The Right Way to Integrate User Content

The latest campaign from Travel Oregon is designed to encourage visitors to look beyond Portland when planning their vacations.

Produced by Wieden+Kennedy, the series of seven videos feature the Seven Wonders of Oregon, ranging from the Oregon Coast to Smith Rock. The videos are beautifully shot and edited and feature some of Oregon’s most beautiful vistas.

What is remarkable about the campaign is not merely its glossy exterior. The videos provide an excellent introduction to each wonder. Those intrigued by what is effectively a commercial will find the site also features a wide variety of detailed content. There are dozens of blog posts featuring in-depth trip itineraries — complete with maps, photos and links to attractions and accommodations.

The campaign has done a great job of integrating user-created content. Each video’s page features user Instagram photos and encourages visitors to hashtag their photos when they visit. The site utilizes an interactive illustration to demonstrate the different regions of Oregon.

A similar tourism campaign was developed by the City of Seattle, which was called 2 days in Seattle. Billboards around Portland encouraged residents to venture north for a quick weekend away. However, the site does not have the same depth of content that the Seven Wonders of Oregon features. The Seattle campaign relies too heavily on user-crated content and does not offer enough useful information to plan a trip.

The Seven Wonders campaign demonstrates that featuring user-generated content can be a great way to encourage engagement. Pairing it with professionally created content can make the campaign seem more genuine and interesting. However, relying too heavily on users to create content does not insure the best results. An effective content strategy should include both.