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Tourism Ireland bets on marketing partnership with IMAX producer to bring back tourism



Tourism Ireland bets on marketing partnership with IMAX producer to bring back tourism

Ireland, which features Liam Neeson as narrator and is produced and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films

This February, Tourism Ireland is teaming up with a new IMAX documentary about Ireland to welcome travelers back after the enduring travel slump from the Covid-19 pandemic. But ensuring the partnership is successful has called for a lot more than Irish luck, it’s taken a sophisticated mix of integrated marketing and data management.

Launching Ireland on IMAX

“From a tourism perspective [the film] is a great opportunity with terrific cinematography just to showcase the natural beauty and authenticity of Ireland,” said Alison Metcalfe, executive vice president North America and Australia/New Zealand of Tourism Ireland. The organization is presenting partner for the release of the IMAX documentary, Ireland, which features Liam Neeson as narrator and is produced and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF), known for making IMAX docs like Everest and To the Arctic. “The IMAX movie is obviously the centerpiece, and we’re working with MFF in building out a whole promotional campaign which will play out over most of the next year.”

She added, “As different components come onstream and the film builds momentum, there will be publicity, social media and digital campaigns – lots of moving parts and a fully integrated marketing campaign around that.”

Aside from captivating scenes of Ireland on 70mm film, Ireland the movie, directed by Greg MacGillivray, also includes a premise that dovetails nicely with an integrated travel campaign. The film follows writer Manachan Magan and concert violinist Patricia Treacey as they discover cultural points of interest and connect people of Irish heritage all over the world with their homeland. Four traveling teenagers are also in the cast.

“Ireland for our company and our family has always been a place we’d wanted to make a film on,” said Shaun MacGillivray, producer of Ireland and MFF’s President. “We’ve made films all over the world, but we’d never done a film on Ireland, it’s history, and it had never been done in IMAX before. It seemed like just an incredible topic.”

The film wrapped shooting in 2020 right before the pandemic became widespread. With borders closed by St. Patrick’s Day in March, travel was put on pause, and Tourism Ireland had to change its message to travelers while remaining on their minds as a top destination once things opened back up.

Retooling a marketing strategy during the recovery

In March 2020, Tourism Ireland paused its paid media advertising.

“At that point, people didn’t know how long this was going to go on,” said Metcalfe. “In April we decided we needed to find a way to stay connected with our potential audiences at a consumer level, but also to stay connected with our industry partners, including airlines, tourism and media partners.”


They launched a global social media campaign amplified through their partners, as well as with paid social ads. It centered around nine different buckets of content or “passion points” to “keep people warm about Ireland,” Metcalfe explained.

Over a year later, in May 2021, Tourism Ireland pivoted again into “reassurance mode” promising travelers that Ireland would soon be open again now that travel restrictions were loosening in other markets.

“It wasn’t appropriate to talk about a ‘book now’ message at that point, but when the borders opened for international travelers and vaccinated Americans on July 19, we went into a more proactive message – now is the time to start planning that trip,” she said.

They kicked off the “Green Button” global campaign to officially restart welcoming overseas visitors.

The promotion around the IMAX release falls into the category of brand partnership, one of Tourism Ireland’s biggest. It branches off of the core “Green Button” campaign to connect with “culturally curious” new travelers.

Investing in marketing technology

“Over the last three or four years, we’ve invested significantly in our marketing technology, capabilities and infrastructure,” said Metcalfe. “Tourism Ireland has had an ambition to be world leaders in digital destination marketing. During the pandemic, we continued to invest in having the best digital relationship with consumers.”

Keeping their customer data in a data-management platform ensures that Tourism Ireland’s communications with travelers are personalized and are retargeting pools of interested prospects with relevant content.

“We’ve seen really good engagement from the current campaign, so it’s just leaning in to be more data-driven, and also getting to the point where we can identify that sense of presence and attracting people across multiple touchpoints, and continue to engage when they actually arrive in Ireland,” Metcalfe said.


She added that they now have a dashboard that gives marketers in offices around the world real-time access to see what digital engagement is working. Media across digital and offline is also managed in partnership with Tourism Ireland’s media agency, OMD.

The offical trailer for “Ireland”

Cinematic art backed by small screen content

With a data infrastructure in place to respond as the world opens back up, Tourism Ireland has a plan to gain more momentum from the new film Ireland.

