The ongoing debate in content marketing discussing quality versus quantity isn’t subsiding any time soon, as it shouldn’t. It is important to understand both angles of this debate and look at past campaigns to analyze the pros and cons of each side and how they relate to your company’s needs. To let you in on the secret: both are important, and depending on your company’s size you should be utilizing both in your content marketing strategy.
Over the past few years, we have seen a huge increase in need for unique and original content, specifically within the travel industry. With the amount of resources travelers now have at their fingertips, you want to make sure you have content they are looking for (which inevitably leads to booking sales). Let’s walk through how to successfully scale your content campaign, specifically in the travel space, to make sure you don’t miss a beat (or a lead) on your content marketing needs.
The Essential Kickoff Roadmap
Image via Flickr by Gary Bembridge
Every company’s needs are different in terms of size and budget. Those two factors heavily determine the strategy that will need to be laid down before you can begin to scale any content marketing efforts. Here is a brief roadmap of kickoff essentials that need to be covered when attacking a large content campaign.
- Stop 1: Page Layout
The outline of the landing page where the content will live needs to be designed and approved before you begin your prep work for your copywriting campaign. The content needs to fit the style and flow of the landing page and be able to fall naturally on the designed layout. Once the layout is solid, you can move into creating the structure of the content to fit that layout. The layout will be incorporated in the writer’s style guide for consistency – we will discuss style guides a little later.
- Stop 2: Prioritization
You will most likely be increasing production over an ongoing period of time, so it is imperative you tackle the higher authority or higher tiered destinations first. This prioritization will help you begin to see traffic to those completed pages while you are still in the midst of heavy content creation on other lower tiered locations or pages. Take time to analyze the city and property data to make sure you are starting with the location with the highest needs.
- Stop 3: Takeoff
There are a lot of important steps at the beginning of scaling a large project like this. Skipping over steps or not allotting enough time to nail down styles and formats will jeopardize the quality of the entire campaign. I’m dedicating an entire point of your roadmap on takeoff to ensure that you remember to launch the campaign slow and steady, and then full speed. This will allot for any bumps in the road to be smoothed out before you really scale up.
Just to note, do not get concerned if it takes a while to get the wheels turning. As a matter of fact, you should be concerned if you feel as if everything is moving rapidly. Just because you are scaling in quantity, doesn’t mean you should ignore the small initial steps to ensure quality. It will be worth it in the long run, trust me!
Concrete Style Guide
Image via CopyPress
Like any other content project, an inclusive style guide is probably the most important aspect to ensure you have a uniform, large-scale content project. There will be multiple writers creating content, and you want that content to have consistency and flow as if the same person wrote all of it. Aside from the usual tone and format directions, there are a few more important things to cover in a style guide created specifically for the travel space.
- Create a separate style guide for each type of landing page being created, even if it is minor differences. You want to make sure you make everything as clear as possible for the writers.
- Module format is key. Content is easily read if it is set up in a few brief paragraphs explaining things you need to know about the hotel, location, etc. If the content gets too lengthy, you may lose the interest of the traveler, who will jump to a different travel website for quicker info.
“The average traveler visits 22 travel-related websites during the research and planning phase.” –GFK Global
- Header template/options. We have found that the consistency is kept best if you provide writers with a list of options within the style guide. This way they can’t to go too far out of the box, and you’ll be able to provide the readers with the most relevant information.
- Stress positivity. Let’s be honest, not every hotel out there is the nicest. They all have their flaws. For the purpose of travel content, it is important for the writers to be honest but stay positive.
- Vary the targeted personas. Not every traveler is identical in terms of budget, desires, bucket lists, etc. Make sure you are reaching out to each style of traveler within the content. It is fine to discuss luxury properties and amenities, but make sure you also include budget-friendly options.
It can be a daunting and unappealing task for a writer to have to conduct research for a large amount of destinations before jumping into the writing. It is best to take this step off their plates for consistency as well as the obvious time it takes.
For consistency, it is best to unify where the information is coming from. For example, if you have a list of 200 hotels that you need to write content for, provide three resource links for the writer as follows:
- Expedia link
- Link to the hotel, landmark, etc.
- Other informational source, such as Trip Advisor, Kayak, etc.
The sources will be reputable and accurate, will most likely contain similar information, and you will be able to keep consistency within all pieces of content without having the writer tackle the task of finding a mass of resources. It may take a few internal resources to get this done, but will be helpful (and appreciated by the writers) in the long run.
Factor in Optimization
Image via Flickr by GotCredit
By creating different levels of landing pages, you will have the perfect opportunity to optimize your internal linking strategy. At scale, this is as easy as including a sentence in the style guide to incorporate X number of links to internal pages relating to the landing page. For example, if the writer is creating a landing page discussing things to do in Dallas, Texas, within that page they can link to a few hotels or landmarks around the area.
You also want to encourage user-generated content within the post. The call to action should be asking other travelers to share their experiences in that city or at a certain hotel. According to Chase Card Services and Nielsen, 95 percent of travelers read travel reviews prior to booking and the second most trusted form of advertising is consumer opinions posted online.
Don’t Stop at Page-Level Creation
After you have your roadmap and style guides complete, initial content in production, and strategy in full swing, don’t stop there. Now is the time to push traffic toward that content creation through other sources of inbound traffic. The perfect place to start is with your blog content.
Every travel site has its own blog, which is imperative to utilize. For example, create listicle articles that can tie in a number of new content pages. An example topic would be “5 Must See Stops On a Road Trip Through Florida” – here you can link to city pages, hotel pages, and even landmark pages all throughout the state of Florida. You can spark reader engagement by pushing these out through your social channels and asking for travelers’ expertise and opinions as well.
Not every content campaign in the travel space is going to be identical (or simple). There are going to be challenges and setbacks as any initial campaign does, but hopefully you gain insight through the learning curves we tackled throughout our experience in this space. One last important note comes from a presentation given by Caitlin Domke at the Luxury Travel Advisor’s Ultra Summit, which said:
The quality of your output is only as good as what you put into it, so be patient and follow the needed steps that need to be done to succeed!