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Telling Stories That Win!

+ Posted by Peter Bowden

One of the most common challenges from Destination Marketing Organization pros is that they have a hard time telling their destination's story. They know that their jobs are to tell visitors who they are and why a trip to their community is important and yet marketing people get tangled up in telling the story that's interesting. Here are 5 ways to start telling stories that people actually care about:

1. Share your “why” -- Simon Sinek tells us that people don’t care about "what you do," they care "why you do it." Ask yourself, what does your work mean to you?  Are you working for the convention and visitors bureau to make a difference? Is it to improve the quality life of the community? Is it to generate an economic impact and why is that important?  Do you just like working with people? Tell people why you do what you do, not just what you do.

2. Find real stories -- Testimonials are perhaps the most valuable marketing resource. Tell an actual story, rather than overwhelming the visitor with information and statistics about the destination. Good storytelling engages people, because they are able to connect with what other people have done and experienced. Your existing visitors sharing their stories help your new customer remember what's best about your destination.

3. Use pictures and video -- We've all heard it - a picture is worth a thousand words. Visitors are more likely to watch a video than read your best brochure. Video and photography used to provide visual descriptions, show visitors what your destination's experiences are all about. Video/Photography can be a powerful first step to sharing your story with your visitors.

4. Maximize digital channels -- Traditional media and print are no longer enough. DMOs must reallocate resources and invest in the various online platforms. Between the destination's official website, YouTube, and social media channels, there are more outlets than ever to share your story. 

5. Less of you, more of them -- The key to successful  marketing is making it about the visitor. It's NOT about you. Don't waste resources talking about the features and benefits of the destination. Rather, focus more on the visitors needs, then offer a solution. Is the visitor looking for escape? A family destination? One more thing to add to their bucket list? Or is there something truly (truly) unique about your destination? Listen. Then answer proactively.

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The Author

Peter F. Bowden, TMP

President & CEO, Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau

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