Friday, August 05, 2016

Dare to Be Different: Content Strategy Inspiration for Avid Travelers

Megan Williams
Content

Summer is more than halfway over (sigh), but don’t feel down – a little dose of inspirational tourism content will fix you right up. Get ready to pack your bags and cash in some PTO after pouring over these beautiful (and strategically spot on) sites.

Putting the Content Strategy All Together

As a content strategist, I’m always on the lookout for inspiration. And these three tourism sites stand out with well planned, enjoyable and unexpected content that is completely on brand.

And the best part? Following the content lessons they provide can lead to any site’s success, whether inside the tourist industry or out.

1. Create content that users want to spend lots of time pouring over, and include them in the creation process.

2. Provide the right content at the right time to help users make the decision you want them to make.

3. Don’t be afraid to use an authentic voice that shows who you are.

With that in mind, let’s take a tour of these sites that do content strategy right.

Maine

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http://mainequarterly.com/

Disclaimer: I’m originally from the state of Maine. And yeah, even though Maine will always hold a special place in my heart, that’s not why I love this site.

It’s all about the adventurous, to-the-max storytelling that leaves me wanting more. These days, most tourism sites have stories featuring local attractions and events – but none of them are as immersive as this:

· The Quarterly is a separate experience from the official tourism site with all of its trip planning functionality and detail, and it’s meant for one purpose only – storytelling

· Looping video, powerful pullout quotes and parallax scrolling combine to tell a story that unfolds chapter by chapter – just the way a real story should

· Issues about road trips, the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail and Acadia National Park combine expert subject matter knowledge with gorgeous visuals to tempt would-be tourists

· Photos and videos showing local folks making beer, farming and lobstering paint a convincing picture of the Maine way of life

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It’s obvious that lots of time and effort went into sourcing locales stories and local folks to share their Maine with us. And the payoff is a site that users will linger over and visit repeatedly because the content is so darn well-crafted.

Canada – Keep Exploring

https://us-keepexploring.canada.travel

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This travel site is aimed at American tourists – and it warms my content strategist heart. It provides the right balance of compelling content, offered up at just the right time, all presented in a simple, no-fuss kind of way. Just the thing to make us Americans see how easy (and fun) it would be to hop up to Canada for a spell.

This includes:

· Tongue in cheek copy that sets out to prove that there’s more to our neighbor in the north than we realize

· An interactive province map that pops up American city travel times on roll over

· Super useful and straightforward info that allays concerns over customs, passports and the metric system

· An Instagram gallery and slideshow featuring tourists’ most loved moments

· Simple navigation that makes the site easy to explore – and the What to Do section gives users the choice between exploring activities by article or themes

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I could go on – this site is amazing. The content all works together to present a convincing argument that yes, Canada has plenty to offer – and there’s no excuse why it shouldn’t be your next trip.

Oregon

http://traveloregon.com/

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Okay, after watching six seasons of Portlandia, I know Oregon has a unique personality. What I didn’t know is that Oregon has a pretty special tourism site, too. Little touches throughout the site make it both engaging and interactive, and worthy of being read all the way through.

Some of the features include:

· Random vacation suggestion generator for busy folks that surfaces fun ideas you might otherwise never have considered

· An “Ask Oregon” section that lets you create the FAQs by posing questions to local experts

· The Seven Wonders of Oregon section sends the message that Oregon ranks as one of the most fascinating places to visit, and allows users to add their own adventure photos to the gallery

· Copy that showcases Oregon’s personality as humble, to the point and playful

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This site is a perfect example of how to embrace unique content that goes beyond the basics to delight users, and to keep them coming back.

The Trip May Be Over . . . But the Content Keeps on Going

It’s the kind of content that strategists dream of: compelling, worthwhile and informative. Is it daring? You bet. But that’s why it works.

And with one last nod to the passing days of summer, let’s remember to create content the way David Ogilvy intended:

Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.

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