This blog post highlights a very successful marketer - Larry Waight of The Lodge at Chaa Creek, an eco-resort in Western Belize - who has achieved high search engine rankings for many important keywords. This content marketing effort generates a remarkable 80% of new business for the Lodge. This important case example is among the best I've seen if you want to learn how content drives business. This is brand journalism at its finest.
As anyone who has built a web site knows, there is much more to think about than just the content. Design, color, navigation, and appropriate technology are all important aspects of a good web site. Unfortunately, in many organizations these other concerns dominate. Why is that? I think it’s easier to focus on a site's design or technology than on its content.
One of my favorite examples of sites with poor content but big budget design and technology are the global hotel chains. Go to any hotel property from the majors: Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, or any others from around the world. They all look the same! They have almost no original content about that property!
Yes, appearance and navigation are important. But the best sites focus primarily on content to pull together their various buyers, markets, media, and products in one comprehensive place where content is not only king, but president and Pope as well.
Content drives action
Contrast the vast majority of hotel sites with that of The Lodge at Chaa Creek. I had an opportunity to stay at Chaa Creek a few weeks ago and I interviewed Larry Waight about how he creates his awesome content.
Direct link to the video How to create awesome web content and achieve top search engine rankings on YouTube.
Larry researches what people are searching on such as Belize honeymoon and Belize all inclusive. He then created content on his site or Belize Travel Blog specifically for these phrases which are ranked highly in the search engines.
Solving buyers problem with content
Most interesting to me is how Larry creates content that is about Belize, not just about the hotel.
This is an essential element of Chaa Creek's marketing success. Search terms such as Belize winter solstice 2012 and bird watching in Belize drive people to the lodge who were searching on general travel information. Brilliant.
On his Belize Travel Blog, Larry also writes not about the lodge itself but about Belize travel such as Ten reasons why Belize makes for Honeymoon Bliss.
One of my favorite examples of this technique of writing about the things people are interested in is how Larry has created a bunch of content about the local Mayan sites nearby the hotel such as Xunantunich Maya Temples. And, get this, he even writes about the Tikal Mayan site - which is in Guatemala – another country! - about two hours from Chaa Creek.
All this content drives people to the hotel site and blog through the search engines and many people will then choose to stay at The Lodge at Chaa Creek. Indeed, some 80% of new bookings to the Lodge are from this content marketing effort.
This is one of the best examples of content marketing I've seen. If you want to learn more about how Larry creates content, do take the time to watch the video.
It was Larry's introductions that got me to Belize which shows the power of connecting with people via social media. Thanks Larry! I'm planning on returning, with my family next time.
Disclosure (updated September 12, 2012): I connected with Larry several years ago through both Facebook and Twitter. This year we communicated via Facebook about a visit to Belize. To facilitate that, Larry introduced me to the Director of the Belize Tourism Industry Association who invited me to speak in Belize at the Belize Marketing Summit. Because I was going to be in Belize anyway, Larry invited me extend my visit and stay to The Lodge at Chaa Creek for a few days, covering part (but not all) of the costs of my hotel stay. However, this blog post is in no way a paid endorsement. I chose to write this because I truly believe the Lodge at Chaa Creek is a terrific example of success.