Subject: Just blog.

The leisure industry is an interesting place. It is filled with whimsy in so many ways, representing a wider audience at large, those interested in all sorts of things - from theme parks to country estates, manor houses to zoos. It is one of the most diverse industries on the market, incorporating art, history and sport. This makes it wonderful and divine in so many ways.

Please forgive me as I cut to the point. Why do you, as an industry, seriously lack inspiration when it comes down to blogs and blogging?

In this modern age of information it is widely regarded that Social Media and blogging (content marketing as a whole) is beneficial to all companies no matter what their product is. There are case studies of bowling alleys who have gone from dying out to exceedingly popular, zoos who have raised wider awareness for their causes, and historical homes drumming up all kinds of interest due to creating content the public can interact with.

In terms of numbers and statistics the facts heavily favour content marketing as a legitimate approach towards lead generation. Only 5.24% of companies state that content marketing resulted in a loss for them, with 17.67% stating they broke even and a large percentage of the rest making huge profits. Although 5.24% stated that they made a loss, 5.82% stated that they made 10x their investment or more off a solid content marketing approach.

You can read the full study here.

With these in mind why not give it a go?

I already know the answer to the above question as I have heard a vast array of reasons in the past: You don’t know what you have to write about. You don’t think people will be interested in what you have to say. You don’t feel like you are a good enough writer to make what you have to say sound interesting. The excuses are grand and numerous, and yet there is never anything that comes up that cannot be repósted.

Let us take a bowling alley as an example, a company who may struggle with knowing what to write about. The trick is to break the experience down into its components. Balls. Pins. Machines. Arcades. Food. Shoes. Instantly there are a plethora of content options available.

What are the balls made out of? How have pins evolved over the years? What do the ball machines do? How has the evolution of the arcade helped evolve the bowling experience? What are some old timey recipes to bowling alley classics? Why do you have to wear different shoes on a bowling alley? How do you bowl a strike?

The list goes on and on, and for something as simple as bowling you can see how many opportunities lie open for other areas of the industry.

There is a key opportunity in the National Trust, amongst other organisations, for some historical content marketing. There is so much the world can be educated on, and with so many properties around the UK there are so many stories to tell. These can be used to share knowledge, excite minds, and ultimately to tell stories.

There is a certain beauty in content marketing, a simplicity and honesty. It allows for companies to share their ideal experiences with the world, to share their personality and to create something lovely to stay with people. Whether this is a blog, an infographic, a Vine, a video, a gif, a picture, an entire photo album, or a piece of creative poetry it can help towards an ultimate goal of promoting the company externally.

Recently Oasis (who are granted not in the leisure industry) tried an honest approach with their marketing. They put adverts all around the UK saying:

"It’s summer. You’re thirsty. We have sales targets."

And you know what? It worked. The public appreciated the honest and up front approach to marketing, and content marketing is no different. Blogs allow for so much more than just words written to create content for marketing. Instead they can tell stories and innovate the opinion the public has of a company.

A company this worked incredibly well for is Microsoft, when they received a lot of bad press in the early noughties for having a 'borg' like sentiment amongst the staff so they opened a blog. They allowed their staff to write about anything they wanted, and this honesty not only helped build authorities within Microsoft but it also helped change the view the public had of them as a unit. It was, and still is, remarkably successful. You can view it here.

I guess what I am saying is very simple. Forget about conventions and what you think a blog should be, instead just be. Create something that reflects your company, use it as a source of reputation management, but create something none-the-less. Blog about what you think your visitors will want to know about. They will read and they will come.



Driver #72 at CAB Studios