Content Marketing for the Yachting Industry: Time to Get on Board

Yachting, in the scheme of things, is a very young industry. It has generally relied on traditional advertising- word of mouth and banner ads, the odd advertorial, or perhaps a sponsored mention in a feature. Content from yachting companies tends to have an overt sales pitch, which can be off-putting to readers, while research shows that banner ads that aren’t accompanied by engaging content are barely worth the money you sink into them.
Some yachting companies with a good online presence have recently incorporated blogs into their websites, thereby starting a conversation with their clients and developing a name for trusted advice, and circulating this content on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. So the entry of content marketing into yachting has begun, but it has a very long way to go. In France and Italy for example, you find many local yacht companies who don’t have a website, which in a multi-billion dollar industry, seems more than a little baffling. In the Mediterranean it sometimes seems like a lot of companies just don’t want to make money. But that’s a subject for another blog.
When it comes to brand development, the fact that a lot of the successful shore-based yachting companies are run by ex-yacht crew puts them both at a strong advantage and a strong disadvantage. Everyone in yachting knows how much nicer it is to deal with a company with personal experience on yachts, and I’m not sure any kind of marketing or training could or should ever replace that hands-on experience. Yachting is a parallel universe, and the last thing you want is your seafood supplier saying ‘What? No, it’s Sunday, of course I can’t deliver. You’ve given me no notice- just tell your boss it’s not possible, I’m sure he’ll understand.’ Ah yes, the patient billionaire. They’re everywhere.
So on the one hand, yacht companies run by ex–yacht crew are well positioned to understand the market’s needs. However, very few ex-yacht crew have marketing experience in a corporate environment- the kind of expertise you need to make an impact in a multi-billion dollar industry like yachting. Therefore, as yachting grows past the ‘word of mouth and everyone knows everyone’ stage, every company needs an engaging, approachable online presence that makes customers think of them, trust them and then buy from them. That is content marketing, and now companies need it to compete.
The larger yachting companies of course have marketing departments, with top recruits writing and marketing their website copy and promotional materials. But small companies don’t have that, and often don’t know how to tell their story. That’s no surprise. It’s difficult for most people to write engaging copy that jumps off the page and creates a bond with the reader. It’s even more difficult for people who are very close to a company to get the perspective on what an average reader might find interesting about a new type of yacht uniform embroidery or buttons. Owners of uniform companies might find buttons fascinating, but they also might bore the pants off someone they’re standing next to in a bar (If you are talking about buttons in a bar, you should stop.)

Content marketing for the yachting industry: finding the hook

It takes a talented writer with a good grasp of the yachting audience to identify what is interesting about your company, and build memorable content around it. It doesn’t even have to be specifically about your business expertise, as long as it creates a vivid memory in your prospective client’s mind. Did the boss do a car rally across Morocco? Good story. One of the staff has a funny (and publishable) story about their time on yachts? Even better. Your staff did a marathon for cancer? Brilliant. The point is that every company has a culture and personality. Develop it, publish it, and your customers will get a real sense that they know you.

It’s not all personality though; your content marketing strategy should very much be about building your reputation in your specialist field. So, buttons, when it comes down to it, need to be talked about.
King Henry VIII buttons

King Henry VIII

So, what’s interesting about buttons? You have to find a hook. A five minute Google search tells me that buttons only made their way to Europe in the 1200’s when the Crusaders brought them back from the Holy Land, and were so fashionable that commoners weren’t allowed to wear them as they were reserved for the elite. By the 1300’s, people would wear thousands of buttons on one outfit- the French King once met with King Henry VIII wearing an outfit with 13 600 buttons. (Wouldn’t want to get caught talking to him at a bar.) In fact, it was King Henry that began the still-common tradition of leaving the last waistcoast button undone, because his vast stomach would not allow it and his nobles quickly followed suit to avoid giving offence. As it turns out, buttons are a little bit interesting after all.

I would then would move into the story the company needs to tell- that they have a new button embossing machine etc, making sure to keep the story engaging throughout. Everything is interesting if you just deliver it the right way.
Be part of the change that is coming to the yachting industry and employ someone to boost your company profile and reputation with memorable content marketing. Please contact me for further details on how I can boost your media presence, business reputation and website traffic with targeted content marketing for the yachting industry.