Guide to travel content marketing
PART ONE: WHAT’S THE POINT OF CONTENT?
At a time when traditional marketing methods are losing their impact, travel content marketing is becoming more and more significant. But what is travel content, how can you create it and just what are the benefits? In this five-part series, Melt Content’s Dan Hart guides you through the process of travel content marketing, from taking stock of your assets to crafting your content calendar. First of all… What is the point of content?
Travel content marketing is all about creating relevant, consistent and engaging travel content to attract and retain customers. Examples of travel content include everything from blogs, infographics and image galleries to newsletters, viral videos and Facebook competitions – and these can be used in many ways. For example, one of our hotel clients recently created a range of written content around things to see and do close to the hotel, and later repackaged this information as mini guides, distributed among guest rooms. Travel content marketing should be incorporated into a wider marketing strategy, and can even work in conjunction with conventional campaigns, but it is vital that content is created to give added value – and not to sell products.
However, that doesn’t mean travel content doesn’t have tangible benefits. Unlike the vast majority of other marketing efforts, offering your customers free, engaging content means they will look forward to hearing from you, will spend more time with your content, and will share it with their colleagues, friends and family. Whatever the size of your business, you can use the valuable specialist knowledge of your staff – whether a reservation agent, a holiday rep, a hotel chauffeur or a ski instructor – to generate content that gives you a reputation as an authority in your particular arena. This builds brand loyalty among existing customers and motivates prospects to contact you for an expert ear. And both of these routes can often lead to conversion.
Travel content also has a big role to play in search engine rankings. Google has updated its search algorithm significantly over the last two years, arriving at a point where content is the absolute focal point of search strategy. Before, SEOs could manipulate the system to achieve consistently high search results, but now the updates of Panda and Penguin mean Google has cut spam (and spammy tactics) from winning in the race for rankings. The latest evolution to its algorithm introduced Google Hummingbird, which has completely overhauled the way it delivers search results. Google now rewards sites that build subject authority around their offering, placing user needs and intentions above high volume keywords. So the best tactic is to focus on creating content that appeals to your demographic. If the content quality is high, the ranking will be too.
The costs for travel content marketing vary dramatically. Writing a blog post should cost less than producing a video. Yet across the board, travel content is considerably more cost effective than the traditional forms of marketing – and often with better results. Creating an online article which is picked up by the press is far cheaper than publishing an advertorial or creating a print advert, while filming an online video that finds an audience costs a fraction of the amount of producing and marketing a TV campaign. Particularly when you probably already have the assets (staff with knowledge and expertise) and resources (all you fundamentally need for written content creation is a keyboard) to start producing content immediately. What’s more, the audience for your specialist content is likely to be more relevant that one found via a national ad campaign.
In short, travel content marketing can increase customer loyalty, bring in new prospects, boost your search engine rankings and save you a fortune. Sold? Then next time, find out how to use your assets effectively…