If you’ve decided to launch an inbound marketing campaign for your tourism destination’s website, then you know that content is important. But you can’t just churn out any content: You need to create quality content that your website visitors will want to see.

Why can’t you just churn out blog post after blog post without much thought? Well, for starters, the internet is already saturated with content from millions of websites and blogs. This means that the chances are good that someone else has already written the content you’re thinking about writing. And that means that you are competing with a lot of different websites for your audience’s eyeballs.

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The second reason? If you write bad content, the searcher who finds your website is going to be angry. They’ll bounce back to the search results and find a source that provides the answers they are looking for. Search engines will notice this behavior and begin showing your results less and less. But more importantly, offering bad content to your website viewers will burn any trust that you’re trying to build by drawing them to your website to begin with.

And really, that’s the whole point of creating content: You want to draw viewers to your website so that you begin building trust so that they ultimately decide to book a room or otherwise visit your destination. If you’re just going to create substandard content, then you’re really going to do yourself more harm than good.

So how do you create content that searchers will actually want to consume, and that will help get your tourism destination more business? Creating stunning content boils down to just two key steps: Creating an effective content strategy, and using that strategy to create content that stands out in a sea of search results.

Create a content strategy.

HubSpot estimates that only 37% of B2C marketers have a documented content strategy. That means that the other 63% of marketers are just winging it when they decide to create content for their marketing efforts. That’s an absurd figure!

If your content is going to be remarkable enough to draw in potential  guests, then it needs to be well-thought through. It needs to be created with a purpose, with clear goals in mind, and with certain standards that it is measured against.

You need to find a way for your content to stand out if you want search engines—and therefore your audience—to find it. You should build out a plan that includes the following 4 steps: Plan, Create, Distribute, and Analyze.

During the planning phase, you are building out your campaigns and deciding what keywords/personas you should be targeting with your content. This phase will be heavily dependent on research. Build out this phase by creating an editorial calendar, a publishing schedule, etc.

During the creating phase, you are taking time to actually create the content. Build out this phase of your plan by deciding what your content guidelines are, and by conducting a content audit to see what content you already have that you could be leveraging.

It is important that the content you create always be tied back to a particular stage during your individual guest personas and the steps of their research process. By mapping your content back to these points, you are making it more likely that the content will attract the right kind of website visitors—the ones more likely to book a room or visit your destination.

During the distribute phase, you are sending your content out into the world. To build out this phase in your plan, set up relevant social media accounts (if you don’t already have them), settle on a social publishing schedule, create newsletter signups, etc. All of this will make it easier for you to blast your content out to the masses once you’ve created it.

After all, there’s no point in creating content if no one is ever going to see it. Though, yes, you are aiming to have your content rank organically for search, promoting it through newsletters and social media allows you to a.) spread the word about the content faster (potentially acquiring backlinks that will help it rank) and b.) leverage the content for your existing fan base, hopefully getting them to book a visit.

During the analyze phase, you’re checking to see if your efforts are effective. Analysis should be ongoing. To build this phase up in your plan, download any analytics tools that you need and set up accounts so that you can effectively track the visitors that come to your website.

Also important during analysis is understanding how many leads your content has generated. If it did not perform as you expected it to perform, you should aim to understand why so that you can correct any issues moving forward; if it performed better than expected, you should try to replicate the effects in new content moving forward. You can learn more about analysis by reading our post Why Even Content Marketers Need to Get Good at Analytics.

Here are some of the key metrics you should look at when analyzing your content’s performance, along with some key tools where you can find the numbers:

  • Number of visits: Google Analytics
  • Leads generated from those visits: HubSpot Marketing Free
  • Social proof (i.e., how many shares did the content receive?): BuzzSumo
  • Who are the influencers in your space, and how can you reach out to them?: Ninja Outreach
  • How many inbound links does the content have (i.e., how many pages are linking to your content): Moz/Moz Bar

Create content that stands out from your competition.

Once you’ve got a content plan in place, you’ve got to actually go about creating the content that will attract visitors (and guests) to your website. Your primary challenge at this point is creating content that will stand out from your competition: With so many blog posts and pieces of content already out there on the internet, how can you stand out and really attract quality visitors to your website?

The answer to that question is more of an art than a science, and will differ from website to website and from piece of content to piece of content. But here are some ideas and tips that you can incorporate into your content strategy so that your content stands out:

  1. Don’t try to create long content. Just worry about creating content that answers a question fully. Your audience, and search engines, don’t care about length. They just want to make sure that the content you produce effectively answers a question fully. A short article that answers a question will beat a long article that doesn’t, any day of the week.
  2. Answer truly unique questions that your competition hasn’t created content about yet. This is a surefire way to attract visitors to your website, and to rank for specific keywords important to your SEO efforts.
  3. If you can’t create content that answers unique questions, you need to make your answers unique. You can do this by incorporating your own unique personality (wit, humor, etc.), or design elements that your viewers will find attractive or helpful (stunning photos, illustrations, or maybe even icons that make the content easier to read fast).
  4. Match your contents format back to your guest personas. Parents will probably want content like checklists or planning guides that make it easier to plan a trip; couples may want maps of the surrounding area or blog posts of romantic things to do. Use your persona research to figure out the content that appeals most to your ideal guests, and create that content.
  5. Make sure your content follows your editorial guidelines.Every marketing team should have a set of editorial guidelines that spells out company writing style/tone, along with grammar rules, etc., which help to create a unified brand identity.

Perfecting the Content Creation Process

As you  can see, creating amazing content isn’t as simple as writing a blog post and publishing it on your website. There are important steps to take in planning, and then in delivering that content if you want it to perform well.

Getting ready to step up your content marketing game? Check out our list of free or cheap tools that content marketers should be using.

Inbound Marketing for Tourism