Good travel marketing content will inspire, influence, convince and always leads to a next action that brings a customer closer to a booking, sharing a review or a tighter relationship.
To create content that will do the above and trigger the actions you planned with your content, you not only need to know your audience very well you also need a plan, and craft your piece of content in line with that plan.
Therefor you can't create great travel marketing content if you haven't create a digital marketing strategy.
In your strategy you set your target markets, defined which personas are most easy to sell too, understand why people book with you (your Unique Selling Points) and have a clear idea of the positioning of your travel products and destinations.
Now it's time to act and create content that influences your persona's to take a next step towards a booking.
Because the amount of content is still growing rapidly, from 1 a 2 brochures a year with a few advertisements to a living website, continuous advertising on different platforms and frequent social media posting.
You not only need more content, but the quality of your content has to constantly increase to stay relevant and valuable for your audience. The more content there is, the better your content has to be to be noticed. There is so much content now out there, that a lot content that cost money to create becomes invisible an not seen and results in no return.
If there is so much content out there your content became just like the other cows, your content like cows becomes ordinary and hardly noticed, therefor Seth Goding said: you need to create a purple cow, if you want people to still notice you.
Creating targeted travel marketing content, that makes your reader coming back
To make high quality, valuable travel marketing content you need to make sure that the content you create: either text, photos and videos are in line with your strategy, strengthen your brand, helps the reader trust your company more, get them closer to a future booking and makes your audience come back for more content.
This is so extremely difficult that it's almost only possible to try this for a well carved niche you created. If you have created your niche make first content around topics you already know are resonating with your audience, but are also giving you sales.
A great way to do is creating a segment in Google Analytics of your persona and then check what kind content they like in the behavior section.
Now you what kind of content your audience is searching for its time to create some content.
The Golden Circle of Simon Sinek
A concept I like to work with to write inspiring and valuable travel marketing content is the golden circle from Simon Sinek:
Don't make content, that focuses on the what (description of the feature) but focus on the why (the benefits). Because this will resonate with the part of the brain that influences behavior.
Simon can explain this much better then I do, so i recommend you to watch this video.
If we look at our best selling travel experience and we apply the golden circle concept on it, we can ask the questions that will lead to the most valuable content we can write for travelers.
Why are your persona's buying your experiences ? Why do they choose for your company ? Why do they choose for the city the experience is in ? The country ? But also why do you love selling this product and how does it relate to what your company stands for and believes in ? The answers to those questions are much more compelling then only describing what you offer.
The trick and this is the difficult part, is to translate the answers in an easy to understandable piece of content.
A very good example, though not from the travel industry is Apples Marketing Slogan for it Ipod - 1000 songs in your pocket. There is no mention of features, the name of the product : an mp3 player, just very compressed a revolutionary technique that transforms the ability of having a bulky cd with one album replaced by your favorite 1000 songs in your pocket.
How to apply the golden circle for your travel marketing content:
- Take the travel experiences you make the most money with
- Fill in the following answers
- Why are your persona's buying this experience ?
- Why do they choose for the city, region and country the experience is in ?
- Why do they choose for your company ? - Unique Selling Points - should come from your strategy
- Why do you love selling this experience
- How does the experience relate to what your company stands for (purpose)
The first 2 questions, you can answer with market research, knowing your customers by asking them for feedback, talk with your team especially guides and sales / marketing people and read your online reviews.
An interesting other possibility to learn about your audience is a Google interview.
Lets assume my company is good in snorkeling experiences for families and i want to apply Simon Sinek's, golden circle.
With the help of Google, i could answer the question why families love snorkeling, by searching for: "Reasons to do snorkeling with kids"
Besides some answers that google provides, it also gives us other questions our audience might ask. Copy paste reasons that think fit for your audience in a google doc and go to the next question.
Why do family with kids come to my region ?, here i took Bali as an example.
Google provides me with some answers and other questions my audience might ask. Collect the best answers and put them in your google doc.
The other questions are about your company and you should find that answer in your strategy.
If you answered all the above questions, reconfirm one more time: does my audience now have enough information to book my travel product with confidence.
Now we know what we need to communicate we need to find and create the right content materials to support or message.
