When it comes to destination marketing, the focus is so often on advertising: massive poster ads in airports, billboards, quarter-pages in travel magazines, and even social media ads. And advertising is certainly an essential part of any destination marketing strategy. But when it comes to creating a long-lasting digital presence for your destination, blogging is key.
At PRIME, we began a partnership with our local Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) in Bozeman, Montana in 2016. Since then, we’ve seen more than 6 times the amount of both new and returning visitors to the destination’s website. And much of that success is owed to our content strategy. We know this because that same upward trend is also mirrored in the website’s blog viewership.
When it comes to destination marketing, content works. Whether you’re marketing for a city, a regional area, a state or some other form of destination, the same is true. So if you’re working for a destination marketing organization (DMO) or a CVB, having a blog content strategy should be at the forefront of your efforts
In this blog, we’ll walk about why blogging is key to destination marketing and offer some tips on how to get started.
How does blog content work to draw visitors’ attention to your destination? Let’s dig in.
Blogs Boost Your SEO
Think about the first thing you do when you’re looking into a place to visit. You take to Google to find out what there is to do in that place, where you might want to stay and how much things will cost. Whatever you find then becomes a valuable part of the decision-making process for planning your visit. This is how blogging boosts your website’s SEO.
By creating the type of related content that your audience is looking for on the internet, you’ll draw traffic to your website and direct them to more travel resources they’re interested in. Ranking at the top of search engines is all about being the best resource on a specific topic. As a DMO or CVB, you’re the expert on your destination, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Plus, the more content you have on your website related to your destination, the more Google will associate your website with queries about your destination, meaning more traffic for you.
Influences Destination Perception
Whether you’re working with a well-known destination or a small town with tons of potential, content has the ability to shape the way people interact with your destination. It puts your destination’s reputation in your hands, and gives you a platform to educate people about attractive aspects of your destination.
Particularly when you’re marketing to a national or international audience, consider the common perception of your destination and how you can play on that or contradict it.
Nebraska Tourism’s 2018 campaign is a great example of using content to shape perception. With sarcastic slogans like, “There’s nothing to do here,” and “Another day on the dusty plains,” matched with photography of beautiful landscapes and fun, quirky activities, the brand took its misconceptions and turned them on their heads. And the website’s blog content supports the campaign expertly, with guides and itineraries for experiences most people didn’t know existed in Nebraska. Through content, the destination has the opportunity to tell its own story.
Provides Lasting Travel Inspiration and Resources
Blogs act as travel resources and trip inspiration, and they’re relatively evergreen. They’ll be helpful to your audience for years to come (with a few quick updates here and there), giving them more bang for your buck when compared to advertisements and social media posts. Blogs like itineraries, lists of top restaurants and activities, and local stories provide travel resources that readers can bookmark to come back to, share with their friends and get excited about.
Tips for your destination marketing blog
Understand what your audience is looking for.
Conduct keyword research and use tools like Google Trends to understand what people are searching for in regards to your destination. Use your blogs to answer their questions and highlight the unique attributes your place has to offer.
Create a regular content calendar.
Consistency is key when it comes to blogging. Whether you can only write one blog a month or two per week, set a consistent schedule for yourself so that you can begin to build a gold mine of great content.
Utilize local bloggers.
Contract with writers who live locally and know the ins-and-outs and hidden gems in the area. Their inside knowledge will bring authenticity to your content.
Optimize your blogs for search engines.
Put your blogs in the best possible position to be found on the internet. This means integrating targeted keywords into your title, body, URL, meta description and alt text. Need more detail? Check out our Guide to SEO for Blogs.
Promote blogs through social media.
This will create opportunity for your content to be seen and shared, and offers some pre-written content, lightening the creative load for your social media person.
Update old blogs as needed.
As time goes on, don’t neglect previously written blogs. The most popular ones are probably still seeing significant amounts of traffic, and you’ll want to keep them up-to-date so that they don’t end up sabotaging your website’s SEO. Make sure businesses mentioned in them are still open, and events you referenced aren’t in the past. Then, republish them with current dates so that readers know they’re relevant.
Blogging may seem like a big undertaking, but with clear goals in mind and a regular schedule, it quickly becomes another integral part of your strategy. Lacking the time, staff or expertise to start a blog for your DMO or CVB? We have you covered at PRIME. Reach out to us today to talk about what a partnership could look like.
If you enjoyed this edition of PRIME Pulse, take a look at some of our other related articles:
- 4 Steps Toward a Better Content Marketing Strategy
- 5 Reasons Your Website is Never Really Done
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- 4 Reasons Your Messaging is Falling Flat
- The How-To on Facebook Marketing Campaigns