Content Jam 2019: Blue Magnet's Recap

Blue Magnet Interactive sent five of their team members to Chicago’s largest content marketing conference, Content Jam, where they learned countless content marketing tips and tricks. As content strategists and digital marketing enthusiasts, they were thrilled to spend a day discovering the secrets of content marketing from other industry experts. Below are their takeaways from the Content Jam sessions they attended and insights for hoteliers who are looking to leverage this knowledge to enhance their digital campaigns.

Opening Keynote: The Most Human Company Wins

Speaker: Mark Schaefer

Mark put forth the idea that we are currently in a consumer revolt, where much of what we know about sales, advertising, and marketing just does not work. The traditional sales funnel is failing. Demand generation does not work because the channels normally used for it are ineffective – no one watches advertisements anymore. People are proud of their ability to avoid ads.

A really strong point Mark made was about being more human. He cited an example of why he stays are a particular hotel when he travels. His decision had nothing to do with brand loyalty, but with the loyalty he had to one of the staff. The connection he had with this one person made the decision for him.

Hotel Insights: Hoteliers can learn from this and do more during the guest’s stay to connect on a personal level with the guest. Respond to reviews and inquiries as people instead of a company. Show off the ‘humans’ behind the brand in the marketing so when potential guests plan a visit, they see and hear from the people at the hotel.

Keynote: Machine Learning for SEOs

Speaker: Britney Muller

Machine learning is coming for SEO, but not in a scary, robot uprising sort of way. As it has done with its latest update, BERT (bidirectional encoder representations from transformers), Google continually uses machine learning more and more to get an insight into searcher intent. Transformers are models that process words in a sentence in relation to all of the other words in the sentence.

Hotel Insights: Hoteliers do not need to take immediate action on this, but need to understand machine learning changes search in some very fundamental ways. While the idea of booking a hotel room through Google Home, Alexa, or Siri is still not common, we are approaching a time when it will be. Understanding how machine learning is being used to look at website content and relate it to search queries will play a role in a hotel’s success in organic search.

Transformational Storytelling & the Age of Distrust

Speaker: Jordan Bower

One of Jordan Bower’s main points was that there has been a fundamental shift in trust online. People have stopped trusting companies and started trusting complete strangers. They will look to user ratings and reviews to decide whether or not to trust your brand.

Hotel Insights: Hotels should be staying on top of their reviews and providing transparency and honesty online and in-person. For example, let’s say someone leaves a negative review on TripAdvisor. That guest could still be staying at your hotel during the time the review is left and you have an opportunity to resolve the issue in person if you are prompt and on top of reviews. If the issue is fixed for the guest, you then have the opportunity to ask them to update their review. These actions will improve your overall ratings and more potential guests will trust your hotel, which can lead to more heads in beds.

How Connecting Content and Commerce is the future of B2C and DTC

Speaker: Aaron Orendorff

Consumers prefer socially responsible companies. Social issues are important to people. So much so, that they will knowingly pay more for your product. Bowers states that when people are disappointed with your brand’s words and actions, 62% of those people will leave and seek services elsewhere.

Hotel Insights: Hotels can capitalize on this by openly sharing any causes they support or positive beliefs that their brand lives by. For example, your hotel can post on social media about your team’s trip to support a local food pantry and promote any non-profit partnerships on your website. Use #GivingTuesday (which is December 3, 2019 this year) as a great opportunity to talk about who your hotel supports. Run promotions in which a portion of the proceeds goes towards the non-profit and/or post about the great organization on social media.

How to Use Social Listening to Inform Your Content Marketing Strategy

Speaker: Brooke Sellas

Just because you have a social media account and are monitoring/ responding to comments and messages, does not mean you are “listening.” Social media monitoring is 101, social listening is graduating from being reactive and becoming proactive.

Hotel Insights: In order to level up on social media – your hotel needs to take the next step. Start paying attention to what consumers/ potential guests are saying about you in conversations that you might not necessarily be tagged in to stay on top of how potential guests feel about your brand, your competitors, and the market. Then, adjust your content and strategy accordingly.

Reporting: The Best & Worst Part of Your Job

Speaker: Dana DiTomaso

Reporting is only valuable when all stakeholders understand what is being reported on, why is it being reported on, and how digital marketing efforts are affecting the metrics. Otherwise, a report is a bunch of meaningless numbers being passed from one person to the next. When creating or reviewing a report, think about the big picture – what are your digital marketing strategies, who is the target audience to your strategies, what are these metrics telling you, and how can this data be used to improve.

Hotel Insights: Work with your digital marketing partner to help you understand what a provided report means and what the data is “telling” you to do next. The more context and confidence you have behind the metrics, the more you will be able to make impactful decisions with your digital marketing strategy.

Rankings Drive Real Revenue, But How Can You Prove It?

Speaker: Kameron Jenkins

SEO is a means to an end. The dream SEO strategy will lead to rankings, which will lead to traffic, and then to conversions. Although SEO work will see a direct impact with organic rankings, keep in mind that outside factors will affect visits (i.e. seasonality) and revenue (i.e. business factors). Review standard metrics for organic search (SEO) performance in addition to the multi-channel funnel report to see how organic search (SEO) is contributing to other channels. If your website does not have e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics, you can also set up goal values to determine a return estimate.

Hotel Insights: Take a step back and review performance as a whole. Analyze not only relevant SEO metrics but also market trends and outside factors that may be contributing to the data. Discuss the long-term value of SEO and your SEO strategies with your digital marketing partner.

Content Strategy for Lead Generation

Speaker: Andy Crestodina

Andy discussed how longer (quality) content can yield stronger results. He quoted Jerry Seinfeld, “There is no such thing as an attention span. There is only the quality of what you are viewing. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.”

Hotel Insights: Create content with intent. Make sure that your hotel is sharing valuable information that is filling the needs’ of your website visitors/ potential hotel guests. Take the time to create content that is both meaningful and entertaining by studying your website’s analytics.

Mastering Email Marketing: How to Keep the Customers You’ve Already Got Through Better Email

Speaker: Val Geisler

To engage customers who have signed up for your email list but not made any purchases, create an onboarding strategy across multiple emails to increase click-through rates and conversions. Email onboarding should be like throwing a dinner party, where multiple courses (emails) are used to tempt the taste buds of subscribers rather than shoving the main course (a strong sales CTA) directly into their mouth (inbox).

Hotel Insights: Engage the subscribers you have already gotten in a strategic way. Customize onboarding messaging for them and introduce your hotel slowly rather than asking them to book right away. For the first few “courses” of your onboarding, highlight the amenities and differentiating factors your hotel offers without an obvious booking CTA. Get a guest familiar with your brand before asking they book. Building trust via strategic email with a potential guest will lead to more conversions.

For additional information on how to make your hotel’s content more valuable to guests, contact the Blue Magnet team.

Post Contributors: Haley Carmichael (Project Manager), Nicole Poggensee (Director of Accounts), Sean D. Francs (Director of SEO), Stephanie Hilger (Director of Brand Strategy and Marketing), and Tasha Lawson (Digital Marketing Manager)

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