Meet Minneapolis: 7 Best Practices for Supporting Your Community

See how the team at Meet Minneapolis is proactively supporting locals and partners throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

When COVID-19 hit, the Meet Minneapolis team strategized to deploy communications and resources across its audiences, from hotel and restaurant partners to locals, small businesses, cultural institutions, and other stakeholders. Meet Minneapolis struck a balance between repurposing content, curating content from outside sources, and creating new content. This approach allowed the organization to move quickly and build a structured hub of the best available resources to help guide the community through COVID-19's impact.

Courtney S. Ries Senior Vice President, Destination Branding and Strategy at Meet Minneapolis, joined us during a recent webinar, to share details of this strategy. You can find an embedded video below where she walks through the organization's digital strategy. (You can also view the full webinar recording here). 

If you are updating and enhancing your destination's COVID-19 communications, here a few key takeaways from Meet Minneapolis' approach to help you build useful, informative content hubs for your community:

1. Address All Audiences

The Meet Minneapolis team built a general COVID-19 resources page sharing high-level information including state and city mandates, closures and cancellations, and health guidelines. In addition to this general content, the organization also built a hub for local community support and a section of content for industry partners. Structuring the content into separate hubs for each audience provides a solid information architecture for future content updates while making it easy for visitors to find what they need.

2. Create Clear Calls-to-Action

Use highly-visible website calls-to-action to drive audiences to your destination's COVID-19 Coronavirus content.  Depending on your content management system, you may use a combination of site-wide alerts, navigational elements, user interface elements, slideshows, and content highlights, to make visitors aware of your resources. The Meet Minneapolis team updated its navigation menu to link directly to the COVID-19 resources hub and added a site-wide callout button to link to its community support content.

These two calls-to-action are highly visible and persistent throughout the Meet Minneapolis webiste.

3. Repurpose Video Content

Meet Minneapolis leveraged existing footage to create an empowering new video asset. Using the hashtag #WeGotThisMPLS as an anchor, the video features shots of the city and local businesses and inspires solidarity. The marketing team used titling effects and overlays to generate this content quickly and easily. You can check out the resulting clip below.

4. Curate Content From Trusted Sources

Before you begin creating content, do some social listening and a Google searches to identify any existing content that you can share. Meet Minneapolis wisely published a blend of its own content and curated content from authoritative sources. For example, local Minneapolis news organizations had already developed an extensive list of restaurants offering curbside pickup or delivery, and rather than reinvent the wheel, Meet Minneapolis linked out to that existing content.

5. Empower People With Ways to Help

Many community members are simply looking for ways to help during this crisis and Meet Minneapolis provides plenty of ideas and resources for action. Meet Minneapolis partners are using the iDSS Extranet to add dozens of special COVID-19 offers to the destination website. Meet Minneapolis also shared a range of inspiring resources including organizations donating meals and supplies and ways to support local artists and beloved cultural institutions. Here's a full list of the types of COVID-19 resources that your audience may be looking for.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources to Share:

  • Free meals for school students 
  • Meals for people in need
  • Local charities and donation opportunities
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Hotels offering discounts to essential employees
  • Local businesses making or donating supplies or fundraising
  • Restaurants open for takeout and delivery
  • Stores offering online retail or gift cards
  • Breweries and distilleries with to-go or delivery options
  • Local musicians streaming concerts
  • Virtual events calendars
  • Local artists to support online
  • Home workouts from fitness studios
  • Guided meditation and yoga from local experts

6. Share Inspiring Content & Activities

Share ideas for your audience to enjoy your destination safely, whether that's in-person or from home. Minneapolis is fortunate to have plenty of parks and trails to serve its community. The Meet Minneapolis team shared content around enjoying these assets safely while practicing social distancing and following state and city guidelines. Meet Minneapolis also shared ideas for viewing public art and street art and finding locations where famous movies were filmed. Here are a few ideas for inspirational content to share with your audience.

Inspirational Content to Share:

  • Movies filmed in your destination
  • Local history content
  • Local trivia (re-purpose your facts pages)
  • 360-degree tours of landmarks and cultural institutions
  • Partners offering virtual events and classes
  • Local educational resources for parents
  • Self-guided walking tours
  • Public art and mural maps
  • Musicians offering live stream concerts
  • Destination-themed coloring book pages 
  • Destination-themed meeting backgrounds
  • Food and drink recipes 
  • Local chefs sharing recipes and content online
  • Fitness and wellness studies with online content
  • Outdoors activities that are safe to continue
  • Local podcasts

7. Focus on Local Businesses & Partner Organizations

Meet Minneapolis also created a range of content and touchpoints to keep local businesses and partner organizations supported and informed. The partnership team kicked-off efforts by calling all 700 of its partners to check-in and ask which resources the community most needed. Ongoing partner communications have evolved to include weekly emails, notification of big event changes and cancellations, and ongoing webinars and guides to walk local organizations through key COVID-19 updates to their Google Business profiles. Meet Minneapolis plans to continue partner outreach and feedback loops and will tailor and adjust resources and communications ongoing.

For more inspiring examples of destinations leading their communities throughout the COVID-19 crisis, visit our community resources page. Be sure to stay tuned for future Tempest webinars, where we'll continue to share digital strategies for leading through COVID-19 and feature voices from the travel and tourism community.

Watch: Meet Minneapolis Case Study

Hear from Courtney S. Ries Senior Vice President, Destination Branding and Strategy at Meet Minneapolis, who joined us during a recent webinar to share details of the organization's COVID-19 communications strategy.