How to Manage and Organize Content for Blog Campaigns

Launching a blog campaign is an effective way to grow your business’ influence online. By posting regularly, it allows you to provide value for your customers by educating them on specific topics. More than that, it establishes you as an expert in your field, which can draw more attention from potential customers or clients.

Indeed, blogging has proven to be a very effective tool for businesses, but there must be a method behind how you manage your blog posts. This is where the blog campaign comes into play.

Sort the Fine Details Before You Write

Before you jump into organizing or even writing the content for your blog campaign, start by sorting the fine details you want to include in your posts. Jumping directly into the writing process will lead to confusion, both for you and your readers.

People who know a lot about something often want to say a lot about something, which can lead to providing information in a very unorganized fashion. Preplanning helps you bring your thoughts together on specific topics so that you don’t forget anything, and so you can organize it into a system that helps others learn.

Start by working through themes for your campaign. For example, a technology company would want to teach customers about the latest technology on the market. This may take several blog posts to cover all of the information, such as:

  • What the new technology is
  • How different it is from other options
  • Its history and how it became what it is
  • How to use it or what it is used for
  • Why customers should want it
  • Specific things that only technology aficionados would know
  • How to get the new technology
  • Why they should get that technology from you

From this list alone, there are a lot of specific things to cover about this new technology that will be interesting to clients and help companies get a boost in sales. To get the most out of this content, it needs to be organized into a campaign that follows logical steps. That way, you can effectively educate clients while creating an effective sales funnel so both sides benefit.

Pro Tip: Make a List of Content Points for the Year

An easy way to organize your content is to make a list of content points that you need to address throughout the year. Some of these will be easily predictable, such as holidays or special events. Industry trade shows and similar events also make great content points to write about. Here are some content points that are commonly used to organize blog content:

  • Industry-specific themes
  • Specific products or promotions
  • Product launches, sales, or other special events
  • Major business changes like an expansion or merger

Develop Your CTA

One of the most important parts of your blog to develop is your CTA or Call-to-Action.

This is the part that asks the customer to do something, such as buy a product or schedule an appointment. It is usually found at the end of the blog post with links to landing pages or other sales resources.

The CTA is important because it takes a reader from being passive to being active and engaged with your company. Without it, your blog will not drive sales.

Creating a CTA does not have to be complicated, but it does require specific pieces of information. Before you create any content, create a CTA.

Information for Your CTA

There are specific pieces of information that need to be included in your CTA. Otherwise, it may not be effective at directing your potential customers. Your CTA needs to include:

  • Your company name
  • Company primary contact information
  • An invitation to what you want customers to do (i.e., “call us” or “click this link”)
  • A link to a landing page or the business home page

Once you have this information, you can compile a CTA using a basic formula for each blog post. This formula will change slightly based on the topic and where the post sits in your sales funnel.

If the post is about general information about the business or is early in the sales funnel or campaign, your CTA will focus on getting clients to your website or a specific landing page to learn more.

If it is deep enough in your sales funnel to ask for the sale, then the CTA should focus on getting clients to the sale through a product page or a landing page that asks for the sale.

Your CTA should follow a template and look like the following:

  • Sentence 1: Introductory sentence to transition from content into CTA.
  • Sentence 2: Sentence on how the product can be valuable to the consumer.
  • Sentence 3: Request for a specific action, with contact info or link.
  • Sentence 4: Sentence on how the company can support the consumer.

Example (Early Sales Funnel)

Replacing your outdated TV with a new 80-inch flat-screen will make watching the game more enjoyable, but taking your old TV to the dump can be a challenge. It is much easier if you can find a service to pick up your TV and take it to the landfill for you. [Company Name] can help you get that old TV to the dump without you having to lift a finger except to call us at [company phone number]. Let us help you make every game special by making it easy to install your new TV.

Example (Late Sales Funnel)

Replacing a broken TV shouldn’t be a hassle, but large TVs are hard to get rid of. You want to order a new TV to watch the game with your friends, but your old TV Is standing in your way. Call [Company Name] at [phone number] to get that old TV out of the way. We’ll drag your old TV to the dump and let you enjoy your new TV without getting off of the couch.

Organize Content by Relevance

Once you know what your content will be about, put it in order of relevance for the goals of the campaign and the subject matter. There are several ways to organize your content by relevance.

