Content Marketing in the travel industry can be an effective way to build your brand's authority and gain a loyal following of customers. Here are a few golden rules to follow when devising and producing your content.
Know Your Audience
This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to go ahead and produce bundles of content before properly asking exactly what your target audience is looking for. Building a marketplace for Camel Tours in the Sahara Desert? Probably not a great idea to publish that ‘Top 10 Must-Have Scuba Equipment’ article you’ve been working on. The same applies for the tone of your content. Don’t patronise potential customers by telling them what they already know. The best way to engage an audience is to challenge it with insightful opinions and, occasionally, controversial but informative discussions.
Develop a Style Guide and Stick to It
Once you’ve understood the needs of your audience in terms of content and tone, you’ll be in position to put together a style guide. Include in your guide a list of terms which are banned across all of your content. The language you use dictates how you come across, so make sure it’s suitable, but contains enough personality to get noticed. Building a marketplace for luxury honeymoon getaways? There’s only so many times that possible customers will want to hear about how the beautiful golden sands of X will ‘take their breath away’. Avoid clichés where possible, and for God’s sake don’t use 24/7. Ever.
Sticking to a bespoke style guide across all of your content is a sure way to develop a consistent tone of voice for your brand.
Put Quality First
Today’s travel customers are knowledgeable and internet-savvy. They’ll spot copy & pasted, uninspiring content from a mile away, and won’t hesitate to leave your marketplace and look elsewhere. Because of this it’s hugely important to keep the standard of your content high. Become known for the insight, information and entertainment that you produce, not the one bad article you published which offended a whole continent and left your brand with a bad reputation.
While quantity is key to sustaining and growing your audience, not everyone has an office of workers dedicated to producing new material every day. Don’t mass produce content at the expense of quality. It’s better to be known for your exceptional weekly blog than the crap you churn out on a daily basis.
Look to approach things from a perspective your audience hasn’t experienced before. If you can become known for informative, imaginative content, you’ll be well on your way to building a respected brand which stands out from the rest. It’s not only the makeup of your content which can help you do this. Think about the method of delivery, too. This brings me to…
It’s Not All about Words
Mix it up when producing content. Videos and visuals can be just as effective, if not more, than standard blog posts and articles. If you’re building a travel services marketplace, make the most of social media campaigns and visual content – Unique pictures and videos can be effective descriptive tools, and are infinitely more shareable than the written word.
Unless you have a small army of expert content creators working on fantastic, original stuff every day, you’ll need to be smart and make the most of your resources. Don’t be afraid to reuse content. You can, for example, take the top ten points out of an article and tweet a different one each day. Why not write out an article based on a video interview you’ve published, or create an animation outlining the common problems faced by your customers. Be smart and find ways to make your carefully crafted content go further.
Create Content Which Stands the Test of Time
It’s a good idea to build a body of content which will keep driving traffic no matter what. Whether this is a series of city guides for your chosen destination or some ‘top ten things to do in…’ pieces. Travel customers will always search for inspiration online, so a solid body of work will provide you with a platform to be a little more experimental.
Don’t ignore SEO
This is a pretty huge topic which we’ll be covering in detail in the near future. Let’s just say for now that the more you put in to SEO the more you get out. Whether it’s ensuring your content contains the key words most searched for by your audience or creating a network of backlinks from authoritative sites pointing to yours, optimising your content for search engines is crucial for bringing in consistent traffic.
Measure Your Progress & Learn from It
Tools such as Google Analytics can offer genuine insight where previously you’d just been going with your gut. Check out where your traffic is coming from and which types of content are proving to be the most successful, and make changes to your content marketing strategy accordingly. Do this regularly to keep track of your return on investment.
Build a Brand Renowned for Great Content, not an Efficient Content Machine
A strong content brand is the most effective way to illuminate the products and services you are offering. Because of this be sure to drop in strategic links that act as bridges between your content and your services. In a travel industry where loyalty pretty much doesn’t exist, the authority of your voice goes a long way to selling your services before buyers have even reached the checkout.