There are many reasons your tourism brand should be marketing with content.
But before you get started, there are a few common mistakes new content marketers make.
14 Common Content Marketing Mistakes
Here are 14 common content marketing mistakes by travel brands and how to beat them. Lets begin!
The biggest reason content marketing fails is because it stops.
Sometimes unreasonable expectations can lead to disappointment. Content marketing is a long-game. The real value comes with time, as your set of content becomes a solid resource – and company asset. While you’ll likely see some early benefits, the real payoff can take a year or more.
How to avoid mistake #1: Set realistic expectations for your content marketing. And don’t stop. Your compelling content will produce results.
2. Random Publishing Schedule
While you don’t have to publish every day, it is a mistake to publish three posts one week and then nothing for the rest of the month.
Create a schedule you can maintain – and stick to it. Let your readers know what to expect. A reasonable starting goal is one weekly post, published on the same weekday. An editorial calendar plugin can help you plan out your content for months in advance.
How to avoid mistake #2: Create an editorial calendar that defines both what you will publish and when.
3. Not Sharing Enough
No one expects a destination to be perfect. If you hold back too much information, your readers will question your honesty. Tell them about fog, mosquitoes, and rough seas. They are going to find out about it anyway – tell them up front and they’ll respect you for it. But you can go too far…
How to avoid mistake #3: Let them know what to really expect. Share the good and the not-so-good of your destinations.
4. Sharing Too Much
While transparency is the best policy, be careful not to share unnecessarily negative information. Don’t allow your blog and social channels to become a Debbie Downer. Avoid negative news articles that won’t affect your readers. And be careful with personal opinions on sensitive issues. On a related note, be careful who you allow to access your social media channels.
How to avoid mistake #4: Only share information that will help future guests plan their trip.
5. Overlooking Calls to Action
Don’t overlook the goal of your content: to move prospects along the sales pipeline. Providing a call to action doesn’t necessarily mean having a “Buy Now” button at the bottom of each post. It does means giving access to the next step.
How to avoid mistake #5: Determine what additional information is needed and provide it. It might be an ebook, video or link to a tour sales page.
6. Not Publishing Evergreen Content
Evergreen content remains green (or useful) all year long – and often for many years.
Instead of publishing “9 Don’t-Miss Halifax Events in 2016” (which will expire in a few months) why not write “12 Must-Do Halifax Attractions for Families” (which will remain current for many years).
Keeping your blog evergreen helps you build a base of content that becomes more useful each year. For example, this post about Evergreen Content published back in September 2013 – and it is just as relevant today as it was back then.
How to avoid mistake #6: Before creating content, ask yourself “Will this post/video still be useful one year from now?”
7. Trying to Cover it All
It can be tempting to try to fit everything into one post or video. Not only is this difficult, it isn’t what your readers want.
Generally speaking, travelers are looking for specific information about a destination or a tour. While these can be tied together into a hub-post in the future, your readers are best served by covering just one topic per post.
Learn more about writing granular posts.
How to avoid mistake #7: Break each topic down to it’s simplest form. Cover each topic from a number of different angles – each in separate posts and videos.
8. Poor Post Formatting
Without proper formatting, your content won’t be read or shared properly – regardless of how compelling it is.
Post formatting includes things like title length, images, headers, and inbound/outbound links. Write for the web – or the web won’t read it. This means short paragraphs and clear structure to your content.
How to avoid mistake #8: Learn how to format a blog post. It takes just a few minutes before publishing.
9. Wrong Focus
Remember, your blog is not about your company. It’s about your readers and what they’ll experience.
Readers can tell the difference between content and an advertisement. What’s the difference? Your readers want to consume your content. Advertising? Not so much.
How to avoid mistake #9: Write about flavors and experiences, not your awards and seat capacity. Remember that you want to educate and entertain. When you begin talking about yourself, it’s time to start over.
10. Not Researching Keywords
You are missing a huge opportunity if you don’t research keywords. While search engine optimization is not the primary reason to create content, search traffic is an important factor in your content marketing plan.
The primary reason to research keywords is to determine what phrases your readers are using to learn about your destination(s). Using their search terms is the key to receiving more search traffic.
How to avoid mistake #10: When you begin your travel blog, take the time to create a blog keyword list. As you blog, keep it up-to-date and add to it.
11. Not Creating Mobile-Friendly Content
This is pretty important. Mobile visits account for 49% of all web visits, compared to desktop’s 51%. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you could be losing up to half your traffic.
But this is just the beginning. If the initial visit fails because of a non-responsive site, your visitor may never visit your site on their desktop either.
A lost visitor is a lost opportunity.
How to avoid mistake #11: Just visit Google’s Mobile-friendly test and enter your url. If you get the “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.” message then you’re good to go. If not, consider moving your site to WordPress and using a theme like Thesis. This site runs on WordPress & Thesis and has a 100% responsive, mobile friendly design.
12. Not Building an Email List
There is an idea that you shouldn’t start a newsletter until you have an audience. But how will you build an audience without one? You need to start your email list today.
An email newsletter is a great way to help the 99% of your readers that aren’t ready to purchase yet. An email list creates a sense of community and allows you to communicate directly, and immediately, with your prospects. Then, when they’re ready to purchase, you are the destination expert.
How to avoid mistake #12: Setup an email list today.
13. Not Promoting Enough
While the content is important, it must be promoted. It isn’t enough to publish and hope.
When you first start publishing, you’ll have no indexed content. This means that search engines aren’t aware that you are publishing – and aren’t even looking. Without promotion, it will be almost impossible to put your content in front of readers.
How to avoid mistake #13: Allow sufficient time to promote your new content. And old evergreen content should be promoted on a regular basis.
14. Lack of Planning
Successful content marketing starts with clear objectives. To start, you’ll want to determine just why you are doing this. You’ll want to determine:
- Demographic: Who are you creating content for? The end-user or a re-seller? An individual or a company? Where are they located and what do they already know about your industry? What’s preventing them from doing business with you today?
- Objective: Do you want to increase sales, reduce customer service strain, or build your brand? Or maybe a combination of the three?
- Definable Targets: Choose a measurable target. A target of “generate 5 site inquires per day” is much better than “increase leads”.
How to avoid mistake #14: This is easy. Sit down and set specific objectives. Decide who you are creating for, what they need and what you will accomplish.
So there you have it: 14 common content marketing mistakes – and how to avoid them.
Are you using content marketing in your travel business? At Storyteller Media, we specialize in the creation of custom content marketing plans for travel brands.
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines has been building (and selling) businesses since high school. Since moving to South America in 2009, Bryan and Dena have made their living as content marketers.
Bryan is a partner at Storyteller Media, a Canadian-based digital publishing company.
He blogs at Storyteller Travel and Click Like This.