Content Marketing

Richard Earls, Travel Research Online
Every few years or so the phrase “Content is King” enjoys new popularity. What most surprises me is that content ever loses its royal positioning in marketing. Why does it come as a surprise when we re-discover the importance of well-written, engaging content? That aside, what role does content play in your own efforts to market your travel practice?

Certainly the publishing world, both online and in print, has long depended on topical content as a vehicle for attracting the attention of consumers. The difference now, of course, is that more of us are publishers to some degree. Every travel consultant with a Facebook profile or page, a Twitter account, a website or a blog now finds herself in a position of having to compose and curate articles, videos, photos and other content for marketing.

The challenge can be a bit daunting. Not every travel consultant feels confident in their ability to write good original content, regardless of expertise in a given destination or activity. Nearly as challenging is the time and effort necessary to locate 3rd party content that is relevant, well-written and travel professional friendly.

Content is indeed king. Solidly written content is the key ingredient of public relations, all forms of social media marketing and even search engine optimization. Good content will boost the public’s awareness of your brand and establish you as an expert, increasing your reputation and traffic to both website and front door. Yet, too often the strategy that should support these efforts takes a back seat to a flurry of tactics that end up generating content of questionable value.

The equation is simple. Good content, well-chosen and placed will represent your company in a positive manner. Hastily gathered and communicated, however, poor content will represent you poorly.

No surprises there.

Take a look at your last few efforts at content marketing. Your last 10 Facebook post updates or the last 10 entries on your blog. Was the content you either wrote or gathered consistent with the image you want to project to the public? Was each post part of a plan or was it instead simply shot out of the cannon in hopes that someone, somewhere, would read it and call you at a later date about their travel needs?

The ease with which we can publish content can lull us into failing to properly plan and execute. You can without doubt increase your brand’s profile with good content. You can also damage it by failing to establish goals and objective criteria for your editorial.

Don’t start with the content. Start with a plan. Begin with your mission statement, with a client-centric understanding of how you want your travel practice to look to others. Now, establish a group of sites and resources on which you can reliably depend for good content. Each day, TRO’s Travelgram gathers together a dozen or so articles you can use in your own efforts to engage clients. Use it for that purpose! Then, lay out a plan for your own publication schedules. Endeavor not just to push out a stream of one-sided communications, but rather to engage your readers, to entertain, amuse and empower them.

Finally, as always, choose content that inspires travel. Inspiring your clients is the secret to forming community and raising your brand to the top of their minds each time they think of travel.

Richard Earls is the Publisher of Travel Research Online, an online travel industry resource dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of travel agents.

(will not be published)