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Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 in Digital Industry News

Want Better Creative Content? Follow These 9 Rules

Creative content is a powerful tool in a digital hotel marketer’s arsenal. Using eye-catching visuals will increase engagement with your content on social media and help your customers remember your marketing message.

But developing great creative content isn’t as simple as lining up a color scheme, a nice font and a designer. You’ll need a robust concept, the right design principles and a clear distribution plan from the start of the project. Here are nine guidelines to help take your creative content to the next level.

Crafting a Concept

Put on your brainstorming hat — the concepting stage is one of the most important parts of developing creative content. It’s also the most fun.

Crafting a concept identifies what story you’re going to tell and lays the groundwork for your design and distribution. In addition to having a clear goal for your content there are a few key steps to develop a strong concept:

1. Identify your audience. 

Who are you trying to talk to? If your answer to this question is “everyone,” your content will probably fall flat. The more specific your audience, the easier it is to deliver something that resonates with them. Think about if you want to target next gen explorers or bleisure travelers or families on spring break.

2. Think about timing. 

Seasonal or event-based topics are a great fit for creative content. Think about ways you might be able to repurpose your content, and build that into the concept.

Evergreen content can still have a timely hook — for example, if your hotel’s in a city hosting a big winter sporting event, rather than highlighting things to do at that event, you may want to showcase winter activities in your city. That way it’ll be relevant to people attending the event, but also can be reused next year.

3. Find a unique angle. 

Good creative content adds value for your customers. Great creative content adds value that they can’t find anywhere else.

For example, if your hotel is in wine country, a good piece of content would be a map of local vineyards. But wait — that content’s pretty easy to find other places, isn’t it? Instead, ask your sommelier to recommend the best varietal to try at each local vineyard, and make a map of those. You’re still providing the valuable area guide, but this time with a unique spin that positions your hotel as an authority on wine tasting.

Design

This one’s pretty obvious: great design is critical to great creative. The visual aspect of creative content is the easiest to see, and therefore it usually gets the most scrutiny.

Even if you’re working with a designer to build your creative, there are some best practices you should be aware of to ensure high quality creative:

4. Show, don’t tell.

The classic storytelling mantra is key for creative content. Your designs should tell a story in a visual, easy to consume way. Avoid lots of text — rather than describing your hotel’s new designs, use images to show what it looks like.

5. Make sure there’s a visual flow.

In the age of short attention spans it’s important for readers to get the main gist of your creative in a matter of seconds. Maintaining a strong content hierarchy and visual flow, where your most important elements are the most prominent, helps draw your eyes to the meat of the message.

6. Remember your brand, and your audience.

Even though creative content can push boundaries, always keep your brand voice and visual identity in mind. All of your hotel’s content should feel connected, like it’s coming from the same persona. If someone’s looking at your Facebook page, will the content you published this week feel connected to the content you published a month ago?

Likewise, make sure your creative’s aesthetic fits the audience you defined during concepting. Bright cartoons may not be the right fit for C-level business travelers.

7. Don’t forget mobile.

Many, if not most of your audience, will be consuming your creative content on a mobile device — especially if they’re getting it via social media. Always review your designs on your phone or tablet to see what the content looks like there.

Distribution

That unique, beautifully designed visual isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t have anything to do with it. Distribution — where you share your story — is often the make-or-break factor for your content’s success. It’s also incredibly linked to the concept and design stages.

8. Optimize for the channel.

These days, you can’t really take a one-size-fits-all solution to creative content. Each social channel is different when it comes to what types of content works best. An infographic, while great for Pinterest, isn’t going to work on Facebook or Instagram. What’s more, each channel has its own design specs and restrictions.

This is why distribution needs to be part of your initial concepting process. If you know which channel(s) you’ll be targeting, you can develop a concept and design style that aligns with the requirements of that channel.

9. Report and learn.

Distribution isn’t just how you get your story to your customers; it’s how they tell you if they like it. Study the engagement metrics from your creative content to see what worked and what didn’t. Not everything will go viral, but over time you’ll learn what concepts, what type of designs and what distribution methods work for your hotel.

 

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