I’m a marketing case study junkie so when I heard about the creative outreach that Florida Marriott was doing with bloggers to promote their hotel chain, I just had to talk to the brain behind the campaign and share what I learned!

The Goal

A good place to start is usually at the beginning. So let’s take a look at why exactly Florida Marriott reached out to bloggers in the first place.

Turns out they wanted to increase their brand reach online specifically and spread the word about their 14 hotels in Florida.

To achieve this goal, they teamed up with a travel focused PR and Social Media Agency—Diamond PR who is known for being forward thinking and innovative with the ever-evolving travel industry.

Diamond PR decided that working with a handful of bloggers and providing them with authentic and awesome experiences with Florida Marriott was a great way to engage the digital world in the name of their client.

How Many Bloggers to Make a Bang?

For both budgetary and relationship management reasons, Diamond PR decided that 8 bloggers were a perfect amount. Kara Rosner, Vice President of Diamond PR explained “we wanted to keep the number of bloggers manageable by our team and also the costs for things like flights came in to play. But that’s also why this project was so successful, because we were able to do it on a relatively small budget and subsequently have a greater return.”

What They Looked for in Bloggers

Contextually: First and foremost, bloggers needed to have the right audience which included affinities such as resort, spa or golf focuses.

Numerically: In terms of defining a minimum reach for bloggers to have, Diamond PR looked at stats such as social following since the blog post was the springboard for the campaign that spanned across many digital channels and traffic data.

How They Found Awesome Bloggers

  • Bloggers they worked with in the past
  • Online research
  • Referrals from other bloggers

How They Developed a Mutually Exclusive Relationship

In return for posts and social media content, the bloggers were given some awesome all expense paid travel experiences around Florida full of personalized itineraries and great service.

This is, again, where the value in a smaller and more manageable network comes in. Because they only worked with 8 bloggers, Diamond PR was able to put the time in to making each blogger’s experience tailored to their audience in order to connect with that audience.

The Planning

Florida Marriott had 8 bloggers but 14 properties to promote so after they nailed down the bloggers they were going to work with, the hotels were divided into regions with bloggers strategically assigned to different areas.

The team then created a unique itinerary for each blogger so that they could visit multiple Marriott properties.

To make the most of the bloggers’ time at each hotel property, Diamond PR worked very closely with the employees at each hotel to make sure the bloggers experienced the best features such as spa treatments, golf games, tennis lessons, etc.

Diamond PR set up and effectively communicated with the bloggers they worked with and prompted them to use the hashtag #BloggingFL which allowed the bloggers to communicated with each other and make it easier for audiences to follow different bloggers’ itineraries.

Making the Most Out of Third Party Produced Content

So the goal was fulfilled and with immaculate planning and cool experiences. But that’s not enough.

Having bloggers produce content and share it with their audiences is good. But to make a campaign GREAT, this valuable word of mouth content needs as much circulations as possible.

So organizing and executing a campaign isn’t all that needed to be done by Diamond PR. They put a lot of time and effort in using their own social channels and Marriott’s social channels to effectively and interestingly share the blogger posts, tweets, pins, etc.

Because they had such a solid base of owned content, Diamond PR used more traditional advertising tactics to perpetuate the third party content.

By creating a hashtag for the campaign, not only were the bloggers able to communicate with each other throughout the campaign but the hashtag appealed to third party people in the industry such as state attractions and tourist bureaus who further leveraged the content and tweets of the bloggers. This worked so well because the hashtag was travel oriented and the fact that it didn’t have the brands name in it made it optimal for other industry leaders to share it.

The Outcome

After all of Diamond PR and Marriott’s planning came together in the form of one awesome campaign, 14 hotels were visited by 8 bloggers and a large audience was reached.

Here are some specifics:

  • Earned 39 blog posts
  • Combined the 8 bloggers reached 1,043,400 unique monthly visitors
  • The #BloggingFL hashtag reached almost 8 million Twitter timeline deliveries
  • Through Facebook and Instagram, the bloggers reached almost 30,000 people through their own followers

Takeaways

Even if you’re not in the travel industry there are plenty of awesome takeaways from this example of phenomenal outreach marketing.

  • Less really is more. Don’t establish a network that is too big to keep up with. Stronger relationships with fewer bloggers is the way to go.
  • Spend time catering to the blogger’s audience, not just the blogger.
  • Provide the blogger with an entire experience so that they have something worthwhile to write about.
  • Set up a hashtag and other marketing assets that don’t include your brand’s name. That would be most readily shared by others in the industry.
  • Get referrals for influencers to reach out to from influencers you already have a relationship with.

Do you have a cool outreach marketing case study to share? Do describe in the comments below!