Relevance to the Reader

Your content should be in the order of relevance to the reader if there are multiple subjects or the content becomes progressively more complicated. This is common on education websites where the content starts basic and becomes more complicated over time.

However, it is not always that straightforward since some parts make sense to go out of order. Businesses use this method when introducing multiple products or services. They may introduce them as a whole so that customers have a frame of reference for all of the options, then start to go through them individually.

Relevance to Time

Content can be organized based on chronological events.

History classes do this so that everything develops in a logical progression.

And companies use this when they are guiding readers through tutorials.

Every post builds on the one that came before it, so doing them out of order does not make sense for the reader.

Relevance to Topic

Another way to organize content is to organize by topic. This works best when the blog posts may seemingly have nothing to do with each other.

For example, writing blog posts about bananas, oranges, and apples that do not compare them means that each post has nothing to do with each other. However, you can combine the posts into a campaign that teaches readers about different kinds of fruit to make them better shoppers at grocery stores.

Group content based on your themes so that content related to a topic is treated in a single series of blog posts.

Build a Storyline

Having a method for organizing your content helps you get a feel for what posts need to go where and when, but that is not the end of the process. Once you have an idea of how to group your content, you need to organize it so that it builds a storyline.

For the most part, consumers do not make a purchase based on the technical specifications of a product. They don’t even buy because a product solves a problem for them. They buy because they connect with the narrative of that product.

You can use this to connect with readers and make asking for the sale more effective.

For this to work, every piece of content in the campaign must support a narrative in some way. Instead of focusing entirely on features, talk about how the product was developed and why customers enjoy it. Paint a picture of how customers can use it to make their lives better.

Once they can imagine using your product to resolve a pressing need for them, they are beginning to buy into the storyline.

It is important to remember that although the posts are working toward a common goal, every piece must be able to stand on its own.

Every blog post is a self-contained story of its own, and you want to make sure that customers get a good understanding of what you are writing about, even without access to other posts.

That way, readers can keep up with what you are writing without having to read back through old posts for everything to make sense.

Develop a Simple Tracking System

As you launch the campaign, it is important that you track the success of each post. Without a tracking system in place, you won’t be able to effectively evaluate your campaign strategy.

The good news is that your tracking system does not have to be complicated. A simple system could be to track KPIs on every post to see which ones perform the best.

If you have posts that do well and others that do not, figure out what makes some perform well and change your process to make the others more effective.

Try Different Campaign Strategies

Campaign strategies can always be changed to fit your needs. If you try to develop a successful campaign and don’t get the results that you want, pivot and find a strategy that works. You can try as many strategies as you like until you find the one that works best.

Successful companies make sure they can track the performance of their posts in a meaningful way. When they find a specific element of a post that works, they integrate it into their strategy and apply it to every post.

Even if you only get one thing that works out of your campaign, that is an improvement. Collect these little improvements and you will eventually create a campaign strategy that works reliably. All it takes is effort over time and a desire to consistently make improvements.

The Content Publishing Storyline

Every blog post campaign needs to tell a story. Customers buy based on the narrative of a product more than any other factor, and this is your key to making more sales.

For help building your campaign storyline, just use this helpful checklist.

Do I Need Permission to Use a Logo in my Blog?

You’re writing an article about your favorite cereal – the origin of the flake shape, the ingeniousness of the ingredients, the history of the brand name – and to fancy up the copy, you decide to include the company’s logo.

But then, you wonder: Is this permitted?

Are Logos Copyright-Protected?

The answer isn’t cut-and-dried: Some are; some aren’t. Sometimes a logo may be copyrighted. Or it may be trademarked.

What’s the difference, you ask?

Both actions are taken to protect intellectual property. But legally they are very distinct. In general terms, copyrights (©) apply to intellectual or creative works, while trademarks (™) protect commercial names, logos, and phrases.

In general terms, copyright gives exclusive rights to the owner of a literary, artistic, educational, or musical work.

Trademarks, on the other hand, are used to help companies represent their unique brand.

Corporate logos, therefore, are typically trademarked. This provides the company some amount of protection against someone trying to pass off a product represented by their logo.

But many corporations also opt to copyright their logos for additional legal identity protection because copyright law and trademark law each have some gaps.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, “A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods.”

