When considering a shift to inbound marketing, meetings industry suppliers at times question me on the content creation demands that such an approach will create. Hoteliers, DMOs and other service providers wonder if they have enough material to sustain a blog or other resources, how they will find time to generate material regularly, and who is going to write the required content.
As with any business strategy, there is no silver bullet, but here are some practices that have worked for us:
Finding the Material
- Start with the easy stories: what new services, facilities or partnerships can you write a short announcement about? Resist the temptation to sound too promotional; instead, show how these new developments will help meeting planners.
- Put the limelight on one of your clients (with their permission of course). Demonstrate how working with your hotel or destination the group was able to achieve specific goals.
- Comment on an industry issue, event or trend. This could show your understanding of issues, or that you are "in the know" about news.
- Use the calendar to your advantage. Offer advice for theming events (from Valentines Day to Christmas), seasonal menu offerings, ideas for team building.
Finding the Time
- Start by making a commitment you can live with. When I started blogging three years ago I posted once per month; now I'm up to once per week.
- Stick with a schedule. If you commit to posting every Monday, for instance, it'll become easier to create that habit.
- Write a few filler pieces for those busy periods when you just can't find the time.
Finding the Writer(s)
- Just because you're the Director of Sales & Marketing, it doesn't mean YOU should be the main blogger. Look for a person who likes to write. Hint: Often these are people with the longest emails...
- Ask your staff, suppliers and even outside partners or other bloggers to write an occasional post. At Greenfield we encourage team members to contribute by giving four hours of paid time off for every blog that gets published (click here for our latest post by one of our Client Care Specialists). As for outside contributors, the added exposure, especially the inbound links to their own site, often is incentive enough.
- I happen to like writing, but sometimes I have no time. That's when I do one of two things: dictate my thoughts into my iPhone and ask someone to edit, OR I turn to my good friend and business collaborator, Mitchell Beer. I'm at the point now where I can talk with Mitchell for thirty minutes about three different topics, and he'll produce three blogs for me!
Creating content for your inbound marketing program isn't rocket science. But having a sound strategy will ensure that your efforts don't stall along the way.