Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online materials (videos, blogs, social media posts, etc.) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to generate interest from consumers in your travel products or services. These materials must be relevant, consistent, and valuable to your consumer base to drive travel.
Here are a few best practices and tips for creating your own content marketing plan.
- Strategize and plan your content marketing well in advance of execution. Try to look ahead at least six months and study trends in the travel industry to see what types of content you should be creating.
- Set clear goals for your metrics so that you can measure the success of any content marketing travel campaigns you publish. What are you measuring? More leads, traffic to the website, foot traffic to your destination? You need to define these before you begin planning your content.
- Create content with your brand objectives AND your consumers in mind. These brand objectives need to be based off visitor research rather than your own interests.
- Use an editorial calendar to plan and strategize your content throughout the year.
- Research your content topics and perform keyword research that pertains to your destination. To learn more about doing keyword research, check out this blog by Hubspot, A Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Research for SEO.
Free content search engine optimization tools:
- Buzzsumo—Enter a keyword and see the top performing articles on the internet. You can see how your content stacks up against everything out there and also what topics others are covering. That gives you a good starting point to see where the gaps are. You can sign up for a 7-day free trial and then if you like it, sign up for one of their plans.
- Google Trends—Shows popularity of a search term to give you an idea of what people are currently looking for. Helps you identify seasonal trends to create content at the right time of year. Check trending searches to see if there is anything related to your business that you can link for search relevance. For instance, it could be National Pet Day, and if you’re a pet-friendly hotel, you could create an article about the pet-friendly features of your lodging. Use the related queries section to find new keyword ideas.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner—Use the keywords you discovered in Google Trends to check average monthly search volume and competition. You can also check to find keywords that are related to your business. For instance, if you’re a winery in Virginia, you can type in “Virginia wineries” to see related keyword ideas with their matching search volume and competition. “winery richmond va, leesburg wineries, and loudoun county wineries” all have 1,000-10,000 searches per month, with low competition, so these would be good keywords if you happened to be in that area.
- If you have limited time, budget, or staff available to help create content, focus on building evergreen content, content that does not need to be updated or changed very often. Here are some types of evergreen content and examples from the Virginia is for Lovers Blog:
- Checklists—The Ultimate Checklist for an Unforgettable Virginia Holiday
- “History of”-style articles—The History of Distilling in Virginia
- Listicles—20+ of the Best Donut Shops in Virginia
- Tips and hacks—Ten Tips for Tent Camping
- Deep dives (articles that make you an authority on a topic)—Everything You Need to Know About Virginia Oysters
- Track your results in Google Analytics and your social media platforms to see how well your content is performing. What are visitors saying about your destination? Take these comments into account when deciding on your future content strategy.
- If content isn’t performing well, consider reevaluating your keyword usage and where you’re sharing the content. Some content platforms have become more “pay-to-play”, which limits businesses with smaller content marketing budgets. As a travel marketing organization, you need to figure out what platforms give you the best returns when it comes to attracting visitors, not just “impressions” or “clicks”.