A completely different office, the United States Copyright Office, handles copyright issues. They explain, “Copyright commonly does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. You will have to look into trademarking. Copyright protects works of original authorship such as text, artwork, photographs, sound recordings, screenplays, music, lyrics, etc.”

Are All Logos Protected?

Regardless of whether a logo has been registered or not, the creator still has certain protections.

Graphic designer, Stephanie Asmus, points out that a logo doesn’t actually need to be copyrighted or trademarked to be protected: “The moment a logo is created, so long as it’s justifiably original, the owner has protectable rights to that creation under what’s called ‘common law’.”

This means that even if a logo has not been registered to an “owner,” it can’t be usurped for use by another entity. Common law provides legal protection to guarantee that the “owner” is the sole entity permitted to use the logo as an identifier in their industry.

What really matters is protecting the integrity of the graphic.

As Elizabeth Potts Weinsten, founder and lead attorney at EPW Small Business Law PC, puts it, “Trademarks are designed to protect customers from confusion… If you use the logos in a way that won’t confuse customers or the public, then you probably are not infringing the trademark.”

So… Am I Free to Include the Logo?

According to upcounsel, “You need permission to use a logo unless it is for editorial or information purposes, such as when a logo is used in a written article or being used as part of a comparative product statement.”

This type of use is called fair use. Basically, as long as your intent is not to profit from the logo, you should be able to replicate it to accompany your article.

So, this is great news for, say, bloggers just wanting to spruce up the page with a splash of color.

But there’s a caveat.

Keep in mind that the company likely toiled long and hard to come up with the image that graphically represents their brand. As such, they might have very strict usage guidelines – from the exact colors that must be used and whether it can be recreated in black and white to size restrictions and any accompanying tagline or words to even the required white space around the image.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t make any changes to their image.

Your best bet is to check with the company’s website or media relations department to find out what their specific brand usage guidelines are and how they relate to using their logo.

Copywriter Q&A: Diving into Company Blog Campaigns with Melanie Green

The Writers For Hire (TWFH) team member Melanie Green has more than 15 years of writing experience and specializes in digital marketing content. With TWFH, Melanie is the go-to expert on blog campaigns for businesses.

For this installment of Copywriter Q&A, we asked Melanie for her insights on the best practices for launching an effective blog campaign.

TWFH: We hear a lot of hype about blogs being an important aspect of company websites. In what ways can having a blog help a business?

MG: Blogs can help businesses in a lot of ways. A blog creates more content that can be found and linked to. It gives businesses more opportunities to utilize SEO keywords in an organic way that can help search engine rankings. It can even be used to answer common customer questions.

A blog gives credibility to the company and positions it as a thought leader or expert. It can also ensure that a business’s website comes across as up-to-date and relevant. Who hasn’t gone to a website to see that its last blog post was two years ago and questioned whether the company was even still in business?

TWFH: Those are some really compelling arguments for starting a blog! So, if someone is considering launching a blog campaign for their business, how should they get started?

MG: First, they need to have a platform available on their site to upload blogs on. I’m preferential to WordPress because of the plug-ins that are available, including the editorial calendar and Yoast. The editorial calendar lets you plan posts with a month-long view, and Yoast is a free tool that helps with search engine optimization.

Next, they’ll need to make decisions about who will write the posts, how frequently they’ll post, and what the topics will be.

TWFH: What is the best way to come up with a theme or topic for the campaign?

MG: I’m not sure that there’s a single “best way,” but there is a process that I follow. To find blog post ideas, I would:

  1. Answer common questions my customers have
  2. Provide information that would overcome sales objections from customers in the sales process
  3. Find frequently asked questions online related to my topic
  4. Review recent news to see if there’s anything that’s relevant
  5. See what my competitors are writing about
  6. Use topic generator tools like Answer the Public and Buzz Sumo
  7. Use keyword tools like SEMRush and Google Keyword Planner, aiming for relevant keywords that have high search volume and low competition
  8. Create variations of my most successful posts

TWFH: How frequently should blogs be posted? Is there a rule or best practice?

MG: Consistency is the key. If you can only commit to one post a week, then it should be every week, posted on the same day. It’s worse to post two in one week and none for three weeks.

Technically speaking, websites benefit the most from two posts a week. More can be better, especially for more competitive search terms. However, I always recommend that clients start by posting two posts a month and work their way up toward twice a week. Since quality is just as important as consistency, you don’t want to sacrifice quality.

