Gwynne Spann, Director of Consumer Content for Visit California, will be joining us on stage at #DTTT Campus on the 20th and 21st of September in Jersey. Gwynne will be talking about their overarching content strategy and how it manifests itself with great hero, hub and hygiene content, delivering on each stage in the funnel. If you haven't done it yet, make sure you secure your place to #DTTT Campus!
Please introduce yourself and your organisation.
My name is Gwynne Spann and I am the Director of Consumer Content for Visit California. I have been working for this organization for the past eleven years, and always with respect to content marketing in some capacity.
Visit California is the tourism marketing organization for the state of California with the express mission of promoting the California brand domestically and internationally, with the ultimate goal of shaping preference, consideration and decision around California as a vacation destination.
What is the biggest content marketing challenge for Visit California?
One of our biggest challenges stems from our greatest strength – the diversity of the California product. How do we showcase the breadth of all that California has to offer, while still showing its accessibility to a consumer that may be unfamiliar with it.
What is the biggest opportunity for Visit California in content marketing?
Currently, we are focused on understanding and reaching the millennial audience, as much as I hate to use the word descriptor ‘millennial’ given that it is so heavily charged with one’s preconceived ideas about that moniker. And, to that end, I prefer to call them the subset of our brand target that happens to be between 20-40 years old. We have done a significant amount of research to understand more about this group – their travel desires, feelings about California and even their perception of our content. Now that we have scratched the surface of understanding them, the opportunity lies in tailoring our content strategies to reach them.
How have you built your all-star content engine?
It has taken time – and investment.
When I started working for Visit California eleven years ago, we had a brand program, a website and printed publications program with only a slight amount of integration between them. The first step was to integrate the brand program into all that we were doing in the content space – recognizing how we could use content to expand upon our creative platform and bring the California brand to life through storytelling. We built on our successes and we used metrics and research to discern what our consumers wanted – and then worked to deliver it. And, that is one of the key pieces of our success, being truly consumer-centric to tell the story that consumers’ want to hear and not just the brand messages that we want to deliver.
As an organisation, what changes have you made to lead on destination and consumer content that delivers?
We are constantly reviewing, testing (when possible) and optimizing content. Thankfully, there are a number of tools at our disposal to help us gauge if content is working. We are sure to take advantage of them…looking at metrics to see what is performing, where drop-offs occur, what people are searching for, etc. And, when we need to, we test our creative at the global level, knowing that not all content has a global appeal.
Tell us more about how you have built a content team and structures aligned with the brand?
The key to a successful team has been integration and a lot of dialogue. We have spent a significant amount of time forging collaborative relationships internally – particularly through a robust and very lively editorial board. This collaboration extends through to our partner agencies – Brand Advertising, Content and PR, who we look at as extensions of our team. We are all pulling in the same direction – creating consumer-centric content, and that unifying factor has helped solidify us as a team.
How is Visit California balancing creative, tactical and strategic activities?
We have a great team that organizes around the strategy. If there is alignment at the highest level, the creative and tactics will follow.
What changes in the consumption of content have you seen?
The destination website is important again. Ten years ago, there was a level of skepticism about the destination website providing unbiased and consumer-centric content. Now, consumers are more discerning about content and if what you are offering is worthwhile, they will rely consumer it and continue to look to you as a resource.
How is Visit California successfully distributing hero, hub & hygiene content?
We always look to atomize as much content as possible through any and all channels across the paid, owned earned, and trade spectrum. Knowing this, we create content with the end in mind and an eye on distribution. We want to ensure that we have options to deliver all content through many channels – regardless of whether it is considered Hero, Hub, or Hygiene.
We feel that some content has a greater potential to serve us in a hero capacity, and pull people back into our owned channel ecosystem. We tend to promote that type of content in some paid capacity, and we always make sure it is surrounded by supporting content (hub) to make it easy for an inspired consumer to learn more about what they have just seen. Ultimately, we want to make it easier for them to make their travel decision.
What will attendees be able to take away from your talk?
I will be bringing insights from how we have shaped our content program over the past years, coupled with key learning that we have gathered from our own research as well as some of our content partners, like Google. I hope that attendees will be able to find actionable ideas that they can implement in their own content programs.
What excites you the most about our 2018 Content | Campus?
I am a marketing geek at heart and I can’t wait to network and dialogue about all things content marketing with other like minds.
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