By: Mark Henshall, content strategist, travel writer and editor
The noise around content marketing in the last couple of years has been hard to ignore. Despite this, the travel industry is yet to make full use of the business opportunity.
Increasingly, however, the measurable benefits of a strategic content approach – as part of an overall marketing plan – are forcing decision makers to sit up and take notice. Here are a few things to help you make an impact:
What’s Content, again?
It’s just the stuff a reader comes to read, see, learn or experience on one of your platforms. The stuff you want to communicate effectively to your customers. Call it ‘inbound marketing’ or ‘customer engagement’. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is to create valuable, relevant and consistent information to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
Start with the insight
Great content is based on real insight into the questions your customers are asking. Find an answer to these questions, create relevant ideas to fill a need, and find influencers who would love to share and recommend them. This way you have a real chance of creating engagement and advocacy.
It’s a layer, not a channel
Content can begin slowly with baby steps but it must be an integrated layer within your brand’s marketing plan, rather than a stop-start side project. If you treat content as a side channel you’ll create content ‘islands’ and a lot of cognitive dissonance in your audience – people simply won’t ‘get’ you.
Great content can have a huge impact on traffic, conversion and post-purchase loyalty. Content can significantly boost search rankings, drive online PR and feed a social strategy. It’s measurable, it can be reported on, and gives you a big advantage.
The two-week holiday
Unlike the fashion, retail or food industries, for most people travel is a once or twice a year purchase. To get the eyeballs, when you need them, it’s important to stand out. Being creative with content can give your brand a shape and cut through the noise.
Customers are everywhere
Digital has disrupted the linear customer purchase journey. What’s important for brands is to create a clear brand story that resonates across all platforms, and to work at being aware of where, when and how customers are engaging with you.
Mark Henshall is an award-winning content strategist, travel writer and editor. @M_Hensh
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