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Mission Control / Travel

Travel Marketing: Making Seasonal Content Work For You

It wasn’t too long ago that we talked about the importance of seasonal content for your brand.

Step 1: Identify your goals

To start, we knew Explore Minnesota was looking to increase tourism from areas surrounding the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region. Right from the beginning, this helped hone our approach. We didn’t have to convince people from Florida or Germany or California to vacation in Minnesota — we needed to talk to people from Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Iowa.

Step 2: Identify your audience

Once we knew the goals for our content campaign, the next piece of the puzzle was the audience. Who would we be creating this content for? Looking at the opportunities and the goals, we could identify three audience segments that fit the overall strategy:

  • Families
  • Couples
  • Friends

Once established, we could start asking ourselves questions that would fuel our editorial strategy:

  • “What would nearby families looking for a fun vacation like to see?”
  • “Couples planning a romantic trip would like what kind of travel content?”
  • “Friends organizing a weekend getaway would be interested in what sorts of things?”

Step 3: Planning and curation

Explore Minnesota had invested in a library of local content over the years — why let it go to waste? After conducting a thorough audit, there were numerous pieces of existing content that aligned with our goals and audiences for the proposed seasonal content hub. While some were great as they were, others required a few tweaks to bring them up to date. Once this content foundation was in place, we could identify the gaps: “We have plenty of family content, but need more content for couples! Bloomington is covered pretty nicely, but we could use some more content for Edina!”

Working with local Minnesota writers, we used these gaps to create an editorial plan. Then it was time to research and write.

In addition to written content, we worked with a local Minnesota video production company to create custom videos that aligned with our three main audiences, highlighting major attractions and seasonal activities.

Working with local Minnesota writers, we used these gaps to create an editorial plan. Then it was time to research and write.

Step 4: Creating a content home

While our writers were hard at work, it was time for our design team to think about how this content should live. It was important to maintain a connection to the larger Explore Minnesota brand, while still creating something unique enough that could live on its own.

MSP Vacations was born.

Step 5: Distribution and promotion

Once the content and design were combined into the MSP Vacations hub experience, people came of their own free will, from far and wide, to click on all the links, book all the travel — and everyone lived happily ever after.

Just kidding.

The distribution and promotion of content has become an integral step in the content marketing process, but, unfortunately, it’s one often overlooked. If you’re going to spend the time, effort and money to create quality content, you must account for its distribution and promotion. How are people going to find this content? How are you going to share it? And platforms like Google and Facebook have made no attempts to hide the fact that brands must “pay to play” to see results in these spaces.

As part of our MSP Vacations marketing strategy, we employed:

  • Display advertising
  • Email
  • Retargeting
  • Video distribution
  • Content syndication

Step 6: Reporting and results

It’s one thing to get this far in the process — but if you don’t take the final step (reporting on results), you won’t learn anything, and won’t know how to make your next campaign even better. Learning what works and what doesn’t is key to saving money and time on future content efforts.

After running our MSP Vacations seasonal fall campaign, we reported on our efforts and shared key learnings that are being to optimize future campaigns. We’d love to share the full campaign performance details, but that we will save that for a boring case study.

Next Steps:

MSP Vacations proved that well planned seasonal content, based in strategy, can provide results. As fall fades, we’re taking what we’ve learned and employing a similar strategy for the winter season, with a few modifications:

  • Look to new distribution channels to test efficacy.
  • Encourage local DMOs to share and leverage content on their own channels.
  • Mimic high-performing content in future content pieces (broad topics that encourage prolonged engagement).

Do you think a seasonal content approach could work for you? We think so too. Let’s chat!

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