Your blog is a super valuable marketing channel, and it can draw a huge amount of “free” online visibility.
We say “free” because nothing’s really free. And to make your travel brand’s blog truly great, you’ve got to put the time and the effort in. But the results can be far more valuable than a big, flashy ad campaign – and they can last far longer, too.
Blogging gives you so much; you get website traffic, improved search engine rankings and an opportunity to promote your services – and we’ll cover these benefits in detail below. But in order for you to get these benefits from your blog, it has to give the audience something.
Your blog ultimately exists to build trust with your potential customers, to inform them – and to make them want to choose your brand. In this post, we’ll show you how to turn your travel company’s blog into a marketing powerhouse.
What does your blog do for your travel brand?
First, let’s look at why you need to think about blogging as more than a box-ticking exercise. These are the major benefits that blog curation can bring, in both the long and short-term.
1. It helps drive traffic to your website
Google likes websites that are regularly updated with fresh content – but for a lot of travel brands, services and products don’t really change. Blogging lets you keep content fresh, and to extend your reach deep into the search engine eco-sphere.
Rather than relying on your audience to find you by name, your blog posts allow you to be found through a multitude of topics. Every new blog is a new page indexed by Google, and a new avenue for customers to find you through.
It’s important that your content is relevant to your audience. That’s why we help travel brands with content audits, to ensure the blog posts and content they have on their website is relevant to the audiences they want to attract. More often than not, we tell our clients to take a lot of content off their website – because it’s not aligned with their brand, their services, or with the clientele they want to serve. As with most things in life fewer things but better quality is what travel brands should aim for.
Learn more ––An Introduction to Content Audits for Travel Brands
2. You can reuse it on social media
Blog content helps keep your social media presence active and interesting. It gives you something new to share, and can be refined for each platform; repurposed, remixed, or rewritten in the target audiences’ style.
3. It helps with link building and PR – which in turn helps you get found on Google
Inbound links, sometimes called backlinks or just links, are among the biggest factors the Google algorithm considers when ranking a website in search results. Many experts now believe that backlinks from good quality PR and Digital PR are the most crucial factor in SEO (alongside a technically optimised website and good content).
When you create content that is not only valuable to your potential customers, but also to other websites (including online editions of newspapers and magazines that your audience sees as industry leaders), it’s easier to gain relevant links.
Links from authoritative websites (whether that is the Times or Conde Nast Traveller) serve as a vote of confidence – or a recommendation. And it signals to Google that you’re trustworthy, and an expert in your industry. Find out more about this process, with a more detailed description of why this matters, in our blog post about Digital PR FAQs.
How to create a REALLY great blog
Maybe you don’t currently have a blog, or you do have one but don’t update it regularly – or perhaps your blog posts aren’t turning into leads. Either way, we’ll detail here how you can write blog posts that work for you, for Google, and for your audience.
Rule #1: Know your audience
This is so important – you need to know your audience. Only once you’ve understood your audience can you write blog content for them.
What do they like? What keeps them awake at night? What do they want to read more of? And where do they access their content?
Instead of guessing what your audience needs or wants, try to make data-driven decisions by doing the research.
You can’t be all things to all people, so hone in on your niche. If you’re in the adventure travel sector, focus on what makes your adventures unique. If foodie experiences are your thing, give the audience a taste of what makes your experiences unforgettable.
Be the expert in what you offer; not what your competitors offer. And please no sales messages or special offers on blogs. Blogs should be informative, educational and inspirational.
Rule #2: Write compelling headlines
We’re all human, and we judge books by their covers. We approach our internet searches the same way. If you want your travel brand to stand out, your blog post headlines need to GRAB ATTENTION.
The days of writing for Google are gone. Google now prioritises content written for humans first, meaning trying to play the SEO game with your headlines can sometimes be pointless.
However – there are a few rules that are still good to follow:
- Be accurate. Describe your content factually and correctly – people (and algorithms!) don’t like to be misled.
- Use words and phrases that resonate with your audience. This is where you need to really know your audience. What words work with them? Are they sustainability minded, or an eco activist – these similar terms have two very different connotations.
- Ask questions. Don’t give away all your secrets in the headline; leave your audience wanting more.
- Use numbers. Numbers in headlines help qualify your content, and also help you stand out in Google’s search results. Try things like; “8 top tips” or “14 essential blog topics your audience wants you to write”.
- Length. Make sure Google won’t truncate your heading, leaving it unreadable. The perfect length is around 60 characters.
