Blogging has exploded, and many DMOs have jumped on the bandwagon, putting out regular content in the hope of attracting new and return visitors. Not all blogs, however, are equal. Below we’ve detailed exactly what you can do to turn your destination’s blog into an engine to increase tourism.
What Are the Benefits of Running a Blog
Before we detail how you can create a powerhouse blog, let’s review the benefits of blogging. Here are the most important:
- A blog drives traffic to your site. Every time you publish a blog post, you create a new way for people to find your site and learn about your destination. This can be through search engine optimization, social media, or both.
- A blog helps convert web traffic into leads and visitors by capturing their information. You can do this through newsletters and special offers such as ebooks (more on this later).
- A blog establishes your DMO as an expert on the travel industry.
With the whys out of the way, let’s turn to what makes a successful blog.
Know Your Audience
The first step in using a blog to bring more visitors to your destination is to understand your target audience. This is vital because different groups will be motivated by different things. A mother with two children might want to find inexpensive or free activities in your area. On the other hand, a pair of young professionals might want to know about the nightlife. Before you start putting out content, pick two or three customers you want to focus on.
Once you have a rough idea of who your audience is going to be, you’ll want to research them. This way as you’re brainstorming potential posts, you’ll have a clear idea of who they are and what they might want to know.
Some things you should find out:
- Marital status
- Family status
You can also include hobbies, desires, and what keeps them up at night. Remember, you want to have a well-rounded profile of who you’re trying to target with your content, and you’ll want to refer back to it regularly to make sure you’re content is aligned with the profile.
Know What Your Audience Wants
Once you’re armed with a detailed profile of who you want to target, start brainstorming the types of blog posts and pieces of content your audience wants to read. There are several ways you can do this, but the key is to remember that your content needs to have some benefit. If your blog posts educate and inspire, prospective visitors will be more likely to remember it and your travel destination. Try to anticipate the questions they might have, both large and small, and answer them in your blog.
One of the most common mistakes travel DMOs make when writing about themselves is being too promotional. The job of your blog is to provide helpful information about your area. If you do decide to write some promotional pieces, do so infrequently, so the primary type of content your audience receives will focus on activities and information that will attract them to your area.
After you’ve pinpointed your audience and brainstormed content, it’s time to get started. We recommend posting one or two blog posts a week on specific days. When you start to receive more web traffic (and blog subscribers), you can play with upping the amount of content you publish. But the key concept is consistency. Pick a day, pick a time, and publish. If you do this, you’re audience will come to expect your content and look for it.
If the goal of your blog is to turn readers into visitors, you need a way to capture their information so you can market to them. Your blog posts are the first step in the process. There are two things you need to make sure you include in your blog:
First, ensure there is a call-to-action somewhere in the copy of the post that leads to a landing page that offers a more robust piece of content. If this content is great, your readers will trade their email address (and other pieces of information) for it.
Second, you will want a way for readers to subscribe to your blog. Put a call-to-action at the bottom and on the side of your posts.
Distribute Your Content
Finally, you’ll need to distribute your content. There are two ways to do this. First, make sure you update your subscribers when you put out a new piece of content. You can also send out a weekly digest or monthly newsletter. Second, post your content to your social media accounts. Remember that if the blog post you create isn’t time sensitive, you can post it multiple times throughout the year.
There are a lot more ways to optimize your blog to increase tourism, but these are the steps to get you started.