Digital media has changed everything we know about marketing! The old fundamentals of place, product, price, packaging and promotion have little meaning in the vastly new digital world. Digital is pervasive, duplicated, distributed and enormously repurposed, rehashed and redundant.
In this environment messages get scant attention as travels wade through endless messages, hype and overload.
The Digital Paradigm
In the new world of excessive noise and dwindling attention, content has to be rethought. In this noise filled digital world everything is content and to stand out it must entertain, inform and engage in a personal and purposeful way.
Successful digital marketers have replaced the old paradigm of 5 Ps with one of purpose, passion and process. Content is part of a process. Today content must be malleable, re-configurable, responsive, personalized and tailored to the occasion and purpose.
“Content is King”
Although that phrase has been oft-repeated in the industry to the point of becoming a cliché, there is no denying that content determines the quality of any marketing strategy. In the new travel landscape, hospitality and tourism marketing content must be driven with passion and purpose.
Purpose is Vital
More and more todays younger consumers and seeking purpose. They look for purposeful vacations and seek out purpose and experience above things and possessions. Marketers to must check their “why” and align it with their product and service offering. It is an important part of the marketing message.
Creating meaningful content is a must for any business, especially those in the industries that provide customer satisfaction like destinations hotels, hospitality and tourism.
Why Good Content Matters
There’s this notion that creating content is an intimidating task. After all, you will be producing something that will be consumed and scrutinized by the public. That alone is reason enough to scare a lot of people.
However, investing in the creation of unique content does wonders for any tourism business. Great content for travel are your stories. Stories about your purpose, your passion and stories of your people and your guest experiences are crown pleasers.
Take some inspirations of Airbnb, and write about your destination sharing what you like and why. Make it personal to your purpose and align it with your idea guests.
Below are some of the basic principles and benefits of quality content.
Consumers today are a bit harder to convince and no amount of flashy marketing will be enough to keep them loyal to any brand. The only way to make any person convert is to earn their trust by providing valuable information.
Value comes in the form of that information’s utility. If the information helps a person solve a particular problem or will serve a practical purpose, then the person consuming it would find the source more credible.
Search Engine Optimization
Visibility is a must in order to attract the attention of potential customers. In the online world, this means ranking highly in the search engine results pages. How pages are ranked in the SERPs is determined by the algorithms guiding the search engine bots.
Since Google’s Panda Update of the mid-2010s, search engine bots now are scouring pages for information that specifically answers a query. If, for instance, your content provides information on the best travel destinations in one city, then your pages will rank higher in searches for that query.
This, however, has its downsides. If the search engines change the algorithms of their bots, then pages that do not follow the new standards will drop in their ranking by several numbers or, worse, pages. This does not mean that the content is no longer useful, which leads to the next benefit.
Keeping Things “Evergreen”
The best kind of content out there have a timeless appeal. This means that they remain relevant for years or the message they contain did not age poorly.
This is what is called “evergreen content” and producing them is not as hard as you think. You only have to say things in a different way or revisit old topics to give insight on new issues.
For instance, if you have an article on where to get the cheapest lunches in London, you can revisit that topic by adding in new restaurants. Better yet, you can use the article as the topic for a video on YouTube or as a script for a podcast.
The number of articles you can create from a single subject is limited only to your imagination. You might be surprised that some content creators have made entire libraries of content that tackle the same things over and over, but differently in each iteration.
The Principles of Content Creation
So how does any tourism business create good content? The process can be different, depending on the format or the medium. But, it always follows the same principles. They are as follows:
Before creating content, you have to lay the groundwork for it first. Identify the target market for that content. You will also have to identify how to reach out to that target market through finding topics that they resonate with the most. After this, you will then identify what type of content you will produce, the time needed to create them, and in what platforms they will be published on.
After identifying the content you would want to make, you would then have to create it. An important task here is setting up the tone of the content. Some topics can only be valuable if tackled in a formal or educational tone. Others might need a bit of levity on your part.
Whatever the case, you should remember to always provide value in the information you produce. This is why you need to set up the narrative of your content so that information flows from start to finish as coherently as possible.
Editing and Optimization
Once the first draft of your content is finished, you will then start trimming the fat. Is it factual and accurate? Does it contain enough keywords for the search engine bots? Does it contain proper grammar and subject-verb agreements? These are just some of the things you would have to look for to improve your content.
If possible, take as much time as possible in optimizing your content. It would be better to get things right than to publish an erratum later on.
Also, it would be better if you can invest in a good editor for your content creation team. This last line of quality control on your part should help in making sure that your content will be positively received once it is published.
Networking Linking and Anchor-text
It may seem a bit odd to think of your content being part of a network yet we all know that no man is an island, entire of it self. Content on your site or on a guest post is part of a story that will have many parts and if it significant and helpful to others it will have many links to it.
Every piece of content is part of the story. When you write helpful content it is natural to link to others that provide detail and expand on your content. Similarly others will link to you. Linking is natural but it has to be done in balance. Search engines devalue what they call reciprocal links, so its not a good idea to link back to those who link to you. Find another watt to reciprocate.
If you are building for own network of articles don’t over use keywords in your anchor-text. Anchor-Text is the visibly and clickable link on page that leads to an external site or page. For example f you want to link your page on “Benefits of Booking Direct” – that may be the very best anchor text. But it would be unnatural for all links to your page to be derivatives of the Benefits of Booking Direct. You will need to have generic links, like “click here for more information”.
It could be argued that content creation is both a mechanical and artistic process. Any content creator and business owner should strike a balance between meeting SEO standards and addressing the needs of any Internet user.
As such, being knowledgeable with various topics is not enough in creating good content. You must show passion in it so as to convert any idea into something that would provide value to consumers. In an industry utterly dependent on satisfied customers like tourism, being able to provide value in every content that you produce is what separates the best brands from the rest.
Surprising as this may sound, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to content marketing. There is still so much that good content can do for you and any tourism business out there.
Chapter 3 of Marketing Hotels & Tourism Digital Media Book Review explains further in detail how content is quite essential to tourism marketing as well as some tips on maintaining a strong content network. It includes essentials on linking and anchor text which is where many marketing campaign fall apart. See Review of Chapter 3 Here.
Chapter 3 is book 2 (Digital Media) of the series Marketing Hotels and Tourism – The series is available on Amazon Books, in digital and paperback.