I created this blog as a platform to several as a journal of my thoughts on a plethora of marketing topics. Being part of the travel and tourism industry the past decade, my content is skewed towards destination marketers with a focus on marketing, content, video, social media, and digital. I do believe that the concepts that I write about can be implemented across other industries. My goal is to provide an engaging platform for destination marketers and marketers in other industries to educate and share my knowledge.
The opinions expressed in this blog belong to Anthony Haag, and do not reflect the ideas or policies of any current or previous employer.
Anthony is a Digital Marketer. He has experience in managing Social Media campaigns, Marketing initiatives, Advertising, Technology, Website, Public Relations and everything digital. His Social Media campaigns were ranked 7th out of 72 Convention & Visitor Bureaus in a study conducted in 2010. His position in tourism led him to many other activities such as a member of the Lake County Social Networking Group, a steering committee member for the Lake County Young Professionals and a member of the PR Council of Lake County. Anthony likes to keep learning and expanding his horizons. He is a social media ‘jack of all trades’ and believes that without a strong digital / content / social marketing strategy, your traditional advertising won’t achieve its full potential. He knows firsthand what it takes for brands to reach consumers and be successful. Anthony has won four Illinois Governors’ Conference Awards including the 2009 Best Social Media Marketing Award, the 2014 Best Social Media Marketing Award, 2015 Best Cooperative Marketing Campaign Award and 2015 Best Visitors Guide Award. Anthony has also been mentioned as one of the top 100 Most Influential Tourism Marketing Professionals to follow on Twitter every six months since 2013. He has launched 2 music videos with his last one being, a Lake County Song Search, that saw over 75,000 people view the video in the first week of its launch in June 2015. Anthony successfully transformed the Lake County, IL Convention & Visitors Bureau marketing department from a one person operation to a three person operation including an intern, and the lead the team to record setting website and social numbers.
Anthony believes in going the extra mile; above and beyond what is necessary on any project. He has a burning desire to succeed, and is always thankful for how far he has come and for what he has. Anthony is a tireless worker who always thinks that project could be improved upon and isn’t satisfied until it’s perfect.
Anthony started the Lake County Blog in 2007, which has since been redeveloped several times. In 2009, he then launched a separate kids blog, by having students from Lake County area schools write about things to do in the area from their perspective. But content is more than just blogging. Anthony developed a Content Strategy for the website that then was expanded to their blog. The strategy that was employed, was to break out the categories on each landing page section (Family, Outdoor, Dining, Accommodations, etc), with a photo, headline, and brief bio of the category with a link. Each category than had its own page which told the destinations story of that category. For example, the Fine Dining page had experiential content about Fine dining in Lake County. Not only is this beneficial for long-term SEO, it provide more content to social and lead to a stronger social strategy and more click-thrus. By creating more content on Visit Lake County website, he was able to increase website user sessions 36% from 370,000 in 2014 to 504,000 in 2015, including a 20% increase in blog traffic. Content is king!
Anthony was on the forefront of Social Media in the Tourism Industry and at the Lake County, Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau. In 2007, he launched the CVBs Facebook and Twitter accounts, and ever since, he adopted each platform to the audiences needs and the ever changing Social Media landscape. Anthony continued to expand the CVBs social reach by adding networks Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, with each having its own social strategy to target the appropriate audiences. With a passion for video and broadcasting, Anthony launched a YouTube webisode series, ‘Enjoying the Ride with Anthony Haag’, where he not only was the host but designed the webisodes so he would be doing things that visitors would be experiencing. This then led him to creating 2 music videos, with one going mini-viral and reaching 75K views in less than a week. In 2015, Anthony managed the overall Visit Lake County Social Strategy to achieve nearly 2 millions social impressions.
Advertising was a key component in of Anthony’s role as Director of Marketing at Visit Lake County. He not only sold ad space in the organizations Map Guide and Visitors Guide publications, he also sold ads on the website and boating sponsorship for Boating Lake County. He also brokered a sponsorship agreement with a local car dealership to sponsor the Visit Lake County Stage at the 2015 Lake County Fair, not to mention coordinated the agreement with 102.3 XLC to be the sponsor of the inaugural Lake County Restaurant Week. Anthony also oversaw the yearly Summer Campaign Advertising Program, as well as the Fall and Winter/Holiday Advertising Campaign programs.
Anthony played an instrumental role in rebranding the organization from the Lake County, Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau with the tagline, ‘Natural Spaces, Fun Places’ to Visit Lake County, a new logo, and new campaign taglines. He was also a key player in our seasonal campaigns, working with the partners who participated, selling the ads, and creating a campaigns the marketed the area as a whole county instead of just individual attractions. Plus, he played a critical role in expanding our market share and launching the site BoatingLakeCounty.com, and was the main point of contact in working with the boating industry businesses in the area and getting them involved in the initiative.
Not only did Anthony work with all of the partners of the CVB and helping them promote their business, I was the mastermind behind creating partnerships between the CVB and 102.3 XLC, the Daily Herald, Little Lake County, and with the Lake County Government Communications. We formed a bi-weekly segment on 102.3 WXLC, where I would go on their morning show and talk about upcoming weekend events. I collaborated with one of the local newspapers, the Daily Herald, where we wrote a weekly column of the top 5 weekend events happening in the county. Little Lake County, is a local blog about kid friendly events, attractions and more in the county. Anthony also thought outside the box, and instead of having their writers guest blog on our site, why don’t we go were the audience is and write weekly on their site. We promoted their events and blogs, and they did the same for us, generating more user sessions to each organizations website.
When a local restaurant manager came to Anthony with idea about a county wide Restaurant Week, he formulated a plan, persuaded my boss and board of directors that this needed to happen now and we can pull this off. Anthony created a Restaurant Week planning committee with other restaurants, branding logos and ads, and worked to get other restaurants involved, and launch the first ever annual Lake County Restaurant Week in 2016.
In the spring of 2016, Anthony also became Google Adwords certificated and was managing adwords ads for clients.
Outside of work Anthony enjoys spending time with his wife, son, family and friends. Exercising, as he ran his first half marathon in May 2015 and is looking forward to running a couple of 5k’s and other events in 2017. Anthony is an avid sports fan and enjoys watching football, baseball, basketball, and playing golf and softball. Working out and running keeps him in shape for the golf and softball seasons. He also enjoy swimming, as he was a swimmer growing up and a swim coach after college.
Anthony can be reached on Twitter @Anthony_haag.