Becoming a Recognized Travel Expert
Are you recognized as a leading Travel Expert for your niche? If not, you might take a marketing lesson from the greatest of all time:
~ Muhammad Ali
So what’s your plan to tell the world you’re the leading travel expert in your chosen niche? If you say “I’m going to use the Internet” that’s a good start. But, how do you let the world know you’re the expert without a huge advertising budget?
Small and mid-sized businesses in all industries are faced with the same question of how to compete with large corporations and their seemingly unlimited advertising budgets. Many are addressing the challenge by embracing Content Marketing.
Content Marketing can be loosely defined as a strategy of crafting long-form articles about the many facets of your chosen travel niche and posting them online on a regular basis.
Long-form marketing provides the opportunity to “sell the experience” because the format inherently allows you to fully describe in-depth the package you are promoting. The real benefit of long-form marketing is that you are positioning yourself as an expert by showcasing the knowledge and the value you provide. While long-form marketing may generate fewer inquiries, they tend to be more qualified leads and create a client who may also come back to book future trips.
Conversely, short-form marketing such as display advertising or posting on social media tends to focus on destination, price and package components rather than your skills and knowledge. So naturally this type of advertising focused on price and components tends to generate more inquiries, but also a lot of churn due to less qualified leads and people just looking for a deal. Short-form promotion produces “rented” benefits. In other words, there is little residual effect. If you stop spending money for advertising or quit posting on Social Media the leads and web traffic also stop.
The benefits of long-form Content Marketing take time to realize, but have a cumulative effect as the search engines will continue list your webpages which can deliver targeted clients to your website making it a worthwhile effort.
Travel Content Marketing
- The goal of Content Marketing is to increase your online footprint as large as possible with many web pages featuring your informative, well written articles. Commit to crafting two to four articles per month about your travel niche and post them to your website. The more articles you post, the better. Stay on topic only posting about your chosen travel specialty. Articles should be approximately 750 to 1,500 words long. Resist the temptation to make your articles longer because you will burnout and quit.
- Become a storyteller! Write articles about your favorite destination in a story type format. Write about the people, the local food scene and fun things to do while visiting. It will be easier to write and most importantly, more interesting as you personalize the article in a story telling format. You can also write hotel reviews, cruise reviews or tour critiques in a professional analysis format.
– As you write your articles keep in mind you are “selling the experience” to potential clients so make sure to add your inside knowledge, observations and most importantly your opinion which reinforces that you are THE expert.
– Freely use descriptive adjectives (Amazing, Fabulous, Gorgeous, Incredible, etc.) to describe the travel experiences you are promoting.
– Use a few of your own pictures to help tell the story you are trying to communicate.
- SEO – A critical component to a successful Content Marketing effort is getting those web pages to appear high in the search engine results for targeted search phrases. With this in mind, knowing some basic SEO is critical.
– Keyword Phrases: Use Google to find what words people are using to search for information about your travel niche. You can do this by typing in a few words into the Google search box and noticing the phrases Google suggests with its auto-complete. These suggestions (known as keyword phrases) are based upon what others have used to search for similar information.
– Target Marketing: Now that you found what keyword phrases people are using for the travel you are promoting, you can craft articles focused upon those words. This gives you a chance at targeting your webpage to be listed in the search returns for someone using that word phrase.
– SEO Tip: Include your targeted keyword phrase in the title of your article and two or three times within the body. For more about: SEO for Travel Agents
Use Social Media to Generate Traffic To Your Website
- Use Social Media to generate interest about your article by posting a small snippet and a link to your website to Read More. Although opinions differ on this, my theory is to use Social Media as a traffic generator to your website where your marketing efforts can be monetized through lead generation or someone subscribing to your email newsletter.
- Take advantage of Guest Travel Author Opportunities on other websites to increase your online footprint even larger. Look for guest author opportunities that will list your professional bio, contact information, head-shot image and links to your website and social media sites along with your travel article.
- An additional benefit of Guest Author posting is that it provides your website with inbound links. The number of high-quality websites that link to your website is one of the most important signals the search engines use for ranking. This can have a huge impact on where your site appears in the search results. For an example of a complete Author Bio page and also a shameless plug for our website take a look at: Review Resorts Author Bio Page.
Travel Industry Call to Action
If only 5% of the Travel Agents committed to Content Marketing, the flood of new websites and pages on the Internet would command attention of both the general public and suppliers.
Therefore, I would like to call on consortiums, host agencies and industry thought leaders to join me in encouraging Travel Agents to embrace content marketing. Let’s start the discussion. If you have ideas, please feel free to reach out.