When did you last see a photo on Instagram of a beautiful beach? Or an article about a little-known off-the-beaten-path destination? Probably very recently. Travel content is everywhere.
In a world where most travellers conduct extensive research online before booking a trip, content plays a pivotal role in how travel companies engage with customers and encourage them to convert.
As a form of content marketing, travel blogs can increase your visibility and authority as well as drive traffic to your site. But in an online space crammed with travel content, creating a travel blog post that actually gets read is tricky.
Overloaded with content, readers are becoming more discerning about who they choose to give their time to, and smaller travel companies have a tough time standing out next to industry giants.
So, whether you’re a boutique hotel or a B2B travel service provider, how do you write a travel blog post that captures people’s attention? That’s worthy of shares? That generates traffic and leads? That expresses your company’s personality and builds brand awareness?
Fierce competition makes writing a successful travel blog post difficult—but not impossible. The key is to balance the aspirational and the informative, to speak directly to your target audience, and to answer their specific questions or pain points.
Travel is inherently exciting for people. People want to hear about holiday planning and destinations. All you need to ensure is that they hear about it from you.
15 Tips for a Winning Travel Blog Post
Do Your Research
Deciding what to write about depends on what your potential customers are actually looking for when it comes to travel content. This means understanding your customer on a deep level.
Create an ideal customer persona. Think about age, gender, socio-economic status, life experience, goals, dreams, problems, and so on. This will help you to imagine what kind of questions your reader might need answering—and what kind of travel content they might want to see.
Is a stressed-out mum of four going to be interested in a personal tale of an intrepid jungle trip? Is a high-flying entrepreneur going to be interested in a guide to budget-friendly all-inclusive holiday resorts?
Check out your competitors. What are they writing about? How much are people engaging with their content?
Then ask your support team what questions customers regularly ask. Could you write a comprehensive answer to these pain points? A tool like AnswerThePublic will also help you come up with questions that potential readers are asking about your chosen niche.
Next, brainstorm keywords associated with your particular subject. Use Google Ad Keyword Planner or Wordtracker to see how competitive these keywords are. Look for keywords with good search volume but low competition. Consider targeting long-tail keywords that are more specific and easier to rank for. For example, target luxury travel in northern France rather than just travel France.
You’ll want to try and include keywords in your content as much as possible but especially in the introduction, title, URL, meta description, and image alt and title tags. You can use a plug-in like Yoast SEO for WordPress to see how optimised your page is for SEO. Remember to avoid keyword stuffing, however. It should sound like it was written by a human, not a robot
Providing a concise but comprehensive answer to a specific user question may mean that you appear as the Google featured snippet—that short piece of text at the top of informational searches. Including an FAQ at the end of your article is another good way to do this.
Choose Your Subject
Choosing a subject for your travel blog post depends on your objective. Travel writing typically has one of three goals: to inspire, entertain, or educate.
Inspirational travel blog posts may be reviews, itineraries, or listicles such as The Top 15 Castles in Bavaria or even a list of fun facts about a certain place. This kind of content targets readers at the ‘dream and discover’ phase of trip planning and aims to spread brand awareness and broaden reach.
Entertaining content usually takes the form of a story. If it’s a personal story, written from a first-person perspective, even better. Such tales are powerful ways to evoke an emotional response in readers and keep them engaged, inspiring an empathetic reaction that holds their attention.
Travel stories should always have a point, however, teaching your reader something specific. To keep it entertaining, include dialogue, show rather than tell your reader about a place, and describe it with specific details rather than just saying it was old or beautiful.
And you don’t need to tell the story chronologically. Sometimes starting with the ending can be more dramatic.
Educational content includes guides, checklists, travel hacks, FAQ pages, or ‘pros and cons’ articles. Or, if you’re a B2B company, it might include industry insights, news and events, or even interviews.
Informative content like this solves a particular problem or answers a specific question. It’s targeted at readers who are perhaps slightly further down the funnel, having already decided where they want to go, and who are now at the planning stage.
If you choose to write a destination guide–especially for a popular destination—you’ll need to make it very specific in order to stand out. Think about what unique angle you could take. For example, you might write an article about what not to do in a certain city.
Other travel blog ideas include write-ups of research you’ve carried out—perhaps a survey or poll of your customers and their behaviour. You might even create a quiz that helps people to choose their next destination. Local recipes are a good option too.
Make It Timely but Not Too Timely
Publishing a blog post that coincides with a particular event, season, or festival is a good idea as you know search volume for these terms will increase. For example, you might plan a blog post for Halloween or schedule a post covering one of Spain’s many fiestas.
However, in the travel industry, timely blog posts can be more complicated. People often plan their trips long before they go on them. In this case, you may want to start posting about spring holidays in winter and Christmas trips in autumn.
Incorporate Travel Buzzwords but Avoid Clichés
There are certain words that make people sit up in their seats when it comes to travel—but this all depends on who they are. For example, parents will be looking for terms like kid-friendly while students will be interested in anything described as a bargain, steal, or budget-friendly.
Other popular travel buzzwords in the last few years include sustainable or eco-friendly. And in the era of COVID-19, flexibility is a major travel buzzword.
At the same time, you want to avoid clichés in your post. Words like stunning or breathtaking are hallmarks of poorly written travel content. Similarly, how many times have you read about bustling markets or a turquoise ocean?
To keep people from glazing over when reading your content, keep it fresh and original. Think of unusual adjectives—or simply stick to the facts.
Develop Your Brand Tone of Voice
Your brand voice is essentially your brand personality. It’s what makes you unique—a reflection of your values. Your brand voice should be consistent across all your platforms and all your content. This will help readers to recognise and relate to you.
