Write Travel Blog Content that Delivers ROI: 3 Steps to Boost Conversions

Avatar on Jul 5, 2016. 6 min Read

The blog post or article you spent a week creating, complete with gorgeous graphics and a clever call-to-action, didn’t drive traffic — let alone bookings. And now you’re struggling to justify why you made all that effort in the first place.

Sound familiar? This all-too-familiar scenario is the curse of a poorly-executed content strategy. Content is king, except when it isn’t. Your unread blog post isn’t helping with search, growing your subscriber list, or generating leads for your sales team.

Three things have to happen for your blog to do its job:

  1. The right audience need to see it — and be interested enough to click through.
  2. It needs to hold the reader’s attention beyond a sentence or two with the promise of value (questions answered, problems solved).
  3. The CTA must make it easy and worthwhile to “seal the deal.”

Drop the ball at any point and your blog post is dead on arrival.

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If that’s ever happened to you — and honestly, it happens to everyone — take heart. You can turbocharge your travel blog content and unlock ROI with these three surefire steps.

Step 1: Create Intrigue — Get the Right Content to the Right People

You can write travel blog content in one of two ways: Pick topics that interest you or topics that interest your readers — and you don’t need a degree in marketing to know which ones get better results.
Of course, you need to actually know your target audience before you can identify the topics that interest them. And to know them, you need answers to the following questions:

  • Who are your travel blog readers? If you haven’t developed your buyer personas, take the time to do it. Demographics, income, education, family structure — the more details, the better. A good buyer persona helps you write with a voice and tone that appeals to your readers.
  • What are their travel goals and challenges? Families vacationing with toddlers have entirely different needs and desires than seniors traveling to fulfil their bucket lists.
  • What are their pain points? What can you offer to overcome their objections?
  • Where and how do they consume information? You’ll need to know to promote your content effectively.

Once you’ve nailed down your audience and identified high-value topics, you’re halfway to creating intrigue. The next step is crafting a headline that compels them to click.

Marketing genius David Ogilvy once noted that five times as many people read a headline as read the body of your piece, so writing a killer headline is 80% of your job.

Research shows a good headline can increase traffic and social shares by 500%. In fact, most people decide to share an article based on the headline alone, as Neil Patel noted in his terrific post on writing effective headlines.

Key headline takeaways for your next travel blog post:

  • Plan more time for writing your headline; David Ogilvy would spend up to half of his time on this all-important task.
  • Don’t choose the “least terrible” option you come up with — keep writing until you have a good one.
  • Never underestimate the power of a list (everyone loves an “X Reasons You Should Do Y” post).
  • Always embrace your adjectives. Who doesn’t want to know more about the best, most beautiful, exciting, exclusive, convenient, relaxing, thrilling, adventurous, undiscovered, cheap, or luxurious thing?
  • Be clever but not too clever. Aim to be specific, helpful, relevant, and entertaining.

Step 2: Build Engagement — Learn to “Grease the Chute.”

The Perpetual Traffic podcast team coined the phrase “grease the chute” to describe the process of getting readers to “slide” down the post and land on your call to action.

It starts with an emotional hook — something your reader relates to — and leads gently to conversion.

Your introduction is the logical place to sink your hook; it should work hand-in-hand with your headline to suck in the reader and create “sticky” content. The headline gets the click, but the intro gets engagement.

How can you stir some emotion to grease the chute? Try these examples:

  • FOMO, or fear of missing out. This works if something is available for a limited time, or if something new is introduced.
  • Fear of failure. Describe their most difficult challenge and how it impacts their travel plans.
  • Stoke some desire. A romantic, secluded hideaway, a stress-free all-inclusive resort, an indulgent island spa — put your readers in a place they’d love to be.
  • Showcase the benefits. Tip your hand and tell them your content’s biggest benefit right up front, whether that’s how to take better travel photos or get a free companion ticket, for example.

Sometimes the key is a fresh approach; anyone can write a blog post detailing the cheapest ways to travel the Continent, but few will write about how to make the traveling fun. Check out this post on travel card games from The Leap for a new twist on gap-year travel. Just be relatable and look for ways to solve your readers’ problems. You can’t go wrong with a timely how-to post.

Finally, don’t overlook the mechanics of an engaging blog post.

Are you formatting your post for easy readability with attractive images and graphics that illustrate your points and clarify concepts? Keep these three tips in mind:

  1. Most readers skim your content, looking for the details that matter to them. Make it easy for your audience to find the most important information.
  2. Your subheadings make or break your post, so give them the same attention you give your headline. When readers glance through your post, your subheads should tell a compelling story.
  3. Aim for readability with short paragraphs, simple words, and plenty of bullet points.

Step 3: Land Softly — Make It Easy to Convert.

If you’re a marketer, you know that sinking feeling…

Let’s be honest: Blog posts work best at the top of the content marketing funnel.

They’re great for education, brand awareness, and customer acquisition. Blog posts nudge readers toward conversion — they don’t push.

That means talking less about you and your brand and more about your customers and their interests and needs. It means solving their problems and creating a sense of trust, authority, and relationship with your brand. It means keeping them on your site by giving them reasons to click around and read more content.

It’s about nurturing your contacts as you move them through the funnel. And ultimately, it means offering them something of value when you ask them to act.

How does that look in practice?

  • Liberally sprinkle internal links to relevant content that expands on key concepts in your blog post.
  • Use your conclusion to encourage readers to think beyond the blog post topic — ask questions, request feedback, showcase a service or upcoming event.
  • Point readers to high authority sites that support your topic and offer valuable information. This builds credibility and enhances their reading experience.
  • Don’t expect something for nothing. Create lead magnets, or “How To” email courses you can exchange for contact information as part of your overall sales funnel.

Finally, when it’s time to convert, keep it simple and follow these research-based best practices:

  1. Design a user-friendly contact form with easy-to-read labels and appropriately sized input fields.
  2. Only collect the minimum information necessary. Dropping the number of fields from four to three can boost conversions by 50%.
  3. Don’t insist on a phone number. Quicksprout discovered that 37% of readers abandoned forms that required one, and conversion rates nearly doubled when phone numbers were optional.
  4. Focus on “action” in your CTA. Avoid the word “submit” and use language that works in context, such as “Get my eBook” or “Watch the video” or “Sign me up.” Don’t forget to A/B test to maximize your results.

So Remember…

Travel blog posts are a valuable tool in your content marketing arsenal when you follow these three steps. Remember: A great headline plus a compelling hook means more traffic and better engagement — and better engagement leads to conversions, the key to ROI.

What tricks have you used to grease the chute and increase conversions? I’d love to hear from you. Share your secrets, successes, and failures below and let’s start a conversation.

Thanks for reading! Are you a travel company owner or marketing director that wants more bookings?

About The Author

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Co-founded 10x Travel in 2012 to help ambitious tour operator businesses get more bookings online with a consistent, automated sales process they could rely on.

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