What kind of content should I search and make ?
What kind of content type should you work with ? That depends on what platform the content will be place and what the goal is. We all have heard that a image says 1000 words. Thus with images you can communicate faster than with text. Humans learned to process images for thousands of years, think about cave drawings, our brains are wired to quickly extract a message from an image. Understanding that every single detail of a photo communicates something and should be in line with your message is important but mostly overlooked. The gender of the person in the photo, is the person smiling, what are the dominant colors every detail does something with our brain and influences to focus and learn more or to let it go.
Your personas smiling in the camera while experiencing your best travel experience, while emphasizing why the experience is great for the persona you are writing for. Dare to choose for who you write, for who your product is best: solo adventure travelers, wildlife loving family travelers, be sure to make your text specially written for them.
Avoid trying to please to many people, general content is working less good these days, because there is so much content available. Its really hard to stand out in the crowd, when every small or big company in theory has the ability to appear on the phone of every consumer in the world.
The narrower your niche and the better you understand why they like your experience, your destination, the higher the change you will resonate on their decision making level. Narrowing you niche not only means less competitors, but because of the world wide web your content will be easier to find by your audience because they will actively search for content they love. Placement techniques in for example google adds and Facebook make it also easier to deliver your content to exact right niche because you can target on what people love to see.
Besides targeting to a niche, to get attention, you need to create a "wow this is for me" feeling within seconds. People are making decisions faster than ever before, they scroll through feeds and then act on an impulse that triggers them.
The best way to get that attention is to show photos and videos of peers experiencing your best products while the content focuses on why these people love this experiences, use feelings and emotion in the expression of the person in the photo or video to make the content extra powerful and to give people the impulse to act upon.
Getting bookings with your travel marketing content
Even if you have explained why your audience should love your experiences, and you crafted your content in such a way to get attention, getting bookings with your content, still isn't easy, you not only need to inspire, but also need to build trust and then convince your audience to take further action and get in touch with you.
For me it starts with understanding that travelers don't just book, they go through a whole process often called the customers journey, this google article quickly explains that a customer journey in the travel industry ranges from days to months (or even longer) and that from the moment a traveler starts searching till a booking is made they might have viewed hundreds of webpages, articles, videos and posts on social media platforms, magazines, your website, etc.
The customer journey for a multi day travel product is often pretty long, people saved money for it and thus want it be a really good experience. Therefor they take time to not only to decide on which experiences will fulfil their holiday desires, but also to be confident enough which company has their trust to curate and create their holiday experience.
Inspire, Help, Proof & Sell
The customer journey, starts with a traveler that runs into inspirational content that arouses curiosity and makes the consumer want to know more.
Not only do you need to inspire travelers, you also need to help them with their travel planning. They might have tons of questions that need to be answered before they can comfortably choose your destination, company and product as the best option for their upcoming holiday.
And during that process they al
And even if all their questions are answered they want some proof to back up their decisions, photos of peer in social media doing the same, peers saying on review platforms like Tripadvisor how great your travel company is.
And only then travelers are ready to book with you.
Summarized travelers are looking for inspiration, to be helped, to discover new things, feel confident they are at the right spot (proof) and then buy from a travel company that earned their trust and provides the best available deal, that makes them happy.
I call this frame work: Inspire, Help, Proof & Sell,
Each page on your website needs to have these four elements somewhere on the page. And because a journey always starts with inspiration, this means that the first peace of content on your page should inspire.
Not only should each page inspire, help, proof or sell, you also need to be very clear on how you define each block on your page: each block should : Inspire, Help, Proof or Sell, sometimes it can two things in one, some videos can do even 4 things in one. That is why a video is so power full, a video can cover a message in the fastest possible way. However to let people watch a video, you need a very good still and first 2-3 seconds.
The same counts for social media and other content, with each piece of content you want to either, inspire, help, proof or sell or a combination of those four.
A great example of a home page with the element Inspire, Help, Proof & Sell is the homepage of Telluride
Here you wow your target audience, confirm they are on the right website and that you understand them and can offer them what they need.
Big beautiful picture + tag line
What is there to do for travelers - events
Reference of a magazine that said this is the best small town:
We are not saying it, a magazine !! .