- Check your headline is SEO-ready. We recommend using SEO Pressor.
Rule #3: Make your page readable
Formatting is super important for blog posts. There’s nothing worse than being confronted with a great big wall of text. Break it up into bite-sized paragraphs, add bullet lists, use headings (with the proper tag), add images – whatever you do, keep things friendly on the eyes.
Make sure you prioritise accessibility. Your images need alt tags so they can be read by screen readers. Check your text size, and ensure you’re using web safe colours for readability.
It’s good practice and it’s inclusive – but it also gives you some extra SEO brownie points from Google.
Most of the time, people skim through the content before they actually decide to read it, so we always recommend breaking up your article with subheadings.
Remember, not all content formats are created equal. In books, big blocks of text are fine.
But blog posts are different. They’re designed to give highly focused, quality information in a short amount of time. Our audience isn’t sitting down to read War and Peace.
You can achieve an easy to read blog post by:
- Adding subheadings
- Breaking up text with images or infographics
- Using clear English
- Adding numbered content where appropriate
Why do you think we’ve got gifs and humour in our blog posts? Because we know they’re long. So, to make sure we keep our readers informed (but also entertained and visually engaged) we insert gifs. It breaks up long pieces of copy, and adds some movement to re-engage the reader.
And for improved SEO results, make sure you include your keywords in your headings – or anywhere where your audience will glance first!
Rule #4: A clear call to action
The goal of your blog is to get your audience onto your website. Now they’re here, you don’t want to lose them – or for them to bounce back to Google. So how can you convince them to continue their journey?
Adding a clear call to action (CTA) helps show your reader where they should go next. If they’re reading a blog about the best time to book a safari to South Africa, end with a CTA for the South African itinerary page.
Or if you’ve written about the best hiking routes in the UK, end with a CTA to discover their dream UK hiking routes. CTAs can lead to more content, or can act as an invitation to convert. Do what’s appropriate in the context.
And a CTA doesn’t just have to be a link; it can be a poll, a contact form, a subscribe button – anything to keep them learning about you as a brand and to start building trust.
Rule #5: Consistency
The more often you blog, the better chances you have to rank in Google – but this needs to be balanced with quality. Balancing the relationship between frequency and quality can be tricky. We always advocate quality over quantity.
Consistency also gives Google a sense of predictability about your website. It will learn when to recrawl for new content to index, and if your website is predictable and less resource-intensive as a result – well, Google’s going to like it a bit more.
We recommend starting with a content calendar. This will help focus your efforts and plan accordingly. Once you’ve undertaken your content audit, and looked into your audience, you’ll have a strong sense of what content works, and what you need to create more of. A content calendar will help guide your next phase of posts and bring them into being.
And it doesn’t have to be expensive – use these free tools to help you get started.
Rule #6: Meta descriptions
A meta description is a tiny bit of code that helps describe your page. This snippet of text can appear in search engine results under your headline – though sometimes, search engines will choose to pull a snippet of text from the main body copy of the page instead.
Meta descriptions are important because they let Google know what your webpage will be about. If Google can read and comprehend the content of your meta description, they will have an easier chance of ranking your page to answer search queries. But more importantly, they let people get some more context to go with the headline, and invite them in to read.
With that in mind, think of your meta descriptions as organic ad text.
A compelling meta description will raise your click through rate, and ensure more people land on your website. They have to be unique, memorable, and snappy; no duplicates!
Our top tips:
- Use your researched keywords in your meta descriptions
- Make sure they’re hyper relevant to the content on your page
- Communicate benefits and urgency
- Show value and appeal to your audience
- All in under 275 characters.
Rule #7: Promote it!
You should always include your PR team in ideas for blog generation. Imagine creating shed loads of content, but then leaving the PR team to pitch something else, and the SEO team trying to rank for different topics altogether.
Get everyone out of their silos, and work together.
This way, your PR team can build a PR plan round your blog. If you’ve made your blog newsworthy enough, then your PR team should pitch the topics of the blog in order to create links, and your SEO team can measure how effective the work is – and how to make it even better going forward.
That’s the way we like to work. We conduct detailed content audits, then identify gaps. We fill those gaps, pitch the content into newspapers and magazines, and get you PR coverage and deep links – which in turn helps SEO and findability.
A Travel PR Agency that “Gets” SEO
Want to work with a PR agency that really understands SEO and content? Talk to Lemongrass. We work in a holistic way – in close cooperation with your SEO and Content teams, to get results you can measure.
If that’s the kind of PR agency you want on your side, then get in touch.