Over the last several years Organically Interactive has built its reputation as a destination marketing agency through application of both tried and true marketing strategies and innovative promotion tactics. We deliver our campaigns with an integrated search focus that delivers powerfully effective results and outstanding value. In this first part of our three part series we’ll discuss two prongs of our strategy; content creation and social distribution. We will discuss each of them individually and then demonstrate how we integrate them into our strategy.

Content is the backbone of our entire integrated marketing strategy. In the case of destination marketing, content creation and distribution are vitally important. Sharing captivating photos and writing blog posts and web copy comprise only a small part of what we do. It’s imperative to get into the minds of a destination’s target audience; to understand their motivations and deliver content that will delight them.

It’s Easy to Feel a False Sense of Security

An agency can potentially feel a false sense of security if a destination’s fans are already engaging readily with its content. Organically Interactive’s campaigns take nothing for granted. We dialogue with new and return visitors to discover what matters most to them. Sometimes it’s paying special attention to questions on Twitter about hotel recommendations, restaurant tips and attractions discounts. At other times it can mean attending special events to gain a first-hand understanding of the flavor of the event and of course coming back with exclusive photos, interviews, and in-person impressions that we then can mine for content creation.

For example, every year thousands of visitors to Gatlinburg trek to Cades Cove, one of the most visited areas in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some of the top attractions in Cades Cove are the old homesteads and historical buildings. Organically Interactive obtained a photograph of a white chapel, set in a little grove, surrounded by blazing fall colors on all sides. This photo more than captured the imagination of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau’s target audience; it defined a moment in time.

Really Great Content – Defined

Really great content will always do at least one of these things: It will define and mark a moment; it will create something new; it will reaffirm people’s opinions by saying what they wished they could say; it will not need words to deliver its message — a remarkable photo or image, when it is shared in the perfect context — can capture a sense of place so completely, that people are irresistibly drawn to it. That is what happened with the white chapel photo. It garnered over 41,000 likes, over 7,700 shares, and over 3,300 comments. It was posted in October 2012 on Facebook and over a year later continued to gain likes, shares and comments. This is the definition of quality content.

Now granted, it would seem that Organically Interactive has an almost unfair advantage, as Gatlinburg’s very dedicated fan base energetically shares gorgeous photos of the city on a regular basis. But there’s something different between fans sharing a picture a few hundred times and sharing it thousands of times. While the number of likes for the chapel photo was astronomical, the number of shares really confirmed the perfect context in which that photo was posted. People were yearning to see the fall colors which were peaking in Gatlinburg at the time. Organically Interactive could have posted most any photo with a backdrop featuring fall foliage. The chapel picture embodied more than the elements in the photo, it spoke to history, tradition and the very character that Gatlinburg is known for.

Interestingly, the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau has several photos of the same chapel pinned on its Cades Cove Pinterest board, and they show a respectable number of Likes, but nothing even remotely close to the explosive engagement that the chapel photo on Facebook received. An additional point can be made about perspective. The Pinterest chapel photos show the chapel close up in the foreground of each picture. The famous Facebook photo depicts the chapel at a great distance, enveloped by the blazing oranges, reds and golds of thousands of trees. The chapel in this context emits its own kind of peace, settled amongst the iconic tranquility of Gatlinburg’s fall colors.

Find Your Own Chapel Photo

Every destination has its little white chapel photo. It is the job of a great marketing agency to collaborate with its customer to either source that photo, deploy a photographer to take it, or, perhaps in the most miraculous of fashions, come upon it by accident. Obtaining or creating the perfect photo, audio clip, infographic, video or blog post is only half of the story. Sharing it at the right time, on the right social network, and placing it in the right context are all as important as the content itself. Perfect content distribution requires painstaking attention to detail if an agency is going to captivate fans.

Next time: In our next post we’ll discuss how website design strategies can help refine and grow a destination marketing campaign.