Search engine ranking is a critical component to the success of a DMO’s marketing efforts, yet it is something we don’t see everyone actively working on. One sure-fire way to improve your search engine ranking is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. So, how do you even do SEO? Faithfully publishing to a blog is one of the best, most cost-effective and sustainable ways to get your content to consistently rank highly in search results.
If the only new content regularly added to your website since it launched is to the events calendar, the probability of showing up in search results is low. When evaluating two identical websites launched at the same time, Google will assign a higher rank to the website with more pages and fresh, relevant content — content that Google can tell interests and engages the reader.
And remember, no one has time or patience to look beyond the first page of results, so that’s where you need be. Test it out for yourself by searching an interest related to what visitors may find in your town and see where on the page your information shows up. Publishing a new blog with relevant content once every week or two is a great way to keep Google happy and ensure that your DMO ranks highly in searches for experiences available in your destination.
Learn more about how search engines work from Search Engine Journal.
Blogs help drive website traffic — partly because blog content is more likely to show up in searches, but also because it gives you something new to promote on a regular basis. When a new blog post is published, share the content on social networks, in newsletters and via a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly email digest. Maximize your traffic potential by including social sharing buttons at the end of each blog post. And, when you publish that blog, go ahead and mark your calendar for 11 months from now to consider re-circulating that blog content. For more ideas on how how to make your content go the extra mile, check out this article.
Branding is all about telling your destination’s story, which can be hard to do when your website only lists the contact information and business hours of attractions, accommodations and restaurants. The best storytelling includes imagery and testimonials from real visitors (and from meeting planners) in an effort to help others get a feel the experiences your destination has to offer. What better way to own your story than by publishing your brand narrative on your blog.
Curating content written from various perspectives can provide added value to potential visitors during the trip-planning process. Some destinations have several blog writers with designated category selections related to their marketing strategy. Others have one writer on staff covering #AllTheThings. Do what works best to enhance your destination’s story. Like social media, blogging is relationship marketing. The tone, style and feel of your writing should connect with your visitors and their interests so they feel connected to your destination. This will pique their curiosity and entice them to visit.
You may be telling yourself “I don’t have time to blog!” My response is that you don’t have time not to! Here are some tools to help you get started and stay on track.
1. Brainstorm ideas and get them down on paper
Brainstorming ideas, especially with others, is the best way to begin this process. Start by making a list of as many ideas relevant to each of your target audiences as possible. Once it’s all down in list form, you can see if there are some common themes to help guide your editorial calendar efforts.
Not sure who your target audiences are? Consider a Marketing Action Planning session to define audiences who will contribute to successfully moving your destination forward.
2. Create an editorial calendar
An ounce of planning is worth a pound of paid social media. 😊 Organic reach through content marketing requires meticulous planning. The most effective way to accomplish and maintain successful blog content over a long period of time requires foresight. Create a blog master list and populate it with content ideas, the target markets they address, when they should be completed, when they should be published, and when they should be promoted. We use Google Sheets to help manage our blogging efforts. It’s a great resource to allow (even remote) members of your team to collaborate on the same document.
3. Phone a friend
Blogging solo can often be a daunting task. Recruit destination partners, brand ambassadors, stakeholders, or colleagues in your office who have a shared interest in market growth to contribute articles. The most successful blogs involve shared authorship as it spreads the workload and generates content from various viewpoints regularly.
Pro Tip: Partner with a local photographer or micro-influencer, and feature their work on your blog. Attribute credit to them when you use their work, giving them added exposure and enriching your content with authentic photos of life in your city. Or, modify your search on Google to include rights-free image selections for your post! And don’t forget, photos are frequently viewed as the results of a search, so make sure you’re using the meta tags with each photo you publish on your site.
You know your destination better than anyone else — so tell your story! Add your own personality (or personalities, if you’re co-writing) and make sure to have fun with it!
When planning your website, content is king. When promoting a destination, content marketing is king. Information that is relevant and valuable to a potential traveler will endear visitors to your destination. It will also help you show up on the first page of search results more frequently. Addressing the needs and interests of your target markets by maintaining a blog that caters to the most popular travel search queries is essential for getting your content in front of the right people.
Have any questions? Get in touch with me.