A blog post is a great opportunity to express your brand voice and articulate your identity as a company. Certain words won’t feel appropriate. For example, using highly technical or flowery language in a blog post by a company that defines itself as youthful and fun will sound jarring.
Check out our guide to brand tone of voice for more information on this essential element of content marketing.
Nail the Title
The number one rule of journalism—and of all writing, really—is to create a headline that catches people’s attention. A headline should reliably reflect the content of the article and stand out from other articles on the same subject, defining what makes your particular post valuable.
Here are a few tips for choosing titles:
- Listicles are always popular. Opt for an odd rather than even number of tips/reasons/secrets/ideas as these tend to perform better.
- Incorporate power words such as surprising, exclusive, or fail-proof.
- Refer to the reader i.e. You’re going to love these 11 Parisian spas.
- Ask a question i.e. Ever wondered what life in a tiny Costa Rican village is like?
- Split test different headlines to see which performs best.
Write a Killer Intro
An introduction can make or break a blog article. It provides the first impression for the reader, letting them know what they’re in for. In fact, 10% of readers never scroll below the introduction.
To ensure you get your reader engaged at this crucial stage, try these tips:
- The first sentence should be short, snappy, and high impact.
- Experiment with anecdotes to pull readers in.
- Say something different to the title.
- Use the word “you” to directly address the reader. Maybe even ask them a question.
- Explain what you’re going to cover and why that matters. But don’t oversell the article.
Don’t Forget About Headings
Headings provide structure for your article, breaking it up into separate chunks, establishing a flow, and allowing readers to scan your post for the information that’s most relevant to them.
Your SEO ranking can also be affected by headings if you include keywords. Doing so lets search engines know exactly what your blog is about.
Think About Visuals
A high-performing blog post isn’t just about impressive writing. The visual aspect of a blog post is just as important. A post that looks distinct will stand out in the sea of other travel content.
To create a visually appealing blog post:
- Incorporate striking and high-quality images. Avoid stock photos in favour of your own. All photos should be in a similar style, which might require filters or other editing.
- Consider an infographic to help readers visualise data. They’re also very shareable.
- Use an attractive font that isn’t too eccentric but that conveys your brand’s personality.
- Pay attention to the white space on the page. Break writing up into shorter paragraphs and use bullet points. This is gentler on the eyes.
Proofread and Fact Check
Proofreading and fact-checking are boring but essential to building trust with readers and retaining your audience. Making mistakes is embarrassing for your brand and may have serious repercussions.
Proofread and edit your blog post at least a couple of times before publishing—and get someone else to read it too. Proofreading and editing involve cutting down, ensuring consistency, and checking formatting, punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Online tools like Grammarly can be helpful but aren’t as reliable as a human proofreader. Consider outsourcing this task if necessary.
Keep It Relevant
These days, longer is usually better when it comes to blog posts. According to HubSpot data, the ideal blog post length in 2021 is between 2,100 and 2,400 words.
That said, you don’t want 2,400 words of meaningless chit-chat. Your blog post should be concise and to the point. At every stage, ask yourself, is this information useful? Am I providing value for the reader?
Include internal links that lead readers to other pages on your site. This will not only boost engagement with your content but will also help Google to grasp the structure of your site, improving rankings. Include between four or five links to old articles.
You also want to include external links to other sites. This will help readers to get more information and back up any claims. It also creates a network of links between your page and more established websites.
If you can, get someone to link to your blog post from another website—by sharing an infographic, for example. This can build your authority. Another option is to guest post on another blog and then backlink to your own.
Promote Your Content
The first port of call for blog post promotion is social media. Facebook and Instagram should be a priority for any travel content. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is also a good option, especially if your blog post is about something like industry trends.
To fully capitalize on the potential of social media to drive traffic, you need to understand how your readers use it. What time of day and what days of the week do they generally go on social media? What platforms do they enjoy the most? What kind of content do they typically share?
Use these insights to optimise your content for engagement. Add social sharing buttons to the bottom and top of your blog posts to make it easy for readers to share them.
Email newsletters and paid ads are other ways you can promote your blog content and drive traffic.
Try to be consistent with publishing blog posts. A regular schedule of publication will ensure your audience remembers you and keeps coming back.
That said, how regularly should you publish?
Typically, smaller companies should publish less frequently than bigger companies, given their smaller audience and reduced resources. Only post daily if you can keep it up. In a world of information overload, you don’t want your blog posts to disappear into the sea of noise.
That said, if you want to increase traffic, you might want to publish more frequently to give search engines extra opportunities to highlight your site. To generate conversions, publish less frequently but ensure that each blog post is providing lots of value for readers.
Measure Your Results
Certain metrics will indicate how well your blog post is performing. The metrics you choose to pay attention to will depend on what your goal is.
If you want to boost brand awareness, look for metrics that signal increased engagement, such as social shares and comments, as well as page views.
If you want to boost sales, look at how many people converted from your blog post or how many leads were generated.
Measuring the impact of your blog post will allow you to determine what works and what doesn’t, so you can hone your writing and ensure better performing articles in the future.
Creating a Travel Blog Post That Captures Attention
Crafting winning travel blog posts comes down to a few key things: understand and write for your audience, make it look good, and get it out there. Answer your reader’s questions, pay attention to visuals and design, and promote your content strategically.
If you don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to creating travel content, consider outsourcing the job to professional copywriters. Travel copywriters can produce high-performing blog articles based on the brief you give them, guaranteeing a sustainable source of traffic.
While content marketing pays off more slowly than digital ads, it does create an enduring flow of traffic, making it a powerful tool in your marketing kit.