95% of human decisions are taken are taken unconscious and very much based on feelings, with the help of triggering the right feelings you can guide the consumers of your content to the next step in their journey. If the traveler is inspired the next step might be, who else delivers this experiences, how do i decided who provides the best experiences, how do i get to this place, how long will it take, who else is doing this etc.
Make highly relevant content
The content you serve to customers should be relevant, personalized and actionable and should assist your visitors towards a sale.
While making content you should always make the next action simple, learn more, get more tips, book, think about what the person who reads the content needs as a next step.
To make relevant follow up content, its important is that you ask, why does a traveler come to consume this piece of content and what does it expect the content to do / help him or her with.
Make sure your teaser content, doesn't shout to much and make over promises you can't follow up with your next piece of content, stay believable, authentic.
What kind of content has value for Travelers ?
Make sure you have content that travelers need while they are selecting which country to travel to, all the way to why they should choose your company and how you make sure they will have the best holiday ever.
Always stick to you angle, try to let each piece of content be a proof of your Unique Selling Points and the brand you stand for. If you can create a sense of belonging to your company, for example we are sustainble, care about the planet and its culture and nature and show people the beauty of the planet and ways to help them protect it.
Example of companies who try to do this are G adventures and Intrepid
A good way of staying authentic is to show experiences of previous customers enjoying your services, and travelers already share a lot of these experiences themselves. I'm hesitant with working with beauty influencers who show their nicest dresses, though this could work in some luxury segment i prefer to keep it as real as possible.
Only create content for your chosen persona's
Sometimes you are feeling not very creative and you don't know what to create, then its better to wait for a day instead of creating content that is not laser focused and helpful for the travelers you defined in your strategy.
To make your brand message work, consistency is a must. You have to be disciplined to stay in line with your strategy, that's why its impossible to work without one. You need to have a strategy to consistently tell your message to your target audience.
Good travel marketing content cost a lot of effort and money, but if you keep your content up to date and recycle what you have made in forms of content, the value of a good piece of content can last years or even longer.
Have you created your content pieces, it time to distribute, where you want the main content to be published on your own assets like your website and newsletters, spinoffs with teasers and parts of the content should be distributed on social media channels to make people aware of the content you have created.
To bring it all together its important you set your strategy, organize what content you need and plan when to create, publish and distribute your travel marketing content.
Turning you content in stories
Once you have created a decent set of content you can go to the next level telling stories. Telling stories works better because with a story its easier to connect to someone on an emotional level which brings people into action.
Setting up a story world with themes
To create story its a good idea you first think about creating an overarching story world. A main theme under which you can add some subthemes and under there you can add storylines which you can create with you different set of content.
For each theme you describe the settings with the landscapes, villages etc, characters, items and from the content you gathered you are going to see what kind of storylines you can uncover.
The above Instagram post fits great under Washington state overarching story world the state of wanderlust. It could further fall under a theme of water, in which you can think of a storyline with waterfalls, that could be connected with hiking, but also with leisure, the role of waterfalls in ancient native American stories, did settlers use waterfalls etc.
If you defined some storylines with characters, settings & items (maybe even in a database) it is much easier to see the connectors in each piece of content.
In the above graph created by Daniel Trabucchi, Stefano Magistretti you see how the settings, items and characters of marvel movies are connected with each other. Each movie building on top of another. If you can build your content pieces just like that, you can unravel your message and story world, content piece, by content piece.
Whereby each content is a small story on its own but always contributing to the bigger storyline, theme and story world in which you have woven your vision, values, USP's top destinations and experiences and your key messages.
In each piece of content you can reveal more details about events, the setting (place), the characters contributing to more understanding and with that more appreciation. It's a nice way to bring your travel niche or destination alive. By for example focusing an in-depth backstory about the origin and meaning of a dance by zooming in on the clothes, history, moves etc, can significantly increase the admiration for the performance making the real experience more enjoyable.
You can do this by posting small pieces of the stories on social media explain in more detail in blogs and link the blogs together based on shared characters, settings, items etc.
Contact Value Through Passion, to help you creation a digital marketing strategy and content plan for your travel company.