TWFH: Do all of the blogs have to be new content, or can old content be recycled (if it’s relevant, of course)?

MG: The same content can’t exist in two places at once. So, it’s okay to update old blog content, but you wouldn’t want to re-issue it as a new post, even if the content has many little changes to it. This could hurt a website’s search engine rankings. If it’s a part of a monetization program, such as Google AdSense, having duplicated content can end the monetization agreement.

In general, it’s a good idea to only post new content to a business’s blog, while updating past posts for accuracy and keyword usage. Keyword performance changes over time, so this should be reflected in past posts.

TWFH: Should blogs be written in-house? Or is it OK to contract them out?

MG: I’m not sure that it matters where the content is written as much as who is writing it. If a business wants to invest money into hiring a staff writer with experience writing blogs, then it’s perfectly OK to have blogs written in-house. Writing is one of the most interesting fields, in that most people are capable of writing words down on a page. However, it doesn’t make them a writer. It’s still important to hire someone with experience that understands online writing and keyword usage and has the ability to turn work around to meet an editorial calendar.

For many companies, getting this expertise in the most cost-effective way is by contracting blog writers. Not all blog writers are the same, though. You can find a very inexpensive blog writer and end up with low quality or plagiarized content that you have to spend a lot of time to edit and fix. Finding the right set of writers can take time and you’ll need the budget to do so.

What often happens is that companies try to get blog content out on their own first before hiring blog writers. They’ll get busy working on other tasks and blog writing for their own site takes a backseat to other work. That’s when we’ll often see companies looking to collaborate with contract blog writers.

TWFH: What other components should a successful blog campaign have?

MG: Successful blog campaigns have 100% original blog posts of at least 500 words, consideration to keyword targets and usage, relevant pictures with alt-tags, and meta descriptions. The most successful campaigns are also well-advertised. Simply writing a post isn’t enough to drive traffic to it. It’s important to also share it with the world.

TWFH: What is the best way to distribute blogs?

MG: The most obvious way is through social media. This is low hanging fruit and should always be a part of the process. It’s also helpful to embed links to posts on relevant Quora or forum questions and to ask other blog owners to include your post on link round-ups.

TWFH: How will you know if your campaign worked? What is the best way to measure success?

MG: The success of a campaign depends on your goals. Is it to gain new traffic? Measuring success could simply mean more page views with a lower bounce rate, which means that they’re more engaged and didn’t immediately hop off your page.

TWFH: This is all great advice! Is there anything else that you’d like to add about blog campaigns?

MG: If companies want to get started with more content marketing, blogs are a great way to go. There’s no limit on how many you have, and it adds to the value of the site itself.

Avoiding the Copyright Police: Ways to Find Free Images for Your Blog

Remember story time as a kid? While the story was great, you have to confess it was the pictures that drew you in, right? Looking at the pictures was the best part of the entire experience.

The same applies to digital and printed communications.

Visuals, including photography and infographics, play a significant role in helping people take action, become inspired, or grasp a concept.

But you need to be careful about where you obtain your images.

Some imagery, including those on Google Images, are more often than not copyrighted and could land you in hot water if you use them without written permission.  

“One of the issues we often see is clients using what they find on Google as images for a blog, website, or social media post. This is a dangerous game as many images are protected by copyright, or creative commons license, which limits their usage without proper payment or permission from the owner,” says Charlie Ewing, creative director at CGS Digital Marketing.

Before you get in haste to copy and paste, here are a few tips to tell if something is copyrighted or not:

  • Credit or contact details – If an image is copyrighted, take a careful look at the caption. You might spot the name of the photographer or whoever created the image. You might also find that person’s email address in the caption. If you really like the picture, you can contact them to see if you can use it; however, don’t be surprised if you will need to pay a small royalty fee.
  • Watermark – Many times, when an image is copyrighted, there will be a watermark or a faint design in the background of a logo or image. No matter how much you love the photo, don’t attempt to remove the watermark. It could cost you later on. 
  • Metadata – You may want to check an image’s metadata. Sometimes referred to as EXIF data, metadata is described as a set of data that gives information about other data. The website “How to Geek” provides a good explanation of how to do this using a PC or Mac. 
  • Reverse image search – If you are adamant about using the image and are determined to find the creator, you can use Google’s reverse image tool. You can upload the image there, and it will trace the photo back to where it resides online. From there, you might be able to determine the owner and contact him or her. 

