Recently, I came across the National Aquarium of New Zealand’s Instagram page and thought: now there’s a smart idea for content creation in tourism. Their “Penguin of the Month” feature awards both a “naughty” and “good” category. The award post captions are hilariously descriptive and draw the audience into the ongoing competition. I even admit to being disappointed this month when little Mo reclaimed the Naughty award after finally winning the Good award a few months ago.
The beauty of this concept isn’t just leveraging the cuteness of penguins. It’s the fact that they’ve established an interesting, personal, and sustainable stream of content that eases the burden of content creation.
The most frequent complaint we hear from marketers who are responsible for feeding multiple social and marketing channels weekly is this: it’s a pain in the a** to figure out what to post all the time. This is especially true if content creation is only a sliver of the person’s job. Coming up with ideas for engaging content takes time and mental bandwidth. And if you’re a tourism marketer who wears many hats, you know those two things are always in short supply. This is why concepts like Throwback Thursday were born, because it’s an easy reach for a weekly content idea. (BTW, don’t ever use the hashtag #tbt. Here’s why.)
It’s always smart to find marketing ideas in the wild and use them to spark new ideas tailored to your own unique situation. You can get more specific help on how to do that here, but for now, let’s talk about the “of the month” type of content feature.
Obviously, if you’re a zoo, aquarium, or any type of animal farm/sanctuary, this idea is ideal for you. It doesn’t matter if other attractions are doing it too… it’s not a mutually exclusive marketing concept. Your “of the month” feature is tailored to your animals, your attraction, and your audiences.
But what if you don’t have cute animals in your content toolbox? You can still tap the “of the month” magic with an interesting, personal, and sustainable stream of content that makes sense for YOU. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hotel, destination, tour company, restaurant, cruise line, or whatever. People generally like to be entertained by tourism and hospitality content. This means you’ve got a blank canvas to craft an engaging concept that works for your business. For example, you could do fun, funny, and/or tongue-in-cheek versions of…
- Quirky Object of the Month Award, for which you tell a fun story about an interesting knick knack, piece of furniture, piece of artwork, weird utensil, or whatever else is on your property. Don’t just describe it…give it personality. “This pitcher shaped like a rooster is a fan favorite here at the inn. It was originally used to hold milk at the family’s breakfast table, but now we often use it to hold sangria at our Friday happy hours. Hmmm. Maybe that’s why it’s a fan favorite?”
- View of the Month Award, which could take many forms. Shots from inside hotel rooms looking out, cool/breathtaking views in your area, secret viewing spots only locals know, etc. Again…captions shouldn’t be boring here, like “isn’t it breathtaking?” Rather, add flair, like a recurring theme of “if this view could talk, it would say…” and each time answer it with something that grabs attention. Like, it would say “…why didn’t you bring a picnic?” Or “…sell your house, pack your belongings, and just move here already.” Or “…would you like a side of wine with this?”
- Activity of the Month Award, which could cover anything from physical/exercise activities (i.e. hiking) to seasonal activities (i.e. berry picking) to “only in your area” activities (i.e. oyster shucking down at the local marina) to quirky/random activities (i.e. instructions for proper stretching after a long car trip).
The categories are endless and would be all the more engaging if they’re unexpected. A city destination might do a “Parking Spot of the Month” feature, and use it to highlight a cool block of shops in various neighborhoods. A hotel might do a “Guest of the Month” feature, but it’s all about the dogs, cats, and other pets that visit…not people. A cruise line might do a “Towel Animal of the Month” feature, and make up a story behind each animal as if it were a live being.
The point is…an interesting, personal, and sustainable “of the month” feature is an excellent way to ease some of the burden marketers face in generating content.
And WATCH THIS SPACE to see if little Mo the penguin ever makes it back to the “Good” list.