giant-redwoods-trailContent marketing’s budgets and influence are growing in tourism businesses and destination organizations.

When something skyrockets in popularity, it’s easy to forget the bigger picture. SMG addressed this issue in a recent white paper discussing the relationship between strategic marketing and digital marketing.

In the rush to do content marketing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of failing to recognize the need to approach content creation in an organized, focused way. In an article in Forbes, Jason DeMeres addressed this specific issue and discussed how marketers could double their content marketing by adopting and learning to use an editorial calendar.

Last month I addressed the topic of increasing content management results and marketing productivity through developing and using personas to create copy and visual designs for optimal content relevance, optimization and performance.

Think About the Journey

With this as background, here’s another tip on how to help organize, focus and increase your content creation and digital marketing productivity: Link your content value proposition design, copywriting and visual creation to your visitor’s journey path.

There are as many different travelers as their people. But for all this diversity, is there a common path that visitors take in experiencing your tourism business or destination? Consider the following 7 stages.

7 Stages of Visitor’s Path

Here’s a suggested way to see your visitor’s journey for content marketing purposes. Let’s consider each in terms of description and communication goal.

Considering Traveler
This is your potential visitor thinking about and shopping for a particular destination experience or location, for either business or pleasure. Content Needs: Content that increases brand awareness, likeability and trust, presents your relevant offerings in clear, reader friendly ways, helps motivate to positive action and, ultimately, a decision or purchase in your favor.

Planning Traveler
With the decision or purchase made in your destination or tourism business’ favor, now your visitor needs all kinds of information. Content Needs: Content that helps design, plan and budget their experiences with you. It’s vital this content is timely, interesting, specific and accurate as it can be.

En Route Traveler
This is your visitor in transit to (or from) your destination or tourism business. Content Needs: They types of content needed here could include travel, weather updates, or points of interest along way and more.

Arriving Traveler
Actually arriving at a destination or tourism business is a special time for visitors. They’re getting acclimated on several levels. Content Needs: Content that helps orient, update or provide directions for visitors is key. The content should help smooth visitor’s transition and positively impress them.

Visiting Traveler
This is the person now actively participating in their visit, whether for business or pleasure. Content Needs: The content needs here are diverse. The main thing is to keep visitor engaged with items of interest and relevance. Generously invite interactivity with visitor engaging their smart phones, whether through sharing pictures, posts or tweets of what they’re doing and what they find exciting or interesting. Encourage participatory crowd-sourcing.

Departing Traveler
Think of this traveler as someone who is near or in the process of leaving your destination or business. Content Needs: In addition to any transportation or weather related updates, be sure to include promo information and opportunities to provide feedback through comment links, pulse polls or micro surveys.

Inactive Traveler
This is the traveler who hasn’t visited in a while. Content Needs: They need the same content as the Considering Traveler, but the approach needs to be from that of a missed friend rather than a stranger.

Increase Content Relevancy

With the above paradigm, you, your content creation team or outsource agency team can develop rich amounts of content that are relevant and compelling to your visitors.

Empathy–walking your visitor’s journey with them–is a powerful tool to magnetic and sticky content for your visitors.

Chris Ribaudo is a freelance copywriter, content developer and creative director based in Chicago working on creative messaging, storytelling, content marketing and user design in the digital tourism, technology, healthcare, manufacturing and nonprofit spaces. Get his Influence, follow him on Twitter, Google+, Linkedin or visit his website at