“By following a writer around Ireland in the movie, you do get a sense of the past, as well as the present,” said Metcalfe.

For social and other digital media, the focus in spreading word about Ireland the film will be on hitting those passion points in music, food, literature and history that digital-first travelers will want to find out more about. Media partners are part of the plan, as well as influencers.

The new social media strategy includes producing social-first assets, and also producing assets with a specific job in mind, and fitting that into the customer journey. In the TV space, linear TV local buys in major markets are supported with CTV, as people have cut the cords, Metcalfe explained.

“When we go out and film these amazing projects, we capture a lot of content,” said MacGillivray. “We’re able to tell, obviously, that pinnacle story that is shown on that giant screen in science centers and IMAX theaters all over the world. But also we’re able to create bite-sized content for specific digital platforms, getting people excited about not only the film, but also these amazing places that we go to.”

“We’re looking to develop how we can bring the story to life,” Metcalfe said. “Particularly during the pandemic and the recovery: seeing is believing.”

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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Small Content Marketing Team? Get Big Results



Small Content Marketing Team? Get Big Results

Updated August 10, 2022

How do you feel about the size of your team? Have you ever wished you had more people to plan, create, distribute, promote, and analyze content?

If so, you’re probably not alone. Most content teams have fewer than five full-time team members, according to CMI research.

But like many marketers, you probably aren’t getting a bigger budget to hire any time soon. So, with few hands on your content marketing deck, everything your team creates needs to count.

Put these three ideas into practice to get results – no matter how many people you have (or don’t have) on your content marketing team.

On a small #content team, everything you create has to count, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent @Canto. Click To Tweet

1. Document your content marketing strategy on a single page

Too often, teams jump right into creating, distributing, and (sometimes) promoting content without pausing to build (and write down) a strategy. And some small teams think writing down a strategy isn’t necessary because they already know what it is.


Those lines of thinking result in time-sucking, ineffective content marketing. Think of it like driving to an unfamiliar destination without a map or GPS. You might get there, but you’ll probably waste time on unnecessary turns, stops to ask for directions, and backtracking.

So, yes, you must write down your content marketing strategy. But you don’t have to spend a lot of time creating a lengthy, complex presentation that no one has time to read.

Yes, you have to write your #ContentMarketing strategy down. But it doesn’t have to be long or complicated, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent @Canto. Click To Tweet

Create a one-page content marketing strategy document instead (and, yes, you can use the front and back of a page) by writing down the answers to these questions:

  • What are your business’s purpose and goals?
  • Who is your target audience? What are their interests and needs?
  • What are your content marketing objectives? What do you want your audience to know, think, or do?
  • What are your primary content topics? This is where your industry and business subjects overlap with your audience’s interests and needs.
  • What type of content do you create? Identify the formats possible within your content marketing program, such as blogs, videos, infographics, social media, etc.
  • Where will you publish this content?
  • At what frequency will you create and publish this content? (Be realistic. It’s better to increase frequency than to decrease it down the road.)
  • What are the measurable goals for your content marketing program? Translate your content marketing objectives into quantifiable measures of success. Don’t forget to include a time frame to complete each objective.

For the Safe at Home Brand (don’t bother Googling, I made it up), a one-page strategy might look like this:

Safe at Home content strategy

Business purpose and goals

  • To help people feel safer in their homes
  • To increase sales of external monitors to families by 10% year over year

Target audience interests and needs

  • Parents/guardians with children 12 and younger who:
    • Want to actively create a better home environment
    • Are interested in protecting their family’s well-being
    • Feel challenged by time and budget


  • Children’s safety
  • Healthy and safe homes
  • Free or low-cost home improvement

Formats – distribution channels – frequency

  • Blog ­– brand website – 1x per week
  • E-newsletter – subscriber database – 1x per month
  • Video – YouTube – 4x per year
  • Social posts ­– Twitter 1x a day and Instagram 2x a week

Content marketing objectives and goals

  • To increase awareness of the Safe At Home brand as the go-to resource for home safety information
    • Increase unique visitors to the blog by 10% each month
  • To grow the database of subscribers who opt in for more content from Safe At Home
    • Increase contacts with email addresses by 20% each quarter
  • To convert subscribers into customers
    • Grow number of subscribers who also purchase products by 5% year over year

And don’t stop at documenting your content marketing strategy.

