October 7, 2016
If you're thinking about going into the travel industry, you’ve got guts. Travel is perhaps one of the toughest industry niches to enter for budding startups. Why? Because it is highly saturated, extremely competitive, and you have to be a unicorn to gain a solid market share. Still, if it's your passion, then you've got to do what you've got to do.
The other thing you must do is develop a content marketing strategy that is second-to-none. Here are some tips that will help bring you that unicorn status:
Focus on Useful and Entertaining Content
Whether a potential customer purchases from you or not, the fact that you provide useful content without a hard sell will breed trust, paving the way for a future purchase. This is probably the first rule of all content marketing. Give your audience something they want, enjoy, or need.
Fortunately, the travel industry has a great opportunity here. Content can provide important information; it can entertain; it can inspire with beautiful photography and videos. There's huge potential for content – far more than a product like a toilet paper. And yet Charmin manages to do it well.
One of your main goals has to be SEO in the travel industry. Given the new algorithms of Google, consistent and unique content on your blog has the potential to gain a large following and a much higher page rank.
Focus on Inbound Marketing
Your startup must focus on posting content about travel for no other reason than it's fun and exciting. This means you don’t interrupt with banner ads or hard sells. It means you have a phenomenal website with great visuals and media.
Your blog needs to be chock full of engaging content about places and travelers. Each of your social media platforms is a place where your audience loves to come to hear what you have come up with next or to read your latest stories about people, places, and events.
Focus on Visuals and Stories
Travel is all about excitement and adventure. People don’t get excited about words. They get excited about seeing places they would love to visit. Travel businesses need to be all over Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with visuals and stories. Their customers should be featured; they must solicit visuals from those customers. As Michael Penny from Wanderlust15 says:
“Travel is all about new experiences. Those experiences can only be portrayed through visual content. The more beautiful and unique we make our visuals of destinations, the more engaged our visitors are. Our trademark is the “15” – the 15 best places to visit in countries on all continents. Each place has an amazing photo – they’re irresistible to our followers.”
In addition to beautiful professional photography, use visuals, videos, and stories from your customers. In the past, travel companies used to publish all kinds of testimonials, many of them totally fabricated. Internet users are too smart for that now. So, any time you can post actual visuals with stories, you gain credibility and trust.
When you get something amazing from a customer, get creative and see how you can develop that into a post or tweet that has the potential to go viral. Perhaps you too can have a travel mascot – a critter who can capture the hearts of your audience.
Get Partners and Share Content
In the travel industry, there are huge opportunities to develop partnerships with other travel niches – airlines, hotels, restaurants, etc. You can share their content and link to their sites and blogs just as they can do for you.
Making it in this industry is all about spreading your brand, and partnerships can play a major role. Get as many reputable partners as you can.
Be Patient and Stay Current
You will not build your brand and your business overnight. Accept this and plan for it. But over time, you can become a trusted company in the travel niche if you are transparent, forthright, and bring wonderful dreams of adventure to your audience.
And as new venues for content marketing present themselves, see how you can incorporate them into your strategies. Augmented reality, for example, is just a natural for the travel industry.
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