This week, The 365 Guide has looked at basic considerations for incorporating a blog into your travel agency’s marketing plan. With so many blogs vying for attention, you will want yours to stand out, to speak with an authority that captures the attention of your readership. As a professional travel consultant, you have a real expertise on a topic of interest to the public. The key to delivering blogging articles that truly engage readers and eliciting comments from them is to generate content that is lively, unexpected and fresh. Making sure that your blog is communicating on both an intellectual and an emotional level will keep your audience returning to your blog for new information.
Deliver original content to your readers and avoid hashing over the same materials that every travel blog covers. “Original” doesn’t mean that the topic has never been discussed, it simply means that you relate the topic directly to your readership in a way that provides them with new insight into the importance of the topic to them. For example, if you discuss how to safeguard a passport when traveling internationally, don’t just lay out “the facts” – infuse the article with a personal anecdote that happened to you or to a client. Use your “voice” to establish a rapport with your readers. Relate to them in an original way.
Find new sources of information by reading continually in your area of expertise. Read other blogs, consumer magazines and trade articles to stay on top of current trends and dynamics in travel. Stay ahead of your readership by aggregating and discussing information that they may not yet have encountered elsewhere. This requires a very active reading commitment on your part, but it is absolutely necessary to providing new, engaging topics to your audience.
Have a “theme” or “perspective” that you use to tie your blog posts together. That theme may be your expertise in your niche market, your love of shopping when you travel or your passion for sustainable tourism. Return to the theme often in your posts so that you string together your articles with a common structure and insight. Likewise, stay consistent in your “voice” so that readers know where you stand on your favorite issues and peeves.
Don’t be afraid to be controversial. On occasion, find a reason to go against the grain of common wisdom when your instincts tell you that a different perspective would lend new insight. If everyone is saying now is a terrible time to travel to Europe, find a contrary perspective and run with it. Intelligently surprise readers with new ideas or ways of thinking.
Keep your blogging articles lively, but short and to the point. Know what you want to say and structure your posts to drive your point home. Don’t meander or digress.
Invite comments and respond to them. If a reader makes a good point, say so and incorporate their perspective into your thinking and articles. Authentically offer praise to your readership’s insight when it is merited.
Don’t hesitate to link out to other authorities. Providing your readership with new sources of information will make your brand memorable each time they refer to the new resource. By providing new reference resources, you demonstrate your own knowledgebase and authority.
As a professional travel consultant, you are an authority on a very popular topic. Use that edge to your advantage and seek to provide your insights in a lively fashion on your blog. Your readership will thank you for it and you stand a good chance of developing a loyal following.
Tomorrow – Best Practices and Implementation