Do I really need a blog? | TravelResearchOnline

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Do I really need a blog?

Yes! All the cool kids are doing it and they must know something you don’t. That would be an easy answer, and it would be correct; but that’s not much help to you. You need some solid reasons? Read on!

First off, I want to make sure we are on the same page. “Blog” can be a weird term. Some say that any website on Word Press or Wix or Square Space is a blog. Not really—they all use software that may operate as a blog (which stands for weB LOG by the way) but they can be so much more. We are talking about a separate section of your site that will generate quality web traffic, engage your customers, and likely set you apart from the competition if you do it right!

Many agency owners wonder if a blog is a necessity. It is. And because you already have a website, creating a blog takes nothing more than a bit of extra time. And in this industry, we call that the 4th quarter of any year! So why?

A blog will drive traffic and generate inquiries and leads

How many times have you relied on information found on page 2 or 3 of Google? Not too often, right? When you have a travel site—how are you going to differentiate yourself from the rest?

Your site is your home on the Internet, but to remain competitive in today’s digital space you need more.

How? Consistent quality content on your blog. Google (and others, but let me use Google to mean all search engines) scans the Internet looking for quality content in a manageable size that answers a user’s question. Quality content is original, well-planned, relatively consumable, and answers a question. What questions do clients have about your services? Make sure you are using those phrases (key words) in the blog post. “Hey I want to go to the most romantic hotel in Jamaica” might be a request from a client. Make sure you are using “romantic hotel and Jamaica” in your posting. Be consistent and your prospects and Google will be impressed. And, it should go without saying, but make sure you have an author bio at the bottom of the post with your agency name and contact links. Links back to your main site are also acceptable

A blog will humanize your agency

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you ARE human; but your website is not! You have a voice—it may be corporate and buttoned up, it may be Hawaiian shirt Friday. You may have a sense of humor, or not. Remember, you are not able to be everything to everyone, so let your voice come out and humanize your agency in your blog posts. Remember, most of these prospects have never been to your agency and never met you—yet!

I will reiterate to keep an eye on the trends in travel. What’s hot? What’s not? What’s in the news? What’s yesterday’s news? Listen to your clients for clues and that will be your guide for topics. Today, I’d be creating a blog posts about Hurricane Dorian and alternatives to the Bahamas AND alternatives IN the Bahamas. Most people hear “Bahamas” and think “small island that got wiped out.” Which could not be further from the truth. Freeport has issues. Nassau and Eleuthera, not so much. 500 miles and more than 700 islands make up the Bahamas!

A blog will boost your exposure

With time and consistency, like cream, you will rise to the top. Eventually, Google and the people reading will realize that you are the “go to” source for the topics you have written about. In years past, agencies needed a PR firm to handle that. All you need is time. When you see a travel agent on a news program, guess how they got there? I bet a good number were discovered by their blog!

How to start a blog

Like Nike—just do it. You may need a tech guy to set it up on your website, but just do it. Most are no more complicated than MS Word.

It will take time. There are no pills to lose weight (I’ve tried) and no pills to make your blog rank with a post or two. Commit yourself to a schedule—2 posts per week? One per week? You make that decision based on your available time, but please be honest with yourself. A monthly blog can be more effective than one that has a thousand entries spaced out over a decade or two.

Find out the areas where you want to be the expert. Make sure you know them and keep an eye on potential topics—Google alerts are a great source of information.

Before launching (either new or as a re-launch) get a bunch stockpiled so you are not under a deadline. Blog posts can be scheduled out in advance. Take the 4th quarter of this year and write a dozen evergreen pieces (evergreen is content that is not tied to a specific date—topics… hurricane season, wave season, top destinations, activities in specific destinations, safety, traveling with kids, group travel information, etc). Get a dozen ready to go for 2020 and then commit to writing one more post every month to give you the volume you need.

Make that a resolution for 2020 and check your analytics in April 2020 and I bet you will see a big boost!

Thoughts? Leave a comment!

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