By Karen Hewell, Content Team Leader for Buffalo Tours.
If you’re a tour company who communicates with any kind of customer, it’s time you had a blog. This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, either. Most marketing professionals recognize the importance of a blog for SEO, for brand awareness and for customer loyalty. They make your website easier to find, connect a target audience with your product and earn their trust with valuable travel information they need.
But nowadays, travel brand blogs just aren’t what they used to be. While five years ago any kind of blog would put you a cut above the competition, now it’s about quality, too. In this day and age, you don’t just need a blog – you need a good one!
So what makes a travel brand blog a good blog? In my time writing for the Buffalo Tours Travel Blog, I’ve learned a thing or two about the key ingredients of a great travel brand blog. Before you expect to see results from your blogging efforts, make sure you’ve ticked off these top five elements that every great tour brand blog should have.
1. A clear target audience
The whole point of a great blog is to get the right information in front of the right people. But before you can even start talking about the content you want to create, you need to figure out who you’re talking to first. Square one for any great travel brand blog is identifying who that audience is.
The whole point of a great blog is to get the right information in front of the right people.
First, figure out who your key customers are. If you’re making most of your money from travelers, focus your energy on answering the questions that first-time visitors might have. If most of your business comes from within the travel industry, instead highlight the questions industry professionals have on their minds. If you do business with lots of different people, start with who benefits your business the most.
2. User-friendly navigation
A great travel brand blog is all about identifying, researching and sharing the information that’s most useful to a target consumer. But if you want consumers to return to your website again and again, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to find the information they need. The answer? Great site navigation.
For example, let’s say someone finds your blog by Googling the search term “what to eat in Hue” and clicking on the link for your blog titled: “Top 10 Dishes to Eat in Hue, Vietnam”. What information will they need next, and how will they find it?
Here’s where elements like “related posts” and internal links to other related articles come in handy. A navigation bar with clear categories and a search function is yet another way to keep a reader on your site for longer. Make sure readers can see more of your valuable content without having to go back to your blog homepage. The longer they stay on your blog, the more likely they are to become customers!
3. Conversion opportunities
With every piece of content you create, know what you want a customer to do after they’ve read that blog. Do you want them to subscribe to a mailing list? Do you want them to visit your restaurant? Do you want them to share your blog with their friends?
Once you know what your goal is, make sure it’s easy for them to take that action. If you want them to visit your location, include your address and a contact form at the bottom of the blog. If you want to add them to a mailing list, have a submission form on the same page. Don’t be afraid to ask them, either. Buttons and bold text like “sign up” and “visit us” are a great way to draw attention to your call to action!
With every piece of content you create, know what you want a customer to do after they’ve read that blog.
4. Opportunities to engage
One of the best things about company blogs is their ability to showcase who your company is and what makes you unique. But what other online formats like social media tell us is that people online aren’t only consuming content. They want to talk about it, too!
Brand blogs are a great way to keep existing clients engaged with your brand, and invite new customers to get in on the conversation. Elements like social sharing buttons, comment sections and polls give readers an opportunity to interact with the content even if they aren’t ready to buy.
Plus, sharing and commenting options embedded onto a blog also help you understand what kinds of content work best for your audience. And just like conversion opportunities, don’t be afraid to ask – say “share this” or “tell us what you think” to start the conversation!
5. A unique perspective
This is perhaps the hardest thing to have as a travel brand blog, but also the most important. With so many travel brands out there, consumers need to know what makes your brand unique. What makes your product worth trusting? What makes you special? A travel brand blog is a great place to reiterate the unique characteristics of your company again and again – simply because you can update regularly!
When you’re getting ready to publish a new blog, do a quick search for other blogs that talk about the same topic, and find out what’s missing. Then, make sure you draw a connection between that unique perspective and what your company stands for.
If you’re a cooking school writing about pho, perhaps write it from the perspective of your top chef. If you’re an eco-tour company talking about trekking in Sapa, add special travel tips for how to interact with locals responsibly. Find something that showcases what your company does best and make it a part of each and every blog you publish.
Karen Hewell is a native Arizonan, living and working in Hanoi since 2012. She’s worked with brands in multiple industries to create engaging, effective content strategy. She is now the Content Team Leader for Buffalo Tours, and helps craft the brand’s voice and personality via a blog, social media and online PR.
This content is also available in: Vietnamese