Five Steps to Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy for Your Travel Agency
Written By : Cris De Souza, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Nexion Travel Group
Part one of our Content Is King Series focused on seven ways content marketing can help grow your travel business, the benefits of content marketing and how content marketing works for you in your travel business.
In part two of our Content is King Series, we shared three of the five essential steps needed to create a content strategy that works. Our final edition of Content is King will wrap up the series with the last two steps to create a content strategy that works. We’ll begin with the fourth step below:
Step #4: Aim to Produce Shareable Content
Look around social media in the travel industry, and you will find one thing in common amongst its users – the desire to share content that is worth it. Content marketing for travel advisors works only when you produce such shareable content.
While there are many reasons for people to share social media content, there are certain triggers that motivate them to do so. Being a travel advisor, you should use the following triggers to increase the chances of getting more shares for your content.
1. Social Validation
There is a strong and undeniable desire inside all of us to seek approval from others, whether we choose to admit it or not. There’s also the need to be accepted among peer groups, which eventually pushes us to take decisions and form opinions. This is the exact need that makes us look for social validation around us.
You can boost the number of shares your content receives by making sure your sharing button displays the number of total shares received. These buttons also need to be clearly visible to anyone consuming your content. A good example of sharable content that responded strong to social validation was the Virgin Voyages launch party in New York City. Travel advisors all wanted everyone to know they were “hanging with Richard Branson” at the recent launch party of his new cruise line.
A study carried out by Ipsos shows that 61 percent of social media users share things that are interesting; 43 percent share things that are funny; and 29 percent tend to share content that they find unique.
Content that brings out strong emotions such as excitement, delight, astonishment and anger is shared more on social media networks. Any content that evokes low or demotivating emotions, like sadness, doesn’t get as many shares.
As a travel advisor, you should try to create content that is reactive in nature. In other words, try to tap into the right emotions of your target audience with the help of your content. Write headlines that are not only attractive but also create a sense of curiosity. An effective way to touch the emotions of your prospective customers is to share stories with your content, so that it becomes more shareable. Travel is also one of the highest forms of content that is shared, as it evokes excitement by default; all you need to do is get creative with the visuals and the headlines! At Nexion Travel Group, our advisors have access to a social media resource center that is full of captivating and exciting content and videos.
3. Practical Use
Many social media users are motivated to share content based on how useful it is. People want to help their network and add something positive to the lives of others, which is why they give importance to the usefulness of the content before sharing it.
This just goes to show that creating helpful content such as a “how to” guide can prove to be a great way to generate more social shares. See to it that the content that you create answers the burning questions posed by your target audience and at the same time teaches complex ideas in an easy to understand manner. This will give your followers a reason to share your content and at the same time help attract search engine traffic.
As a travel advisor, practical examples could be “Five things to do before you leave on your family vacation” or “Three things you need to know before taking your first Caribbean cruise” or “Six secrets to a successful family reunion vacation.” At Nexion Travel Group, our omni-channel business-to-consumer marketing campaign branded Escape focuses on unique travel themes such as family travel and food and wine. The campaign’s digital magazine is full of useful articles that our members can also repurpose as blogs for easy sharing.
Step #5: Track Content Marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
As a travel advisor, content marketing is a game that cannot be played blindly. You must ensure every step you are taking with your content has a purpose and can be measured. This helps brings down the overall risk of putting efforts in the wrong direction.
Regardless of whether your travel agency has been using content marketing extensively, or you are completely new to it, pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work by looking at the numbers. This is the only way you will be able get a better return on your investment. KPIs are important for executing a successful content marketing strategy. To generate the right kind of results, you need to know and evaluate the right metrics on a regular basis.
KPIs may seem a little complicated at first, but once you understand them, you’ll see they’re simple. These metrics are the backbone of any content marketing plan. Identifying and tracking your KPIs will give you more clarity and equip you with knowledge necessary to make your content marketing work.
Let’s look into some of the common KPIs that you should use to measure your content marketing efforts:
KPI 1. Total Visits
The number of people who visited your website and consumed your content is a crucial KPI to keep a tab on. Your objective is to create content that helps you consistently increase the total number of visits your website receives
If your content fails to attract targeted traffic, then the next step it to tweak it to help you achieve your goal. Although the total website visits may be impacted by other external factors, by measuring this KPI, you will specifically know how your content is performing.
As a travel advisor, many of us prefer having a web presence versus a web strategy. This simply means that your agency is searchable, that your travel niche and expertise is clearly defined with your value proposition, and that you’re sharing relevant travel experiences on your site through blogs and video. Making sure your site is set up with Google Analytics is a good first step to measure your total visits.
KPI 2. Bounce Rate
A lot of travel advisors who use content marketing ignore the importance of bounce rate — which is nothing but the percentage of visitors who hit the exit button without exploring other pages on your site. Having a high bounce rate means your content is not performing the way it is supposed to perform.
It is important to understand that there is no optimal percentage of bounce rate, as it is influenced by multiple factors. Your bounce rate may vary, depending on the type of campaign you’re running and the travel specialty you’re operating in. Bounce rate can be tracked over time via Google Analytics.
KPI 3. Conversion Rate
Tracking the conversion rate is important for any business that wants to improve its sales numbers with the help of content. The conversion rate is simply the percentage of users who take action that you want them to take, such as join your newsletter, buy your product, etc. Your aim should be to achieve a conversion rate that matches or is higher than industry standards.
As a travel advisor, be sure to network with other advisors at trade events such as Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld. Be sure to ask them if they monitor their site visits, bounce rates and conversion rates with a newsletter sign up. Ask them how their site is performing; you can see if you’re above or below your peer group at industry events. This will give you a barometer of where you are and where you need to be as a travel advisor.
Executing content marketing as a travel advisor is one thing. Achieving successful, measurable results is something else. To ensure your content marketing efforts pay off, create content that attracts customers and helps you retain them.
Knowing how to execute a content marketing strategy for your travel agency is definitely something that every travel agency should aim for. Keep in mind that even after you plan every step of your content marketing journey, there will be hiccups and roadblocks. Be ready to face obstacles and challenges that you didn’t plan for. That’s why it’s called a content marketing journey, not a content marketing destination.
Sometimes you may have to change the course of your action and move in a direction you didn’t expect, which is completely fine, as long as you’re making progress. This is the only way you will be able to stay ahead of other travel advisors in your travel space and create a strong foundation for your content marketing plan. At Nexion Travel Group, we provide our travel advisors with the latest tools, resources and programs that set them up for content marketing success in their travel business.