Post it somewhere where you see it every day. Distribute it to all stakeholders. Then, add check-in appointments to your calendar to review what’s working (and isn’t). Also, recheck your goals and objectives based on internal triggers (e.g., a new business direction) and external ones (e.g., a global pandemic, etc.).


2. Make the most of the content you create

Your team works hard to create the content. Here’s how to make that content work harder for you.

Break it into smaller pieces

Emily King detailed how her company atomized its content in the article How To Atomize 1 Killer Piece of Content into 10.


Her content team took an exclusive e-newsletter article and turned it into the following 10 pieces of content (as the graphic shows:

  • Three blog posts
  • Three podcast episodes
  • One presentation
  • One board game
  • One quiz
  • One infographic

Some pieces required no additional work, and some needed more effort. But it still took less time and used fewer resources than if they had created 10 content items from scratch.

Can your small team pull off something similar? Absolutely.

In the planning stage, think about the best content you can create for your audience – and how you can turn that big idea into multiple pieces. You can do that by answering these questions:

  • What topic would resonate best with our target audience?
  • What unique angle could we take?
  • Who would be the sources?
  • What would be the central piece of content?
  • What other content could be created from it?
  • What additional work would need to happen to create the other pieces?

In the planning stage, think about how you can turn one piece of #content into multiple pieces, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

The last question is critical to efficient content creation. For example, let’s say you decide to create a long-form article as your central piece and create a five-minute video from it. If you plan for it, you know that when you conduct interviews for the article, you also should record them for video. If you hit on the video idea after writing the content, you’d have to go back and ask the source for a second interview.


Repurpose your best work

If you follow the Pareto principle, 20% of your content delivers 80% of your results. Your percentages may not be exactly that, but I bet the concept does apply to your content marketing: Some of your content delivers big, but most of it does not.

Do more with the content that delivers big. These questions will help you figure out what to do and how to do it:

  • Which content performed well?
  • What format is it in?
  • Should it be republished as is?
  • How could it be updated or tweaked to be current and relevant?
  • How could it be repackaged for additional channels?

The Content Marketing Institute blog follows this repurposing practice in several ways.

  • The small editorial team updates articles that perform well and are still relevant to add more recent statistics, correct titles for sources, update outdated links, and add new angles. (For example, at the top of this article, you can see the “Updated” label that lets readers know we’ve brought this one back.)
  • CMI also knows its audience responds to “best-of” content. At least once a year, the team curates a new article with excerpts from recent top-performing articles. See 10 Content Marketing Articles Readers (Like You) Loved This Year as an example.
  • The CMI team looks for ways to extend the reach of event content to a new or expanded audience. The content team creates blog posts from in-person and virtual events, livestream interviews, Twitter chats, and more. Writers watch the sessions, read transcripts, or scour Tweets and comments, then add context and their perspectives. For example, Kim Moutsos recently turned a livestream interview with Tim Schmoyer into this article: Try These 5 YouTube Video Tips and Watch What Happens to Your Results.



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3. Put it all together

Processes and workflows rarely excite creative content marketers. Yet, establishing systems should give you more time to spend on creative development (or other more interesting tasks).

Make a master tracker

If you have an editorial calendar, that’s a great step. If you create a master tracker – an editorial calendar on steroids – that’s even better.

Documenting your process, from content ideas through publication, in one place – and making it accessible to all stakeholders – saves time. You won’t have to dig through emails or other messages to figure out what’s been done, what still needs to be done, and how effective it is.

Your master tracker should include:

  • Production process (assignments, reviews, approvals, deadlines)
  • Related content elements (keywords, headlines, metadata, etc.)
  • Goals and metrics (dated and updated regularly)


Create all related content at once

You’ve finished the article, infographic, or video. But that isn’t the end of your content creation. You’ll still need a headline, meta description, calls to action, etc. So write all those content accouterments when you create the original piece.

Your related content elements could include:

It makes sense to create all of this right away. You’re already in the mindset of that content – the topic, the purpose, the interesting sentences, etc. If you wait to do the related content elements, you likely will have to reread or view the original piece.

Save time and sanity

Making your small content marketing team even mightier requires creating a maximizing framework. By creating a one-page strategy, doing more with the content you’re already creating, and developing one-stop implementation resources, you’ll save time, keep your sanity, and deliver bigger results for your business.



 Register to attend Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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