The content experiences industry has been doubling in size every year since 2016, with more and more companies seeing and leveraging the power of content experience solutions. I have been working in the content marketing space for 14 years now and over the last number of years I have seen a huge migration of publishers moving from fixed layout content such as PDFs, Word documents and flipbooks, to more responsive solutions where the content adjusts to suit the device that the reader chooses to consume the content on.
This shift towards responsive content is happening within all industries, and the tourism industry is no different, there are many reasons for using a responsive content platform to create content, and there are many ways the tourism industry can benefit from replacing their typical website or PDF content with an engaging responsive content experience.
With recent changes and guidelines on accessibility, it is now a legal requirement for federal organizations that all of their content needs to be accessibility compliant to WCAG standards. While it is not law, as yet, for corporations it is expected. So it should be of importance for everyone in the tourism sector, especially those who work with and promote federal parks and property to ensure their content meets these standards.
Traditional online brochures and magazines are traditional image based where the text is often part of the image or stored as a separate SVG. For that reason they are not compliant. While offering content in a magazine experience is still preferred by most publishers, porting to new frameworks that allow you to recreate that real world magazine experience in a responsive framework is preferred.
A content experience platform can take the heavy lifting away for the tourism sector, allowing for easy image tag, indexable text etc. But platforms like Experios also host an accessibility validator that checks all content before it is published to ensure; that the content is tagged correctly, background imagery and coloring does not conflict with the colors of your text, and the brightness and contrast of the chosen colors are easily seen by all readers. This can be a painstaking process to do manually so using a content experience platform that you use has an accessibility validator that can check that the content is compliant before you publish is crucial and a reason why many in the tourism sector choose content experiences.
One of the challenges that all content marketers face is the speed in which they could A) package their content and B) make changes to existing experiences as this normally depended on a very small inhouse team or an agency. The latter being the most common, especially in the tourism industry. When dealing with fixed publications layouts or website CMS the production was always managed by a designer or web developer and this created a bottleneck and prohibited content marketer from producing the volumes of content that they need due to their reliance on external services. Even making small changes to the live experience was a problem as it had to go through the same channels to get updated. There are a number of reasons for this process. You were dealing with complex design or coding platforms that required skilled engineers to execute. Security was another important factor, as was Branding.
Also designers must safeguard the brand’s identity and for that reason they cannot allow anyone access to the master copies of their work. As with access to the website’s CMS, this is often gated by a webmaster or a dedicated resource for security purposes.
Content Experience Platforms (CEP) provide a solution. They provide multi-user access and associated restrictions to ensure that all personnel along the content’s journey can access the platform and make the changes that they are empowered to make. Firstly, webmasters can come in and add in the web-hook credentials that will allow the CEP platform to publish directly to the clients website. These web-hooks are encrypted and completely secure providing the webmaster with the security that they need.
The designers can integrate their branding into the software and create pre-designed templates for the more restricted users such as the marketing and sales teams, who will then only be able to access these pre-designed pages where they can make changes to only the images and text and are not able to edit the branding, position or style guide of the company.
From the perspective of the marketing and sales teams, they no longer have to wait on the availability of external resources to make the required changes. They can just login and go.
The days of ‘one to many’ marketing are gone. People expect to be able to filter content quickly to find what they are searching for. There is a long established tenet of web design that if your reader is waiting more than a few seconds to find the content that they want then they are lost. You will lose 50% of visitors per second. So ensuring that you can navigate the reader to the content that they want quickly is key.
You must allow your content to be able to be filtered and filtered quickly. You do this by making more choices available sooner rather than later. People are not searching for “Things to do in New York” they are looking for “Things to do in New York with small kids” or “Romantic things to do in New York”. Look at providing experiences that allow users to create their own experiences or portfolio by allowing them to first state the type of experience they are seeking and build a content experience around that need,
Leading content experience platforms allow you to marry your content pipelines into your publications so they can be automatically generated on the fly based on the choices that the reader has made. Personalized travel guides and itineraries are just some of the examples that agencies are using these types of platforms for.
The key to success for any online product is how quickly we can educate the visitor on how to onboard with the product. The simpler the onboarding the greater your success will be. And when it comes to simplicity it is best to stick to the tools that that reader is familiar with. When it comes the medium in which to present your content experiences, it is important to remember that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
A golden rule in design is that 99.999999999…% of people spend all of their time on other peoples websites and as a result they have a pre-conformed idea of how your content should be presented. That’s why all good designs have a familiarity. If your user has to learn how to navigate through the content before using then you will lose 50% every few seconds. Even if it is a stunning design it will be viewed as broken. Let me give you an example. Last year we worked with an airline client who had a travel guide for every city that they flew. On the travel guide portion of their site, they had a big green button on the left hand side of their page to access the travel guides. But they were getting tons of emails asking how to access the guides. Realizing that most sites have the Calls to Actions (CTA) on the right they changed the position to the right hand side of the page and then got a lot less emails. But still there were some trickling in so they looked again and noted that most CTAs were red rather than green on the rest of their site so they changed the color to red and never got an email again. This is a perfect example of how important it is to ensure that your experience conforms to what the reader expects through that medium.
