. Is it: educational, useful, entertaining? Is it answering questions, resolving a challenge, quenching an interest?
  • Your title will reel readers in – so make it a good one
  • Do not underestimate the importance of editing
  • Include the right images (Try sites like ‘Unsplash‘ for inspo)
  • Always include a CTA – no harm in using your blog posts as another way of securing a direct booking
  • Optimize for SEO

What types of content should you be posting on social media?

The day to day

Sometimes it’s the little things throughout your day to day that can be used to attract attention. Content should be light and positive. Day to day activity can actually help piece together the bigger picture of who your hotel is in a delightfully human way.

The people

Promoting offers is a given. But it’s the other, softer types of content that will often help to build a brand’s personality on social platforms. CitizenM call their staff members ‘brand ambassadors’.

Your surroundings, location & history

It’s the age of staycations. People need inspiration! Delve into your area and make a list of different things you can post about – walking trails, special local hidden spots, unique facts about your village or town. The opportunities are endless. Attract guests with what you have to offer!

Your offers

It’s time to shout about your summer packages. Use social to highlight these with fun, bright imagery and short, snappy copy.

User-generated content 

79% of people say that user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions… and most of us are amateur bloggers at this stage anyway. Encourage user-generated content through competitions and use what’s available to you.

Business partner/local content

This is an important one, and links back in with trust. Who can you partner with in your community to develop experiences?

Using micro-influencers 

Are there any micro-influencers local to your area who you could partner with? Micro-influencers get higher engagement rates because they have a more dedicated fan base. If there are, approach them and make a plan together.

Utilizing what the social platform has to offer

  • Use everything at your disposal, for example – on Instagram, are you tagging local partners in your content?
  • Are you utilizing the saved stories feature?
  • Are you using your ‘bio’ space to share relevant links?

Using video

Video is the best performing content type on social media.

Be creative! With video, you can:

  • Promote product or new room/room feature launches
  • Showcase simple food/beverage demos
  • Post fun food/coffee boomerangs – keep it simple

Mobile is growing… constantly

Steadily, we’ve noted the rise in mobile (traffic and revenue) over the last year. In Q3 of 2020, we saw mobile traffic share come in at a record breaking 75%.

Developing a content calendar

Your content calendar should be simple, no fuss and easy for you to use and access – especially if there are more than one people who will be using it. Handy tools to create this in include Google docs or even Trello!

Using ‘content buckets’ can help you define the different types of content you are posting. Examples of content buckets could be: ‘packages’ ‘local attractions’ ‘staff content’ ‘fun posts’. They will help you to ensure you are balancing the kind of content you are posting, that you’re not posting too much of one thing and too little of another.

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Decide on timing & frequency

  • It’s recommended generally that a brand should post around 5 times a week on social media (across platforms, so you can post 5 times a week on Facebook and Instagram for example, if you use both)
  • Any more than this and your organic reach may start to drop

Your content calendar posts should outline:

  • Specific content bucket
  • Time of post or scheduling
  • Copy and image/video/link
  • Who is responsible
  • Whether the content is in progress or published

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