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Here’s How to Partner with More Diverse Content Creators in 2022

Telling the same stories over and over again, or showing off visuals of only your most touristy attractions isn’t going to grip visitors and keep them engaged with your content. In fact, that approach leaves a lot of stories about your destination untold. 

There’s so much more to destination marketing than outdated stock photography and the same five regularly used high-res assets. 

Does that sound like you? That’s okay! You don’t have to go it alone; in fact, it’s easier than ever to partner with incredible content creators, whether they’re writers, visual artists, photographers, or influencers. 

Ready to get started? Here are five tips for creating content that will highlight your destination’s diversity. 

1. Do your research

This may seem simple, but it’s an often overlooked tip. Make sure to do your own research — and align on your budget — before you even reach out to BIPOC creators for their time, expertise, and insight. Don’t offer work for free or “exposure.” 

Remember: Black creatives, writers, and influencers are historically massively underpaid. If someone asks for a rate that seems low, tell them that. Radical transparency about the realities of pay inequity in the travel industry (and other sectors of the economy) can move the needle on affecting real change.

2. Run a photo contest

Don Draper of Mad Men fame once said, “If you don’t like what they’re saying…change the conversation.” The same is true for visual content. To accurately capture what makes your destination unforgettable, you need to change up the methods you used to get cool imagery.

User-generated content (UGC) is valuable because it reflects real life; it can be less glossy and manicured than a shoot day, which can come with a model, lights, shot lists, and wardrobe. 

Try holding a photo contest where the winner will be featured on your website homepage or Instagram feed post. This is one way to highlight local photographers and diversify your destination’s visuals. 

3. Partner with Black-owned businesses 

Every destination should create evergreen content that spotlights Black-owned businesses in their area. This could look like guides, blog posts, ebooks, an interactive map, or a listicle of your city’s best Black-owned restaurants. To gather information, consider regularly sending your destination’s social media manager to restaurant openings and store launches spearheaded by BIPOC. 

You can interview Black entrepreneurs and feature their stories on social media, or plan a meet-up exclusively for Black creators and small business owners to get to know one another. 

There are likely so many BIPOC voices, from tour operators to local artisans, who can benefit from their craft being shared on social or an email newsletter. For a deeper dive on this, check out our article, 8 Meaningful Ways you can Uplift Black-Owned Businesses in Your Area.

4. Refrain from using Black vernacular

Black vernacular and culture has greatly influenced the fabric of our society — from music to memes. You might think you’re being “cool” by using terms and slang you see on Twitter, but co-opting AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) is a form of cultural appropriation that can cause real harm. 

5. Create an environment that will attract more diverse creators

Leading change means putting budget and effort toward DEI efforts…especially in the content creation and destination space. Be transparent about your marketing efforts. Consider starting a Creator Fund (taking inspiration from giants like TikTok and YouTube) where your DMO can put a certain amount of your budget toward expanding representation. 

Nurturing creative partnerships with BIPOC creators takes time and consistency. You won’t grow your destination’s storytelling capabilities overnight. 

Wrapping up 

Beyond creating meaningful partnerships with diverse content creators in your community, you can also leverage Crowdriff’s UGC and content libraries to acquire new, relevant visuals — fast — that go hand-in-hand with your larger marketing initiatives. 

There’s more digital content in the world than ever before; why shouldn’t it accurately reflect the world we live in? 

Want to learn more? See a quick demo of what CrowdRiff can do for your DMO.