By Melissa DiGianfilippo
Recently, I shared insights into how you can engage the media and get your hotel, motel, B&B, or resort into the press regularly. Now, I want to shift perspective and discuss what makes a good story, and then share the five best mediums you should use to tell and enhance your brand story.
First, what is a good story? Paraphrasing the American Press Institute – a good story is about something the audience decides is interesting or important. A GREAT story makes important news interesting and relevant to the audience that’s seeing, hearing or reading the story. It’s HOW you tell your brand story that makes the difference between good and great. The HOW is multi-faceted, encompassing everything from the words you use to tell your story to the visuals that bring it to life.
It’s a given that hospitality professionals should already know the things that are important to guests and potential guests. The question is how to make these things interesting. Here are five key mediums that can help enhance your how and keep media and customers wanting more.
1/ Write a byline article. Byline articles are a fantastic way to establish thought leadership, showcasing industry experience and areas of expertise to a highly targeted audience. In a byline just like the one you’re reading, you have the opportunity to highlight a common problem and solution, case study, or innovation that’s relevant to your industry, other businesses or customers. Whether the article is addressing the B2B or B2C realm, exciting and relevant bylines can significantly enhance your credibility and your brand. Sound too intimidating to tackle on your own? Decide on the key points you want to make, and then hire a trusted PR or marketing professional to write it for you.
2/ Contribute to a feature story with multiple interviews. Journalists are always looking for sources to provide comments, insights, and insider perspectives for their articles and feature stories. One of the journalism industry’s most significant resources, HARO (Help a Reporter Out) was explicitly created to help meet reporters, and freelance writers find topic experts to interview. Subscribe to the daily emails, and when you see a pitch you can answer, reach out! Twitter and LinkedIn are also great platforms for connecting with journalists, writers, and publications specializing in hospitality and related services. Contributing to a feature story puts you in the company of other industry thought leaders and professionals, further enhancing your brand and credibility.
3/ Have incredible video and B-roll resources available. Telling a compelling and relevant brand story isn’t just about words. Today, video is the go-to way to tell a story. Why? Humans are visual creatures, as evidenced by the ever-increasing consumption of video online. Journalists and reporters will love having access to footage and B-roll. Some may have videographers, however, in these days of shrinking budgets and fast-turnaround, many do not. Nicely composed video can provide an engaging visual tour of areas of interest around your property, and B-roll can help enrich and round out a story.
4/ Create a high-resolution photo gallery for your property. As rock legend Rod Stewart once sang, ‘every picture tells a story don’t it?’ Yes, they do, and it’s critical that you make sure your brand pictures are telling the right tale. Your website and collaterals should include a wide range of professional-quality photos that highlight your property, rooms, amenities, and other areas of interest. Your photo gallery should also include a media-only section where high resolution in RGB (web) and CMYK (print) formats and hi-res versions of your logos can be reviewed and downloaded. Journalists can use these assets in stories about your brand, so make their job easier and invest in the best photos possible.
5/ Blogs are great ways to tell your brand story! Once upon a time, blogs were the kings of content. As technology advanced, new methods of storytelling and innovative new platforms arose, and blogs fell out of favor. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting or abandoning your blog. Why? There are mountains of consumer insights contained in the analytics from your website and other digital platforms. USE THEM. Find out what people are searching for, talking about, or even buzzing about and turn it to your advantage. Regular blog posts and SEO-focused blogs based on long-tail keywords not only enhance the presence of your website in search engines; they also boost brand credibility.
Remember these mediums. Use them, and you’ll be well on the road to telling a compelling, engaging, and consistent brand story. Remember, if all of this seems overwhelming, ask for professional help. Hiring an agency or freelancer with hospitality expertise is well worth the money, and increased leads should quickly offset the cost of their services. Now get out there and share your brand story!