gorazd_cad.thumbA few days ago a colleague replied to my offer for co-operation in the field of content marketing by saying that he swears solely on direct sales. At first I was a bit surprised by his ignorance, but I later came to realise that in the field of tourism the concept of content marketing will have to be a bit more carefully defined and explained. I understand my colleague’s dilemma in the short-term scramble to get results, but in the long run I personally believe in other, more effective communications tools.

At a time when campaigns are engaged through the hands of our customers, there are only a few tools besides content marketing that enable communication through various media channels. Many fail to distinguish normal PR messages from content marketing. The basic difference is in the useful value of the message to the end user and the right use of different channels. Have you ever wondered how many hoteliers and other meetings industry providers have their own blog, are preparing an e-newspaper for loyal customers, managing their own video channels, publishing infographs and white papers, tweeting, building facebook communities and so on?

The most important difference is in the ‘storytelling’ and not the service-selling. Basically stories must be personal, honest and written in good old fashioned journalese. Even better if they follow the classic five-step logic of classical Greek tragedies: an exposition or introduction, the rising action, climax, demise and the resolution or catharsis. Such integrated stories are very easily placed in a variety of communication media, which generally apply to the sales messages that most consumer goods providers bombarded us with on a daily basis. Personally, I feel that I’ve had a fair amount of sugar secreted into my blood vessels from all the Valentine’s offers I’ve recently received.

In a way, media houses have themselves become good and successful brands. The most typical example is Red Bull, for which a proactive tweet has recently been issued that they are not really drink vendors, but rather a media house. Look at their media kingdom on www.redbullmediahouse.com and you’ll understand. Another similar example is American Express Publishing, which uses content marketing in a superior way. In their portfolio, which you can see at www.amexpub.com , are the magazines Travel +, Executive Travel, Departures and Food & Wine.

We have some excellent examples in our country too. The avant-garde of content marketing were at Adria Airways, with their In-Flight magazine. The magazine can compete with the best in the world, lacking only in digitisation and consistent adjustment for tablets. The corporate magazine of the Grand Hotel Union is also excellent as a tool to strengthen customer loyalty. The Slon Hotel Magazine deserves a mention, as does everything done in the field of content marketing by the Bohinj Park Eco Hotel.
Good content has never been free. Building a house is something probably no one tackles himself, rather he or she honestly considers with whom to address the matter. The main problem arises because today we all think they are familiar with writing. Thought and word are discrepant concepts, which only commitment, accuracy, courtesy in writing or neither more nor less than an intellectual lead effort so far to no residual liquid speak brilliantly cope.

I am firmly convinced of the effectiveness of content marketing, but it also conceals some pitfalls and dangers. Just as with football, everybody thinks they know about tourism and meetings, but even to articulate their thoughts they have huge problems. The result? Poor content, which necessarily means a bad response a priori, and even worse if you are failing to respond to the reactions of readers. It is necessary to create the 24-hour experience, which also has forums with comments. The content must therefore always be fresh, original and if possible just a little provocative.

Nowadays, one can measure everything like never before in the history of marketing. You will often be surprised at what your audience is interested in. Most often it will be something far removed from what seemed most important to you.

So to finish off , some recommendations and content recipes: try to follow the basic rule that ‘you do not copy others’. Constantly mentioning the company and its products is annoying and unnecessary. Creating attractive titles is extremely important; avoid posting transmitted news and content, rather create your own original news content and use superior pictures without overdoing it with technical or scientific expertise. If you’re already posting advertorial, but clearly and loudly indicated, your readers won’t be offended by it. The temptation of quasi content marketing awaits you at every turn. The responsibility of content marketing editors is the same as the responsibility of all journalists, so at least read the Code of Journalists to begin with, otherwise let the professionals do the job.

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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.