So what are the mediums that work? Well, a few years ago research was done to rank the most effective mediums for content marketers. Not surprisingly, TV and radio were 1 and 2. Next were Newspapers and Magazines respectively. Further down the list was website CMS and social platforms.
One of the problems with website CMS (blogs & article lists) today is the volume of content that is presented to your audience. There are so many ‘calls to action’ on a traditional tourist-centric portal that readers often get lost in the troves of content and lose their bearings. If you want to get a greater return on your content marketing strategy then you must look towards the mediums that are trusted most by the audience.
Good Content marketing is like a card trick. The reader thinks they are choosing themselves but in reality they have been navigated to the desired result by the marketing magician. This research study shows that in today’s world audiences gravitate towards more respected mediums such as TV, radio and publications as they offer a much more trusted, simpler, focused, and encapsulated experience than traditional website CMS or social platforms.
So when creating a content experience for your clients you should look at creating experiences that reflect the most trusted mediums. TV and radio promotions are costly but great if you have the budget for them. A more cost effective medium is newspaper and magazine experiences as they are :
- Easy to read
- Designed to limit distractions
- Cost effective
- Great for reinforcing your brand
- Great for building trust and authority
- Easy to adsorb and understand
- Quick to load
Most content experience platforms provide encapsulated presentations that sit on top of CMS and provide their own separate content ecosystem where the content can be outputted like neither a magazine experience or a contents menu navigation.
Creating mobile centric experiences
The tourism industry has been heavily reliant on PDFs for the last 20 years but unfortunately due to the dawning of the mobile age they now have to look at moving away from fixed layout presentations such as PDFs or Flipbooks. As a colleague of mine wrote recently, ‘Say goodbye to PDFs’.
We all know that reading PDFs on a mobile is a nightmare. We have to pinch to zoom in and pan left and right just to read a sentence. This is counterintuitive to how mobile readers normally consume content. They scroll to read and swipe to move on.
Last year a client engaged our services to revamp their magazine. They had invested tens of thousands developing a beautiful itinerary for tourists visiting their state. The problem was that the format that they had created it in was a PDF and the readers were accessing the content on mobile in remote areas with poor coverage. The PDFs were hard to read on mobile and the coverage was often quite poor. So they were not getting the traction that they had expected. Within a couple of hours we recreated the experience for them in a content experience platform and they haven’t looked back since. They now make sure that all of their publications are published in responsive frameworks so that content reshapes to suit the reader.
All leading content experience platforms (CEP) ensure that your content is published in responsive frameworks that are shaped to suit whatever device your reader chooses to consume that content on. The CEPs come packed with libraries full of responsive templates that can be leveraged by your team. Getting more of your content in front of your audience in a format that suits them will ensure that you get a much greater return on your content strategy.
Playing the long game
People don’t travel every day. Most only have extended trips once or twice a year. However, they research and plan, especially those with families. This provides you with an opportunity. Content Experience platforms all have archives of templates and layouts that you can access to quickly create rich experiences in minutes. By leveraging these mediums to create and deliver more content faster throughout the year, then you will be the freshest in their mind when it comes to booking vacations.
Your audience has evolved. They want all the information now. There is a higher standard that is expected by the market in today’s digital world. The audience expects as much of a real world experience as possible before they meet in person. This means that they expect high end imagery and video tours to allow them to get a better sense of how the property fits into their requirements.
One of the best techniques for capturing more leads and sales is through providing eBooks that their target customers are interested in. EBooks imply value and content of a higher standard and as a result it is regarded as one of the most popular tools used to capture more leads. In 2020 Netline released its “State of the B2B Content consumption and demand report for marketers’ and it showed that eBooks are the number 1 tool for effectively delivering content:
The reason for this is that eBooks require effort on the part of the authors and it is widely accepted that in order to access this body of knowledge you must provide an email address. It’s deemed only fair. When it comes to the definition of what an eBook is, that is entirely up to the author. EBooks traditionally imply e-reader formats such as Epub or Kindle books but they can actually be in any format. As most traffic is mobile first, today publishers are porting that content to content experience platforms that ensure the content reshapes around the device that the reader chooses to consume that content on.
These can be helpful in the tourism industry as well to help gain leads and offer high quality content to tourists in an engaging way, by gating their content with an email address, this drive leads.
Content Experience Platforms (CEP) offer fantastic ways to help publishers in the tourism market get a greater return from their content strategies. CEPs allow you to port content easily into frameworks to adjust to match each individual reader’s needs without having to rely on external resources. This enables publishers to make changes quickly and output more content and drive more leads and sales. All while ensure that their content is compliant and has more penetration in their market.
Experios is 3D Issue’s all new Content Experience platform that allows you to build both internal communications and external content easily, while implementing your company branding. You can create annual reports, newsletters and brochures for your employees as well as your customers.. You can get started with Experios for free today, schedule a demo or start your free trial.