If you can’t find the owner to ask for permission, err on the side of caution and don’t use the image.

Photographers, illustrators, and graphic designers need to protect their livelihood and, as such, often check to see if there are situations where their images are being used without their approval. 

It’s probably a smart idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of copyright laws and what they mean. Here is a list of the most common licenses:

  • All Rights Reserved
  • Royalty-Free
  • Public Domain Work
  • Attribution
  • Attribution-ShareAlike
  • Attribution-NoDerivs
  • Attribution-NonCommercial

If I can’t use Google images, what can I use?

The consequences of using a copyrighted image can be, for lack of a better word, unpleasant. 

“Copyright is always something to be mindful of in the age of information,” says Emily Glass, director of marketing for Because Marketing. “With free services such as Unsplash and Pexels, there are plenty of stock photo options that won’t break the bank. Still can’t find a photo that fits? Adobe Stock or Shutterstock are great paid options.”

Below is a roundup of some of the best websites out there that offer royalty-free use of images: 

Pexels provides unlimited downloads of beautiful photos, and you’re bound to find something to match the subject at hand. Here’s an example of a beautiful picture you can download for free on this site:

Photo by Sebastian Voortman from Pexels 

This site provides thousands of free images for websites and commercial use. Here’s a sample: 

Reshot says it is a “uniquely free,” “non-stocky” source for photos. Here is a great example of something that you might not find elsewhere:

Photo by Waldemar Błażej Nowak 

This expansive site provides over 1.8 million stock photos you can download for free. Here’s a sample:

Image by Tài Thiện from Pixabay 

Gratisography markets itself as “truly unique, usually whimsy, and always free.” Here’s an example of what you can find on this site: 

Another full site that states the photos are free of copyright, so “do whatever you want.” Here’s a cool photo we downloaded from PXhere:

Image by Konevi 

Unsplash has a robust collection of images ranging from pets to interiors to places of worship. Here’s a picture-perfect puppy we found:

If these sites don’t have what you’re looking for and you’re willing to pay, there are a few sites out there you can subscribe to for a reasonable price, including:

“We go through hundreds and thousands of stock photos with our clients every month. Stock images provide clients and writers with affordable, high-quality photos at their fingertips, and they have plenty of choices to pick from. Not only that but you can test and try the images before you purchase them. Photos are easy to license so you can be assured that you will not infringe on the copyright. A few of our favorite resources are,,,, and,” says Sami Khaleeq, president of CGS Digital Marketing.

Creating Your Own Images

Maybe these sites don’t provide precisely what you need. If you need a quick photo and don’t have time or the resources to hire a professional photographer, you can always take advantage of your phone.

You can capture stunning images with your iPhone or Android. Digital Photography School provides some quick tips: 

  1. Light up your subjects.
  2. Get close to your subject.
  3. Hold your phone steady.
  4. Save the editing for later.
  5. Don’t delete your mistakes.
  6. Don’t use the digital zoom feature.
  7. Experiment with white space.
  8. Take lots of shots, have fun, and experiment.
  9. Learn some basic composition rules, and then don’t be afraid to break them.
  10. Keep your lens clean. 
  11. Practice camera phone etiquette 101: Obtain permission to take photos of others in public.
  12. Use the highest resolution possible.

Creating Graphics and Infographics 

What if you need a quick graphic or infographic to explain a concept or present information? There are several great tools available for this purpose. Here are some examples: 

Canva allows you to create professional-looking graphics that will make you wonder if you shouldn’t have pursued that degree in graphic design.

It’s user-friendly, intuitive, and provides a wide range of backgrounds, colors, and design elements.

You can use the basic version for free or pay a little extra to use the professional version.

Canva lets you create everything from business cards to social media posts, posters, flyers, infographics, and restaurant menus. Below are images of designs made in Canva: 

You can choose from millions of free photos from sites such as Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels to create your graphics in Adobe Spark.

It lets you add text animations and stickers, and also has a library of exclusive fonts.

There is a free version, which provides the basic usage, a $9.99 per month individual version, and a $19.99 per month version for multiple team members.

Below is one of the templates you can edit and use as your own:


This online photo editing and designer program can be accessed via the web.

It provides graphic design and editing tools and design templates for wedding invitations, announcements, business cards, and more.

