Tourism blogging the Visit Austin Insider Blog as content hub Katie Cook presentation TACVB Marketing Symposium 2018

The Visit Austin Insider Blog as content hub – slide from Katie Cook’s presentation at TACVB Marketing Symposium 2018

We’re seeing CVBs and DMOs looking at their blog with fresh eyes and new appreciation.

They are getting tired of dealing with one change after another on Facebook and other social media platforms.

These smart destination marketers are not giving up on social media, but they know that the ONLY things they can completely control are their own website, blog, and email lists.

At the 2018 Marketing Symposium with TACVB (Texas Association of CVBs,) Visit Austin’s Director of Digital Marketing Katie Cook presented a case study about how they made their Austin Insider blog their central content hub, and doubled traffic to it in one year.

What can you learn from Katie?

Focused Content Planning Brings Tourism Blogging Success

“Making it up as you go along” is just not going to work for a destination marketing blog.

Blogs are very powerful online publishing tools, but they require a steady stream of quality posts over time (six months minimum if it’s new) to work effectively for you.

Katie’s team has a monthly planning session to look ahead. It is usually held away from the office – so everyone can focus without interruption – and breakfast tacos are often involved, because, hey, it’s Austin!

Tips:

  • Multiple people contribute to the blog: staff, interns, partners, and local writers.
  • One DMO in the breakout session said they pay US$20-25/post to hired writers. We’ve seen US$50/post and up from others, plus hired contributors are asked to share their work on their own social channels.
  • The goal is to post to the blog 3 times per week.
  • Visit Austin’s email newsletter features posts from, and drives traffic to, the blog.
Visit Austin email newsletter highlights Austin Insider blog posts TACVB Marketing Symposium 2018

The Visit Austin email newsletter highlights Austin Insider blog posts with excerpts and “read more.”

  • When partners want coverage from the DMO, they’re often asked to do a guest blog post. Arrange this as far in advance as possible.
  • Guest post contributor guidelines include: word count 250-400 max, creative approach, fun and friendly tone, with appealing visuals.

—->>  To help get you started thinking about your own blog posts, click here for a Tourism Currents content planning Excel download. Add your own blog’s topic areas (content to interest your perfect visitor, guest, or customer) and note the different types of content you can create for different purposes, like general awareness, lead generation, and sales.

Helping People Find Your Blog Posts – SEO

One of the biggest benefits of tourism blogging (besides the control you have over your work) is that posts on popular topics can bring search engine traffic for years.

Katie mentioned that one of their posts from November 2013 about film sites for a famous movie still does well. She sees seasonal spikes around relevant posts like those for Spring Break.

She also recommends frequently reviewing popular posts, updating them if needed, and writing more posts like them. For example, if taco-related content does well, write posts about vegan tacos, Paleo tacos, barbacoa tacos, and fish tacos.

We know of another DMO whose post about local breakfast and brunch options is one of their top performers every month. The post is several years old, so it has authority in Google’s algorithm.

It is easier to dominate very specific long tail search terms rather than broad topics.

 

Visit Austin blog post summer bucket list

Screenshot of a recent Visit Austin blog post about summer bucket lists.

How do you know what’s popular on your blog, or what people are interested in knowing? Dig into basic information in your Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and your website’s Search history (what people type into the search boxes on your website.)

Make sure that you have a blog post that answers each of the top 5-10 questions that you get at the Visitors Center. People are probably Googling those exact questions, too, and they will find you through your posts that provide answers.

How is your tourism blog doing these days? Do you have tips to add?

Tell us about it in the comments….

—->>  Did someone forward this blog post link to you? Go here to subscribe by email, for your own twice-monthly free destination marketing tips and ideas.

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