Are you tired of hearing from co-called experts that the current situation is really an opportunity? That you should be running more Facebook or Google ads right now? How you should invest more in social media or influencer marketing? If you’re sick of this BS, you’re not alone. The covid crisis has decimated the tourism industry in ways never seen before. So what can you do besides taking cover as the sky is falling?
In fact, you can and should be doing some things right now on the adventure travel marketing side, on your own, for little or no cost that will pay big dividends once this disaster is over.
At some point this nightmare will end and people will be booking trips again and they will be searching for those trips on Google. That won’t change. Tourism SEO will still be the dominant source of your traffic after covid is over, not social media, paid ads or influencer marketing. Creating content for Google search is foundational marketing that will last for a long time.
Though I don’t think continued engagement on social media platforms is bad, in fact, I suggest you keep this up, what I’m talking about here is high value, authoritative content for SEO. The type of stuff you never got around to before because you were so busy running your business.
Creating content will position you as an authority in your niche, both with your target audience and with Google, and will drive traffic to your website. Use your free time (or your staff’s free time) to create that content now.
Begin by starting with what you’ve got. What blog posts have gotten the most traffic in the past? What social media posts have the best engagement? What are the questions your customers are always asking you about? Which keywords do you really need to rank for? Once you know the answers to those questions, map out a content plan.
Find past posts that can be updated and expanded on. Sort through your image and video library and pull out your best visuals. Don’t forget to consider staff as expert sources you can use.
Also, think about calling on any media you’ve worked with in the past. Often photographers and videographers are happy to share B-roll. Use this to build your image bank.
Aim to create high quality, long-form editorial content. I’m talking blog posts of at least 1000 words, but ideally 1500 words or longer on the niche you need to dominate. These should be informative and inspirational, the kind of stuff that would interest someone who knows little about your activity or region. What are the highlights, how’s it different or better from other places, what do you need to know before coming, not salesy ‘book now’ ads. That will harm more than help. Think ‘top-of-the-funnel’ type stuff.
Do you have a guide with years of experience and local knowledge? Interview them and make that into an article. Or even better, use your smartphone to record a video of them discussing the topic, and transcribe the interview to create a blog post, so you get both text and video from the same content piece.
Do you have any staff members who can write? If so, this could be work for them while you’re waiting to reopen. If not, consider hiring a local writer. I’d also suggest calling on any travel writers you’ve hosted in the past and asking them to write an article or two for you. Most travel media are not travelling now either, so they probably have the time and need the money, and if you’ve hosted them in the past they already know your operation really well, so this could be money well spent. Or consider offering them a free trip in the future for some content pieces now.
Arrange all that new content around a single topic that is most important to your adventure tourism business, say The Great Bear Rainforest, if that’s the area you run tours in. The videos and blog posts can all be posted on the same page, arranged with a brief synopsis for each and links to the full posts or videos, which will be in your normal blog page. This is what we call a hub page, or content hub. It’s kind of like a Wikipedia page on your niche.
A great addition to a hub page is a ‘lead magnet’. This is something that would be of interest to your target audience, but requires giving their email to get. So using the above example, you could take some of the content from those same blog pieces and have a designer build you an ebook on ‘Trip Planning for The Great Bear Rainforest’ or something like that, that you can offer on this hub page. If visitors want it, they have to give their email and get on your list, so you can continue the conversation, warm them up more and eventually get them on your real guest list once things go back to normal.