Content marketing is more than a hot buzzword. It is a highly effective marketing strategy that can boost your company’s profits and decrease your dependence on listing sites.
Although this content does not specifically promote your company, it does help you acquire new leads and gain the trust of potential travelers. This is precisely the type of content that people want to interact with, and it helps them.
This article assumes the following:
- You have a website for your brand.
- You have a general understanding of guest needs/wants in your market.
- You understand that bad content is worse than no content.
OK, let’s get started!
Ideas: Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Although content calendars, keyword research, and personas can be helpful, the effort required to accomplish these “best practices” can discourage people who aren’t marketing professionals. The majority of business owners and property managers simply don’t have the expertise or training required to accomplish these types of things quickly, and becoming discouraged can often drive them to just give up.
Instead of focusing on marketing agency exercises, leverage your expertise. You intimately understand the types of visitors, their questions, insider tips, and more! Use your subject matter expertise to create killer content for your guests and potential guests.
For example, what questions do you regularly receive from guests? The inspiration for our Predictive Fall Leaf Map was not a result of keyword research. Instead, it was inspired by hundreds of guests who had asked us when the leaves would peak in our area.
If you listen to your guests, you will find that they have great questions. What should I do on a rainy day? Where can we buy groceries? Are there any good restaurants for a rehearsal dinner?
Leverage the intersection of guest interactions and your local expertise to create content that perfectly satisfies the needs of your guests. For example, The Ten Best Spots in Destin for a Rehearsal Dinner or 7 Things to Do in Seattle on a Rainy Day are almost guaranteed to perform well because they are based on real questions.
Why waste time ideating? You have direct access to an endless pool of ideas from your guests.
Educate: Help, Don’t Sell
Too often businesses try to force customers into conversations about buying a product. This is an awful content marketing strategy! Forcing spammy, salesy content on a site visitor who is not ready to buy is worse than a used car salesperson in a plaid jacket and a cheap tie.
The buying journey for vacation lodging is very different from most online purchases. This is not an Amazon Prime purchase that someone is going to make on a first-time visit to your site after a few minutes of research. Instead, this product is relational, and your brand must prove that you are worthy. By creating helpful information, your potential guests’ first interactions with your brand are positive ones. You win their trust and have a chance to win business.
Creating content that answers questions is automatically helpful; you are solving a real problem in the moment. A well-written review of a restaurant by a local expert with insider information can be extremely helpful. Your content is an insurance policy against clients wasting a precious night of their vacation on a subpar dining experience. A previous guest asked about this restaurant. As a result, you visited the restaurant, took high-resolution photos, and created a detailed review. You are now helping your guests and enhancing their vacations.
This is where it becomes really fun. Winning customers from the competition can easily start while they are staying in the competition’s property. Let that sink in. If you help your competitor’s guest with excellent content during a stay, they may book with you the next time around.
Tenacity: Rinse, Wash, and Repeat
Recently, I was researching our brand’s past content and discovered that a miniscule 1 percent of our content was driving a whopping 72 percent of our total traffic. The really depressing (or invigorating) stat was that one page drove over 38 percent of our total traffic.
My conclusion from this research is that you must fail and fail often to succeed at content marketing. If less than 1 percent of your content is going to drive 70 percent of your traffic, a logical conclusion is that you need to produce a ton of content to figure out what will work well for your brand.
Once you identify a top-performing content type, duplicate this success! If it was a top-ten list that resonated with pet owners, produce more pet-friendly content.
Why is failure necessary? Although we think we know our audience and what they want to read, our content may underperform as a result of issues with the content itself, delivery, brand authority, or a myriad of other reasons.
Unfortunately, there will be many failures for each success. This is reality. Fortunately, the tenacity and patience that are required to be successful are not common traits. If you possess these traits, you are exponentially more likely to be successful.
Patience: Wait and Wait Some More
If you need results today, content marketing is not the right marketing channel for you. Channels that include near-instant results include PPC, paid social, email marketing, and listing sites. However, if you are willing to be patient, content marketing is a crucial part of building a long-term, sustainable brand.
A recent study by Ahrefs disclosed that a miniscule 5.7 percent of pages will rank for a high-volume term within one year of publishing content. For the lucky 5.7 percent, it typically takes between 61 and 182 days to rank.
Until the page ranks in the search engines, you will have to drive traffic to the content using your email list, social following, or paid channels. This is not going to happen overnight, but the wait will be well worth it!
Knowledge is power. Don’t expect to write a blog post today and immediately see a huge increase in occupied nights. Content marketing is a long-term strategy that may need to be augmented by short-term tactics. Once the results kick in, the value to your brand will be enormous.
Convert: Move People through the Funnel
OK, now that you have attracted people to your content, what do you do with them? Great question! Nurture them. These baby leads must be fostered and grown into conversions. If you ignore them, they will die.
Why not use a tool like AdRoll or Facebook Ads to cookie and retarget every visitor? Once visitors have accessed your page, you can retarget them inexpensively. My recommendation would be to use content to slowly transition them down the buying funnel to an eventual purchase.
It is perfectly acceptable to have an “ethical bribe” that promises to send an e-book with Twenty-Two Secrets About [Destination Name] featured near your helpful content. If your content was truly helpful, chances are this form will convert well.
The method you use to move them through the purchase funnel does not matter, but do not ignore a lead. An ignored lead will become a worthless lead very quickly. Email them about new content, events, and specials (occasionally), and you will eventually win them as paying customers.
If you are looking to amplify your marketing efforts, content marketing is a great option. This advertising method simultaneously helps others and builds your brand. To get started, stay focused on creating content that answers common questions and attempts to help and on fostering your leads.
Nice tips for content marketing. I like the idea of adding strategy and keeping it simple to lead the user through the funnel.
Very informative and helpful article. Content marketing is a key to every vacation rental business provider. Method and techniques illustrated are the keys to effective marketing. Growing business would learn and adopt to these “content marketing”. True, leverage the intersection of guest interactions and your local expertise to create content that perfectly satisfies the needs of your guests. Rentalo.com is a great site that helps vacation rental owners find travelers. You can add your listings for free and then pay a fee when booked – check details at http://rentalo.com.