Content marketing continues to be not only an effective means of lead generation, but a vital part of any marketing strategy.
With search algorithms prioritizing unique content, and consumers much more picky when it comes to what content out of the stream they engage with, compelling content is vital to any marketing in this new world.
A new startup aims to leverage this sort of content marketing into the travel industry. Melt was founded by Dan Hart and Ian Brooks, who met 20 years ago while working at Virgin Atlantic. This long-term relationship continued as both developed their travel industry careers independently, and eventually led to the pair founding Melt.
The 8-person team, which also includes content editor Nathan Midgley, also leans on a select team of contractors as required by differing client needs.
Here's the team's take on their "content is everything" offering, via Vine, followed by the Tnooz Q&A.
Tell us how you founded the company, why and what made you decide to jump in and create the business.
Founded by Dan Hart and Ian Brooks, our aim is simple: to provide professional, high-yielding marketing support that makes a clear, commercial difference to companies within the travel sector.
Through our frustration of using poor performing external agencies [in jobs around the travel industry] to help develop their previous businesses, we recognised a growing need to provide a service that combines agility, accountability and return on investment with a true understanding of what's required to make a travel business succeed.
What is your estimation of market size?
Huge – content and multilingual marketing demand is high.
Please describe your competition.
There are a number of content agencies in existence, but very few (if any) specialising within the travel sector. Likewise with providing a full multilingual marketing offering.
There are many SEO and Translation agencies, however, combining of these requirements ranging from multilingual keyword research, translation, localisation, content and digital campaign creation into a one-stop service is not offered by many agencies.
What is your revenue model and strategy for profitability?
Combination of project based fees and retainer relationships.
What problem does the business solve?
Melt is a new digital-marketing agency, providing content marketing solutions for businesses working in the UK and overseas markets. We specialise in travel with a range of services including on and off-site content creation, content marketing and using effective transcreation and localisation tactics to help businesses tackle and succeed in multilingual markets.
How did the initial idea evolve and were there changes/any pivots along the way in the early stages?
The idea is not necessarily new nor unique, but originated more from a frustration of using marketing agencies that so often, failed to deliver as they initially set out. Clearly, the importance of quality on / off-site content has been magnified due to Google’s algorithm changes over the last 18 months, which has re-emphasised how important it is to use your content wisely (and economically).
The offering is purposefully broad and our goal of delivering an agile service will undoubtedly mould the way we do business. We’re a firm believer that the market is crying out for marketing services that can adapt to the changing conditions or goals, and being able to do this quickly is vital.
Why should people or companies use the business?
Our value stems from our direct ‘client-side’ travel experience gained over the last 20 years. This has come from the likes of the Virgin Group, TheTrainline.com, Lastminute.com, Viator and Eurostar, which in turn, has provided an approach that relates to 'real world' experience.
In other words, having held executive positions managing large budgets and delivering high-yielding results, not only are we aware of the internal commercial pressures but more importantly, we know how best to fulfil these goals.
What is the strategy for raising awareness and the customer/user acquisition (apart from PR)?
Our marketing effort will combine a number of tactics. Firstly, we have a very large contact base within the sector, and have already made progress with the clients we’re servicing as well as those that have proposals for our service. Alongside this, it’s practising what we preach: Strong SEO tactics, content creation – white papers, articles, infographics, PPC, social media campaigns and affiliating our services with complementary businesses. .
Where do you see the company in three years time and what specific challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?
Our goal is simply to become a credible brand that is front of mind when a travel business is looking for an agency to help deliver content or multilingual support. We have experience working in previous start-up environments and recognise the pitfalls, most notably, ensuring that we scale at a pace that’s manageable. Our business plan is solid and we have further investment opportunities should they be needed, however, growth to date suggests this will not be needed.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
There are many marketing agencies in the market, but few that really understand the travel industry, particularly having the client-side experience we have gained. Our experience means that we understand the language used, and invariably, have experienced first-hand the challenges faced when marketing a travel service or product. Our experience lies in areas of growth: content vs. traditional SEO techniques; expanding businesses into multilingual markets.
The travel industry is unique and many agencies struggle to understand its nuances and traits. Ian and I have worked across a large number of travel related businesses, specifically the following:
- Package Holidays
- Rail distribution
- General travel distribution (flights, package holidays, car rental)
- Travel aggregation (flights, hotels and car rental)
- Tours and activities (B2B and B2C)
Distributing a travel product is challenging, particularly within the digital space. The SEO landscape has altered enormously over the last 18 months and it’s clear that shifting focus away from traditional link building to content related tactics is where travel companies will see significant gains.
Travel is a hugely topical subject, and its content potential is almost limitless, however, understanding how best this content is used will determine whether companies will succeed over others.
Travel is full of acronyms and uncommonly used language. Being able to understand this along with a strong view of how the travel landscape has evolved over the last 20 years means that Melt can quickly and efficiently tailor our service without wasting time.
What other technology company would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style... and why?
There are many marketing agencies offering varying types of service, however, not many focus on the service Melt offers e.g. it’s hard to align with an obvious company! Our style and culture definitely stems from our experience gained within the Virgin Group and running entrepreneurial businesses. We believe in offering outstanding value and expertise, delivering a service that goes beyond expectations.
This publication, and in particular this author, is constantly pointing to solid case studies of content marketing, while also highlighting areas left wanting. Travel is one of the most visually arresting industries, where the product sold is naturally interesting. Travel brands that are not able to create a content strategy that not only engages customers but also triggers the "what if" mindset are really leaving a lot on the table - and aren't worth their weight in checked luggage.
An agency that focuses exclusively on getting hesitant travel brands to do better on the content front is warmly welcomed.
Yet there are many vendors that pitch the same services, so the proof will be in the share counts and "high-yield marketing" brought from Melt-created content and services.
NB: Content image courtesy Shutterstock.