Five For Five with Dana Baasiri

Five For Five with Dana Baasiri

I'm Just A Publicist

We caught up with Dana Baasiri, Storyteller and Founder of I’m Just A Publicist, who specializes in brand messaging and content marketing strategy. She walks us through key insights she learned throughout her 10 year career in travel communications that will help you harness the power of storytelling and content marketing for reaching, engaging and converting audiences into loyal customers.

Alliance Connection is beyond fortunate to work with some of the brightest minds in marketing with brands, lifestyle media partners, influencers, entertainment, and the travel and tourism industry. Our strategic marketing skillset can’t help but be elevated just by working with them, so we’re sharing the wealth! Join us as we profile a top mover and shaker in the industry who can help us all up our marketing game.

About

DANA BAASIRI

Dana Baasiri is a freelance communications expert with 10 years experience in the travel industry. She has spent the last decade leading PR and social media for globally recognized hospitality brands including the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels, Nobu Hotels, UNICO 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera Maya and more. She kicked off her career in 2011 at Sandals and Beaches Resorts, where she got her first taste of brand storytelling through promotional partnership marketing. But it was at AIC Hotel Group that she spent 7 years cultivating her passion for writing and crafting content as she was tasked with launching new resort brands and telling stories that hadn’t been told before.

As her role evolved, she was inspired to empower others to tap into the power of storytelling and debuted a communications blog offering free tips, insights and resources. Soon after, Dana made the decision to dive headfirst into entrepreneurship and launch her business. When she’s not elbows-deep in writing and strategizing, she finds inspiration by plugging into her favorite podcast, “Why Not Now? With Amy Jo Martin.”

Dana Baasiri's FIVE FOR FIVE

We sat down with Dana to pick her brain on how travel brands can harness the power of storytelling and content marketing to reach, engage and convert audiences.

  • 1.
    Start with asking the question, “What story are we telling and why does it matter to our audience?”
    Make it a habit to pause and ask those questions. By embracing a “They Ask, You Answer” philosophy (Google Marcus Sheridan when you have some time), you are taking the time to understand what your buyers are searching, asking and feeling. This philosophy is all about the obsession of trying to answer, “What is my customer thinking?” In travel, these questions can include ones like the value of an all-inclusive versus a non all-inclusive hotel, things to do in the region, authentic cultural experiences or even ways to personalize and make the most out of a stay. This approach helps you create content with the intent of solving their pain points. It helps you build your audience, nurture them and earn their trust as you create an avenue for them to emotionally connect with your brand. Content marketing is about adding value to your audience — it’s about talking with them, not at them.
  • 2.
    Effectively distributing your content is just as important as creating the right content.
    As PR, social media and marketing have evolved tremendously over the years, the lines between all three have become blurred. Now more than ever there needs to be a cohesive strategy that ties it all together. It’s not uncommon for travel brands to have separate teams and plans across all three areas, and as a result there usually isn’t one person who owns that role. There’s value in having someone dedicated to ensuring your content marketing and messaging are being integrated and distributed consistently through owned, earned, paid and shared media efforts. Let’s say you’re launching a fall travel campaign, create a robust plan that works together towards the same purpose. Complement your digital ads and website offer with owned social media content or co-created content with an influencer, craft an engaging blog about the perks of traveling during shoulder season and push it out in your newsletter, partner with a like-minded brand on a fall travel giveaway and share it with relevant media outlets.
  • 3.
    Acknowledge content marketing’s ability to fuel traffic to travel booking sites.
    As travel marketers, we all share a common goal of increasing sales. The reality is the way consumers make purchasing decisions has tremendously shifted — they’re less receptive to strong sales messaging and are demanding more authenticity. On average, 70% of a buying decision is made before a prospect speaks with sales because they’re doing their own research online. Storytelling and content marketing play a major role in that sales funnel by priming your audience before serving them an offer. It helps with SEO so your brand is more likely to appear in searches, and drives traffic back to your site. Not to mention keeps you relevant and top of mind when you’re featured in media coverage or even on a partner’s social media. All marketing terms aside, it helps attract customers so you don’t have to chase them. When you effectively tell your story, the results on inbound and outbound marketing are exponentially higher.
  • 4.
    Personalize your content by listening to your audience.
    Everyone likes to consume their content differently and on different platforms, so meet your target audience where they are. Don’t try to be on every single platform because your customer is more than likely not on every platform. Instead, narrow in on a few key channels, segment your audiences when needed and customize content based on their preferences. Listen to them and pay attention to what is resonating by regularly looking at your analytics. Storytelling isn’t about throwing content out there and hoping it sticks, it’s about being purposeful and intentional.
  • 5.
    Leverage social media to refine and amplify your content marketing strategy.
    Take advantage of social media’s interactive features like Polls in IG stories to ask your audience what they want to see. With past hotel brands I’ve worked with, we’ve generally gotten the best response when doing so. It creates a dialogue and makes your audience feel valued, not to mention helps guide you with content creation. Serving your audience with content they want to see will boost your engagement. Then, amplify your content marketing by cross-promoting blog posts to drive website traffic or chopping up long-form content into bitesize social posts or videos. Best of all, you can measure success through your social media by tracking interactions, link clicks, views and more. Tools like audience insights also help you discover who is following you on social media to ensure it aligns with your ideal customer.

About Alliance Connection:

For nearly a decade Alliance Connection has been successfully working with Caribbean and Mexico travel brands as an extension of their teams to shape, mold and pioneer the travel industry. They have a proven track record of driving awareness and bookings through strategic marketing partnerships and powerful brand interactions across a highly selective portfolio of brands, media, and influencers that connect, capture and influence travelers across the U.S.

About I'm Just a Publicist:

I’m Just A Publicist empowers travel brands to tell their story through emotion-driven messaging and strategic content marketing. They combine expertly crafted copy and purposeful content to help others breathe life into their brands and connect with audiences. The company is founded and led by Dana Baasiri, a communications strategist with 10 years of experience in the travel industry. For more information, please visit www.imjustapublicist.com.

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