Wandering with You: April 2017

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Everyone at OHTO loves this time of year!  Not only do we welcome spring, but we also hit the road in anticipation, travelling throughout the region on our annual Road Trip to meet with you, our industry partners.  The team has just returned and couldn’t be more excited about the enthusiastic response we received around the development and launch of Come Wander.  We were also taken aback by the amazing turn out!  We met with more than 180 stakeholders over the course of 5 stakeholder sessions, to share the journey of Come Wander, provide information on how you can get involved, and detail our plans for the launch of the brand, scheduled for May 19th.

Thompsontown TweetWe’d like to extend a huge thank you to all those who attended a session. It was incredibly encouraging to witness the high levels of engagement and participation across the region and we look forward to working together, moving forward to inspire visitation and share the stories of Ontario’s Highlands through Come Wander.  We encourage you to continue to engage with us, to share your story, to keep us in the loop with any exciting experiences you have to offer, and to reach out to us for support or with questions along the way.

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These sessions were hosted with the overall goal of painting a complete picture of Come Wander, explaining content marketing, sharing opportunities to get involved, and creating excitement for this collaborative approach. We are confident that we achieved these goals as attendees at each stop, were eager to take part in the conversation as we recapped the journey of Come Wander, discovered our inner wanderers together, highlighted the simplest ways for industry members to get involved, detailed the launch plans for Come Wander, shared an overview of OHTO’s industry development programs, and put ourselves in the shoes of a wandering persona during a breakout session.

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As a reminder, the simplest ways to get involved and share your story through Come Wander are to:

  1. Respond to our Monthly Guiding Questions
  2. Respond to our Seasonal Product Knowledge Request Forms
  3. Use #ComeWander on Social Media

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We were especially encouraged by the collaborative brainstorming and ideas shared by groups through our breakout exercise. During this opportunity, teams were provided with a worksheet and asked to view our communities from the perspective of a Wandering Persona. This visitor-first perspective highlighted the hidden gems and unique experiences that are abundant throughout Ontario’s Highlands. Participants expressed that this exercise was useful in providing a new approach to how they describe the amazing experiences of the region, and also saw how it could be applied to their own business or organization. In addition, attendees were provided with a more detailed worksheet  filled with questions to guide in uncovering and defining their unique stories.

With the launch date less than a month away, we are looking forward to working collaboratively to invite visitors to Come Wander Ontario’s Highlands.  And a special reminder that if you are interested in signing up for a One-on-One Engagement Session, feel free to email me at julie.mulligan@ohto.ca.

Happy wandering!

Julie Mulligan

Marketing Manager, OHTO

Creating Content: April 2017

We’ve talked a lot about content. The foundation of Come Wander is a content marketing approach –but what does this really mean and how can you get involved?

Content marketing revolves around the process of creating and sharing content to attract and engage a target audience. This content can take shape in many forms –infographics, videos, lists, newsletters, written stories, social media posts, photos…the list goes on and on –but what’s most important is that this content is shareable, engaging, and provides value to the person reading it.

Through Come Wander, we’ll be using content to inspire visitation to Ontario’s Highlands. We’ll be sharing the stories of the region: bragging about what makes us unique, highlighting locals, showcasing hidden gems, and fostering a community of wanderers.

This new approach is not a seasonal campaign. This is an ‘always on’ approach, meaning we’ll be continually sharing content with no end in sight. Unlike a campaign, with a set timeframe, Come Wander will guide our messaging and programming for the foreseeable future, and provide an overarching brand for the region –a brand platform tourism stakeholders like yourself can leverage to amplify your message and create your own content.

With Come Wander set to officially launch to consumers this May long weekend, we’ve already started creating a variety of content to engage visitors and populate our channels, and we want to make sure you’re represented. To do this, we’ve recently launched the following two new opportunities for you to easily feed into Come Wander content and inspire visitors to wander to your business and community.

1) Monthly Guiding Questions

Beginning last month, OHTO has started sending out monthly guiding questions to spark creativity, uncover insider insight, and challenge you to go beyond what you would typically submit for inclusion in a tourism directory.  We’ll be collecting responses, drilling down to find the content nugget, and working with you to develop a compelling story to be featured across our content channels. This month’s guiding question is, “What’s the most important thing a visitor should know before they wander over to you?” To respond to this month’s question, please click here.

2) Seasonal Product Knowledge Requests

Along with our monthly questions, we’ll be sending out seasonal requests for content suggestions and product knowledge to feed into our content calendar. We sent out our first request last month to collect information about summer experiences, events, and products. Again, we’ll be using the information collected as we develop Come Wander content to be featured on our new website, social channels and through other exciting initiatives, such as e-blasts and influencer and media trips. It’s not too late to tell us about your summer experiences and be featured in Come Wander content. Please click here to share your seasonal experiences by May 15, 2017.

These two opportunities have been designed to collect different types of information and to ensure the region is accurately represented through a variety of content. I encourage you to make a point of responding to both of these current opportunities, and the requests moving forward. There’s no better way to become a part of the Come Wander story and inspire wandering to your business and community.

We look forward to creating content with you.

 

Julie Mulligan

Marketing Manager, OHTO

 

P.S. Want to create your own content and wondering how to effectively connect with an audience? Scott Aughtmon, author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks, has used his expertise to provide insight on 31 Types of Content We Crave. This list outlines types of content that resonate well with a variety of readers and might just provide the inspiration you need to get started.