I’ve been meaning to write more about the innovative travel blogger program I am doing with the Lānaʻi Visitors Bureau and have decided that it’s just gonna ship without being perfect! I started the conversation here with some advice for travel destinations. I am very grateful to my clients at the Maui and Lānaʻi Visitor Bureaus for their willingness to reach out in this ground-breaking way! Read more about the program I produced in 2010 for Maui here. Now, by popular demand, is an overview of the program itself!
Lānaʻi Visitors Bureau Launches Innovative New Media Marketing Program
1) To get the most out of the new media team, we are sharing the Aloha with our bloggers:
- They received a special digital invitation to join us as our guest.
- They are invited to bring an assistant to help develop more, better produced, and richer stories.
- They are being treated as guests, Hawaii-style, and honored as “New Media Artists-in-Residence” to reflect each person’s talent as a travel story-teller in his/her unique style and perspective, for their diverse online communities.
2) To get the most ROI for our state and partner dollars, we are applying sound marketing and business practices:
- Each artist guarantees a minimum amount of content (stories, photos, and conversations) to be delivered across numerous social web platforms
- Each artist has agreed to collaborate with the other team members, extending and cross-pollinating their extensive individual networks.
- This collaboration creates a much longer and stronger impact (measurable by links and tags) across the six-month time frame as compared to having individual writers come on isolated, solo trips.
- Artists were selected based on several criteria, including their ability to reach diverse audiences: male/female, 20-30-40 age groups, single, couples, and family travel. They are based throughout the U.S., representing east and west coast as well as central locations. Six of the seven are currently in the top 100 Travel Bloggers.
- Numerous types of content will be created: text blog entries, Twitter messages with links, Flickr photos, Facebook conversations, and YouTube videos. There will be daily updates while on-site as well as edited stories posted before and after each visit.
- We closely adhere to the FTC Blogger Guidelines; each blogger must disclose (via a custom graphic and link) that their expenses are being paid and they receive a small per diem.
3) To support extensive online conversations and market impressions, numerous social platforms are being employed:
- I created a new Posterous blog, that enables quick, simple article creation by approved contributors generating links that are automatically cross-posted to Twitter.
- I also created a Twitter account and Facebook page to help manage the online conversations on behalf of the LVB and begin to build some social media assets of their own. I also wanted to be sure and grab those names too!
- There is a central hashtag that is in use, to aggregate multiple assets across numerous web sites over the six months, (#VisitLanai)
- The conversation and market communications began within one week of confirming the initial group of artists, and will continue through May, 2011.
- Interested travelers can follow and join the online conversations in real time. It is interactive; we can entertain questions over the course of the campaign and give answers – documented in photos, audios, and videos. (Both Shannon and Matt have queried their readers about what to do.)
- A new media artist brings enormous credibility – they are committed to sharing the authentic travel experience. This can address one of the most common questions re: the out of the way locations: “What is it really like? What did you do actually? Show me!”
4) To help the destination partners get the most ROI, some training and support is included:
- Private online web site where partners can easily find information about the team, and follow the milestones of the trip.
- Periodic conference calls for Q&A with the partners.
- Brief training and “cheat sheets” to be provided so the partners can make the most of the artists while in residence.
- This will translate into some partners creating Facebook and Twitter accounts for the first time while others receive advanced tips for social media engagement.
New Media Artists ( in order of their visits)
Shannon Hurst Lane – Traveling Mamas
Matt Long – Landlopers
Gary Arndt – Everything Everwhere
Sheila Beal – Go Visit Hawaii
Kara Williams – The Vacation Gals
Melanie Waldman – Travels with Two
This program is being produced by Roxanne Darling, Bare Feet Studios for the Lānaʻi Visitors Bureau.