Are you drowning in content marketing news and strategies for your travel brand? Are you confused or befuddled about which one to use?
It’s a necessary evil to keep up with what’s working in content marketing, but there comes a time when you could become OVERWHELMED with the sheer number of resources, articles, blog posts, courses and webinars out there.
Even when you think there are content marketing pros in the travel industry who look like they have their act all together, can read everything important in the morning and apply what they’ve learned by lunch, they just make it look smoother. They never let you see them sweat.
That’s about 0.05% of this select group…but what about the rest of us?
You need to have a handy-dandy checklist of what’s proven to work in travel content marketing, and the dirty work’s been done for you, right here:
1.) Hack your content
Yep, hacks of all kinds keep popping all over the place, and you might be tired of hearing hack this and hack that. But even if might be bordering on the most annoying buzzword around, there’s no denying that hacks (or if you prefer, shortcuts) work, and people love them.
The easiest way to do this with your travel content is to repurpose it. If you’ve done a ton of blog posts, update them and create a downloadable ebook or make it into a video or podcast. Nobody will notice that you’ve used this content before, and if they do…truly, they need to get life.
2.) Hire freelancers and connect with influencers
Why try to do everything yourself, or have your staff start a mutiny, when you think you need to create new webpages, emails, social media and blog posts all the time? Enlist the help of contracted professionals to lighten the load. While there are many sites offering freelance help, be sure to check out the qualifications of a potential hire before you get deep into the process.
A never-fail strategy is to get on the radar of and partner with those people who have some pull in your area of the travel industry. Influential bloggers, travel agencies and social media experts are just a few of the people who can help give your travel company a visibility boost by letting their followers know about it.
3.) Think curation, not always creation
You don’t always have time to re-invent travel wheels, so take those articles you’ve bookmarked or save on Evernote and include them in your content marketing. You can always find updated information and trends through leading travel marketing and travel agent news sources. The same goes for destination marketing information.
This isn’t something you always want to do and hardly ever write anything original, but this is a great time-saver and does help your SEO (not to mention your source’s SEO with some great outbound link building).
4.) Integrate your media (and make sure it’s working)
Are all of your channels – meaning your email, social, website, mobile and traditional marketing – working seamless together? You want to be assured that your social or email marketing brings people to landing pages that are easy to follow and entice even the most jaded browser, and your written and visual downloads are functional.
Also, check that your content takes advantage of highly searchable keywords and phrases, and you’ve a got an analytics strategy that instantly shows you what’s effective and not.
5.) Check out what’s popular
You can connect a hot TV show, movie, music, sporting event or anything that people love to something in travel. But don’t just throw something on the wall and see what sticks. Look at this example from Moz and notice how the writer Tom Mcloughlin’s agency used Buzzfeed, Mashable and Buzzsumo to create interest for his client’s travel company for tours to Morocco, based on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones.
The result was a highly successively link building strategy that brought in targeted traffic and mentions on top-level media sites.
6.) Identify targets
Another part of Mcloughlin’s strategy was to target writers who recently wrote about Game of Thrones, or take popular content and find authors who have linked to it. You want to see what kinds of information these people have used, so that you can tailor your content creation to something similar. Do this before you start the creation process.
When it’s done, pitch your content to the journalists or writers with a brief summary and why they’d want to cover it. Mention it as an exclusive for their site, so that it can be seen before anyone else jumps on it.
7.) Promote it twice
Next, after the writers have posted it to their sites and your social media marketing takes over, contact those writers again. But this time, mention how much their audiences are enjoying and sharing their articles, and how much it would benefit them to publish them on their own sites.
At this point you’ll also want to contact second- and third-level sites to promote the content. Mcloughlin mentions going to fan or “nerd sites.” The travel marketing equivalent of these could be online magazines or bloggers with smaller audiences.
8.) Co-op PR and create leads
Once you have some kind of public relations campaign going for your travel company or your offered destinations, you can then parlay that into a lead generation strategy. Think of anything that comes from your social media, blog or influencer partnerships.
But the one thing you need to remember here is the customer journey. Even if your audience is excited about what you have to sell, they often aren’t ready to buy when they notice the PR campaign. So use your social and email to keep in contact with them, so that your company is top of mind when they want to plan and book.
9.) Pay attention to recommendations
Your sparkling copy isn’t always going to cut it. Even if you can build consumer trust and your words sound fantastic, there is now more distrust about sales copy and all that it promises. As a result, more people are willing to listen to what their fellow travelers are going to say about a place.
So take advantage of the growing reviews and recommendations phenomenon. Feature an excerpt as a snippet on your site. If you get a bad review, respond to it kindly…and don’t be surprised if you see a bump in your analytics from this goodwill gesture.
10.) Try remarketing
Getting potential new customers is tough, so why not go after prospects who have expressed even the tiniest interest in what your site has to offer? Remarketing, which used to be the domain of the most tech savvy, is now easier than ever with Facebook and its native advertising manager.
While you don’t want to use this too much, because it often involves popup ads that users may find annoying, you can schedule these in judiciously enough to remind visitors to return to your website.
11.) Promote your UGC
Finally, there’s no denying the power of user-generated content (UGC). According to the travel industry news site Tnooz, your customers’ posting visual and written content attracts potential travelers and greatly influences vacation decision making.
How does UGC differ from recommendations, or #9? Really not too much, but within the travel industry context, UGC consists mostly of photos and videos and does include reviews that’s been checked for quality and proofread and edited accordingly. So include this information wherever you can, because it provides some strong social proof about how good your products are.
Just give a few a test drive…
Still feeling a bit overwhelmed after reading this? Well, here’s what you do: just try two of three of these strategies in the next two weeks, and see what kind of difference it will make in your website performance. Pay attention to your analytics, and see how many more people are converting from casual visitors to email list names. If your chosen tactics don’t seem to work, go on a try one or two more.
Content marketing takes time. If there were magic wands to make it happen instantly, every travel company would have them, and you’d probably be out of a job. But those don’t exist, and your supervisors depend on you to get this content marketing thing working…and you’ll still have your job.
So give these 11 content tricks a shot, and you just might find that a mix and match of all of the above won’t make you go as crazy as you might’ve gone otherwise.