You can use the basic features for free, but to get access to all the bells and whistles, you’ll have to pay a membership fee.

Here’s an example of what you can make using PicMonkey: 

Visuals are an essential element of your blog post, website articles, and social media posts. With these resources at your fingertips, you’re sure to steer clear of copyright infringement, while at the same time creating something engaging and compelling for your audiences.

Accommodating All Five Types of Web Visitors

There are five different types of online visitors, each with unique reading and learning styles. In order to write effective copy, your website needs to reach each of the different types of readers and give them the information they need in the way they want it. Let’s take a look at each of the types of online personalities, and some best practices to get them hooked, make a sale, and convert them through your online copy.

Group 1: Information Gatherers

These folks want to know as much as they can before they make a call or place an order. They want to know your pricing, they want to read about your guarantees and warranties, they want to know how your product works, and they want to know your credentials — they want all the information they can get their hands on, really.

These are the people that will be reading your copy attentively, so all of the standard copywriting rules apply: Be clear. Be concise. Be specific. Be benefit-oriented. Remember, the golden rule of attracting Information Gatherers is to never make them guess.  

Group 2: Visual Learners

Visual learners hate to read. When they come to your website, they’re looking for a few pictures or charts where they can quickly grab the info they need to make a decision. You can accommodate visual learners by adding graphics — like a flow chart about how your business or service works, or a table comparing your prices to your competitor’s prices. There are also lots of web tools out there that can also accommodate visual learners, including:

  • Test results
  • Process charts
  • Labeled diagrams
  • Infographics

Group 3: Doers

Doers don’t want to research your company or read your website. Period. They want to get it done and move on. They want to find your action statement — and they want to find it fast. Doers literally read your headline and then scroll to the bottom of the page to place an order or fill out your contact form.

If you want to keep their attention, you’ll need to give this group something to do: Every page of your website needs to have a call to action — whether it’s “Print this Coupon Now for a 15% discount” or “Sign Up For Our Newsletter.” And remember: This group doesn’t want to dig around for information. Make sure that your call to action is clear and easy to find. Don’t bury it in a bunch of copy — highlight it, make it bold, make sure it’s in a prominent position on your website.

A few other ways you can capture (and keep) doers’ attention:

  • Put contact information on every single page
  • Allow for multiple methods of contact:  phone, email, forms and even chat

Group 4: Speed Readers

This name is a little deceptive, because “Speed Readers” don’t actually read your website — they skim it. The opposite of Information Gatherers, Speed Readers figure they can get everything they need by reading the headlines and a few bolded points. To make this group happy, your web copy needs to be broken up and easy to scan.

A few other ways to keep skimmers happy? Use bullets, big headlines, and bolding to guide them to the main ideas.

Group 5: Listeners

These guys would rather see and hear it than read it. They love videos and voice-overs. This is the group that will want to check out your company’s YouTube channel right away; they’re huge fans of things like product demos, unboxing videos, and video testimonials.

Unlimited Combinations

Most people are some combination of these five basic types. For example, Speed Reader/Information Gatherers skim your content for the important stuff, but if they like what they see, they’ll come back later and scan each page in-depth. Some people are Doers when they’re in a hurry — but when they have enough time on their hands, they’ll go into Listener mode and scour your site for video testimonials and demos. 

This is why it’s important to accommodate all types of visitors.

By tailoring your content to each type of audience, you’re ensuring that people can interact with your website however they want. Tweet this

This is also why redundant content is acceptable — and even desirable — in web writing. People are going to skim, scan, and skip around. By including things like key points and contact info on each page, you’ll ensure that nobody misses the critical information.

Crafting Tourism Industry Content

By Jennifer Babisak

The award-winning television drama “Mad Men” fed viewers much more than a weekly dose of suspense and eye-candy. Though the focus sometimes drifted more to Don Draper’s sexcapades than his creative mind, the show still gave an intriguing peek into the inner workings of an advertising agency.

The Art of Emotional Appeal

The tourism industry would do well to pay attention to some of the marketing strategies that Sterling Cooper Draper Price employed during the show’s seven seasons. For instance, Don was a master of crafting emotional appeal. “This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine,” he said of a Kodak slide projector, “It’s called a carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels, around and around and back home again to a place where we know we are loved.”

