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Beyond the Website – Blogging builds a brand reputation for small Canadian tourist destination

I met with a colleague of mine last week in Halifax, Nova Scotia in a quaint little coffee shop listening to her story about how she took a website with a small (I mean very small) budget, with a mandate to promote tourism in and around the Bay of Fundy  (a small Canadian East Coast destination known for the world renown natural wonder of the high and low tides), who instead of investing in new creative, decided to start a Blog to communicate on another level with perspective visitors and media.

Terri shared with me how she started the Blog somewhat haphazardly and launched it much like many not really knowing what to write about.  She evolved the Blog slowly by creating a forum for her personal Bay of Fundy experiences and sharing what life was like in the small Canadian East Coast town.

Posting at least once a week, Terri has shared little known facts, tips for places to see, and she has been able to share the “experience” of living the culture of the area – without the Marketing message as it is traditionally delivered.  She has had people from all over the world who have posted comments and shared experiences and the Blog has successfully built traffic to the main Bay of Fundy Tourism website.

The blog has also allowed her to manage the “online reputation” of the tourist destination more proactively by feeding the Blog with unique stories, unique destinations and points of interest, best times to visit and a look into life in the small fishing town instead of relying on the marketing message or the testimonial like comments that are floating through many Blogs and social media websites.  Terri is careful to keep the natural tone of a Blog and she has found that she enjoys telling the story of her community through her posts. 

After two years of contributing to the Blog, she has not only generated more traffic to the main Bay of Fundy tourism website, but she has generated more media attention from journalists looking for the Bay of Fundy “stories” because of the distribution power of the blog.  The Blog works in conjunction with the main Bay of Fundy Tourism website creating the interest for visitors and the website continues to “close the sale” and offer access to accommodation, dining and all of the other vacation planning tools that searchers use to finalize travel plans.

This is a great example of using new media techniques like a Blog to manage a brand “reputation,” and build targeted and legitimate traffic to a traditional website.  Terri shared with me that her Blog posts often get indexed more quickly (or sometimes instead) of the news outlets, which she measures through Google Alerts. 

By adding an alert for keywords and phrases around “Bay of Fundy”, Terri keeps in touch with what stories are being “picked up” in the search engines, and she maintains a pulse on the brand message that her Blog is helping to develop.  Thanks for sharing your story with me Terri – looking forward to reading your next post!

[tags]Blog, Blogging, social media marketing, bay of fundy, nova scotia tourism, travel, google alerts, Canadian travel blog, web marketing[/tags]

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