Last month in our post on how to ‘Be More Than Content’ we discussed the growing importance of content to marketers and online success. In this post we examine how organisations can turn what they do best on a daily basis into great digital content.

Here we explore some ways in which organisations from the Arts, Culture and Hospitality sectors can draw upon their own specialisms to incorporate content in more meaningful ways and offer some tips on how all sorts of businesses can place content at the core of their marketing strategies.

1. Build Online Content from What You Have Offline

Tipped to be one of the biggest trends of 2013, content marketing is key to success in search, brand awareness and market positioning. Many organisations have so much content already, and just need to make better use of it. Arts and cultural organisations, for example, are in the business of providing ‘experiential goods’. For many, the visual and performing arts are largely an offline affair, but increasingly this content is finding new and innovative expression through digital channels. Arts organisations can effectively communicate their unique selling points (i.e. shows, performers, venue, promotions, etc) to online audiences by making more of what they already produce offline. This is something that the travel industry does particularly well, with destination hotels and travel agencies using their positions as local experts to create engaging and informative content for visitors, both promoting their location and offering a sample of the level of service that can be expected on arrival.

2. Guess What... Online Audiences are Growing

Increasing numbers of UK adults are logging on to the Internet to inform themselves, share, discuss and buy, and research has shown that this is no different for consumers of the arts and travel industries. With social policy goals in mind, many arts and cultural organisations will recognise how important the digital consumption of art can be as a portal to further engagement and user-generated content. Likewise, the hotel that presents itself as a credible and insightful expert on local culture, history and attractions will differentiate itself from its competitors and attract increased interaction from its online audiences. Both sectors stand to gain from a more immersive and conversant web environment by adopting digital strategies that align to their strengths and goals.

3. Online is an Opportunity to Offer More

When developing a content marketing strategy it is important to avoid rehashing offline content like print material, which can result in flat ‘brochureware’ sites. Sites without regularly updated and relevant content give no incentive for the visitor to come back. Taking time to curate archive material, or highlighting interesting and relevant pieces in a blog post can help introduce the user to content that complements key marketing messages. Drawing upon the expertise within your organisation shares the responsibility and can lead to more diverse and representative content. Tate, for example, has an excellent blog series that really utiltises its world-class experts and draws heavily on its vast virtual archive. Similarly, the National Theatre’s expanding archive of video content is helping to ensure “that the theatre doesn't begin and end with the rise and fall of the curtain”. The travel and tourism industry can also combine local and internal expertise, and great content such as visual imagery, to reach out to target audiences with engaging and unique marketing communications. After Digital’s client Princes Street Suites does so by utilising Pinterest to visually express the culturally rich and unique visitor experience offered by Edinburgh and thus promote the hotel as the epicentre of this experience.

4. Free the Archives

Great quality content isn’t going to be very useful if no one can find it. That goes for existing archive material and for newly-created content. Arts organisations, for example, have the opportunity to open up access to their archives, but this is of no use if they rank poorly in search engine results. Digital marketing strategies should revolve around discoverability, by focusing on SEO, navigability, highlighting and linking to content in direct mailings, landing pages, social media and blog posts. Enabling audiences to share - and even participate in the creation of - content can amplify its impact. Indeed, today’s web-savvy generation expect this element of interaction, and will be sure to share their opinions online elsewhere.

5. Segment Audiences, Tailor to their Requirements

Considering who the target audiences are will determine what content is chosen, and how it is accessed. For example, recent research has shown that out of all groups, the over 65s are most likely to use the Internet to research and book holiday accommodation. Insights such as these allow tailoring of content, and creation of user journeys that maximise ROI. However, it is important to bear in mind that target audiences are likely to be multiple and diverse, a truth for both the hospitality industry and the arts.

Whilst online ticketing is commonplace, as few as 16% of audiences access sample trailers and virtual art. Within this the figures vary massively between different segments, dependent on existing engagement and confidence with technology. Armed with this knowledge, and an understanding of user needs, content can be scaled and delivered to suit different audiences on different platforms.

And Finally...

The financial return on investment in content marketing may not be immediately apparent, but with a strategy based on well-established goals set out in advance content-rich earned media can be a hugely rewarding positioning tool.

Our top tips:

  • Maximise on the great content you already have
  • Identify your experts and specialists and give them a platform
  • Make sure your content is discoverable via effective SEO, link building and channel/platform analysis
  • Know your audiences and tailor content to their needs
  • Set achievable and measurable goals that form the basis of a holistic strategy.