The efficacy of such emotional appeal applies to much more than slide projectors. Emotive appeals work particularly well in the tourism industry, where destinations have spun their wheels with straightforward marketing techniques, targeting consumers’ rational purchasing-power, for far too long.

Vacation Time and Stress-Management

Americans have a track-record of exceedingly poor stress management. In addition to financial and health stressors, the widespread use of smartphones has brought twenty-four hour workplace connectivity and an unending barrage of horrific news headlines. You would think a chronic stressful lifestyle would send employees running for the hills come vacation time. But a recent Harris Interactive survey presented the startling finding that American employees only use 51% of their eligible paid vacation time and paid time off.

Yes, you read that correctly. Chronically stressed employees are leaving vacation time sitting on the shelf. They want vacations, need vacations, and have the means to take vacations. All that lacks is an effective tourism industry appeal, motivating enough to cause Americans to break through their fog of stress and take the action of booking a vacation.

And guess what? Bulleted lists reciting a destination’s most recent million-dollar renovations won’t spur the apathetic consumer to action. What these potential tourists- ripe for the persuading- need is carefully constructed marketing content brimming with emotional appeal.

Emotional Content Standouts

Major destinations are waking up to the value of using emotional appeal in marketing campaigns. Most notably, Las Vegas employed the incredibly successful tagline, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” refining its image as a hedonistic escape from the boundaries of daily life.

vegas2And the longest running tourism campaign in history, “Virginia is for Lovers,” began back in 1969. In the ensuing years, Virginia has capitalized on the marketing value of those words- posturing itself as a romantic getaway filled with warmth and charm.
But emotive content goes beyond concise taglines. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau recently launched a campaign to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The CVB sent out an emotionally-charged series of e-mails, thanking travel industry professionals for their coverage of the city and highlighting its advances in the decade since Katrina.

The president of the CVB kicked off the campaign with an e-mail containing this message: , “So as we look back at what happened here 10 years ago, we want to give thanks to all of you who took us in when we had no place to go, helped us tell our story when we had no voice, helped us rebuild our homes and our city from ruin, celebrated our victories, showcased to the world what makes our city so special, and those of you who simply came to be our guests as we put the pieces back together. In the next nine days leading up to the 10th anniversary of Katrina, we will be sending you a short video, showcasing some of the improved aspects of New Orleans.”

Tugs at the heartstrings, right? And it creates, or renews, an emotional attachment to the city, drawing visitors in more than a simple list of “improved aspects” ever could. Note in his message where he thanks writers who “helped us tell our story.” That’s the goal of effective emotionally driven tourism content– telling the unique story of a destination.

Finding the Right Words

So how do you find the magical, emotive words that will lure droves of tourists to your destination? It’s actually a combination of careful research- discovering where your intended audience and your unique offerings intersect- along with meticulously crafted written content:

  • Evaluate where your revenue lags. Do you need to boost business during the week or on weekends? During peak times or off-season? Having a concrete goal in mind will help you focus on the proper audience.
  • Pinpoint your ideal tourist. Based on your revenue assessment, you should know whether you’re looking to attract more mid-week business travelers, family weekenders, or retired snowbirds. Familiarize yourself with the profile of your intended audience.
  • Discover the desires of your audience. What motivates these people to travel? Are they seeking escape, adventure, serenity, or relaxation? Hone in on a specific emotional motivation.
  • Review the offerings of your destination, searching for particular experiences that will appeal to your audience’s emotions. You don’t have to highlight your destination’s entire range- specific and well-defined focus on an emotionally appealing experience is in order.
  • Carefully craft your content, highlighting your chosen experiences in a fashion likely to appeal to your chosen audience. Take care to tailor your writing style to the vernacular of your audience. Genteel retirees aren’t likely to respond well to copy littered with hipster slang, while millennials magnetize to key-words tailored to their generation.
  • Maintain consistency across all modes of communication. Don’t cast your destination in one light on Facebook while presenting a different image in print brochures. Find your identity, articulate it well, and stay true to your message.

Such a strategy holds great potential for payoff. After all, the travel and tourism industry has an annual economic impact of around $6.5 trillion U.S. dollars, worldwide. And a Choice Hotels International survey found that Americans plan to spend 8% more on leisure travel and 5% more per trip in 2015 than they did the previous year.

With carefully-crafted, emotionally-driven content, you can ensure that a good chunk of those $6.5 trillion dollars lands squarely on your destination’s doorstep.