At the beginning of January, I decided that I’d like to be a runner. Running is something I’ve never been good at, nor have I ever particularly enjoyed, but I wanted to conquer something that’s always beaten me and I thought this was the perfect choice. Fast-forward to March. Along with two of my best friends, I successfully completed a local 5k and ran the whole thing. I’ll pause for your applause. Just kidding, but it was a big deal to me!
Later at brunch, the three of us were riding on that just-completed-a-race high and vowed that we would do the Walt Disney World® 10k next year. Lately, we’ve chatted on and off about it but the problem is that we all have careers and kids and lives that don’t allow us much time to dig deep about planning. I’ve been in the content creation field for over a decade now, so this got me thinking about the need for quality destination content. I thought a lot about what I’m looking for when planning a trip and how I could research and write engaging content that would help someone like me. Someone who doesn’t have much time and needs a lot of bang for her buck when it comes to planning.
Pinpoint Your Clientele
The first step in writing destination content is to put yourself in the reader’s position. If you were traveling to a place like Orlando, what would make it easier for you to know your way around? What would be your first topic of Internet research?
Additionally, what is your assignment? Are you writing about a hotel in a specific destination or are you writing a piece about the destination itself? If you’re writing for hotel guests, World Nomads suggests changing your style from “storytelling” to “service writing,” which means including “details you might find in a guidebook.” You want to give your reader useful specifics, such as where to go for dinner or how to reach nearby attractions. If you’re creating content about the destination itself, it’s best to take a storyteller’s approach. Paint a picture for the reader about what the area looks like and smells like, or the people he or she might encounter.
Focus on Quality
It’s no secret that Google recognizes quality over quantity these days. It’s easy to choose a few popular keywords and stuff them into your content so you’ll produce decent results. It’s harder to dig deep and research or take notes on a place so you can make your readers feel as though they’re there. What details do you need to incorporate so your audience feels engaged? What information do they need to know? The need-to-know details might include transportation options, cost and hours of attractions or restaurants, or noteworthy hotels in the area. Make sure you’re including places that have good reviews, have noteworthy customer service, are well-known or popular, and that are appealing to your audience.
Incorporate Good SEO and Long-tail Keywords
The reason I placed this concept after quality is that in order to ensure that your content is good, you need to know enough about your topic to know if what you’ve said is thorough and authoritative. This lends itself to quality SEO research.
Although incorporating SEO into what you’re writing is imperative, it’s also important for you to create meaningful content that has the best keywords for your topic and audience, not just the ones with the most searches. As our resident SEO director, Laura Lee, says regarding content marketers, “You need someone who can do smart SEO research; it’s not about finding magic search terms but discovering what online users really want to know about the topic and determining the actions they want to take and you need them to take.”
Another idea to consider when doing your SEO research is long-tail keywords. These are keywords that are geared to a more specific search and that often do a better job of answering a reader’s question. Some Orlando-related long-tail keywords include “Orlando hotel with airport shuttle” and “things to do in Orlando when it rains.”
We’ve all heard it said that a picture paints a thousand words, which is a case in point with destination content. Even the best writers can’t adequately portray a sweeping ocean view with a beaming sunset behind it like a photo can. This might not even be a part of your job description, but if you’re tasked with finding photos of your destination, then there are plenty of stock options out there for you to pair with your content.
Write with Enthusiasm
Even if you’ve never been to the place you’re writing about, it’s important that you write with enthusiasm and charisma. The main point is to inform your readers about the area, but you also want them to be excited about visiting. Think about how you would write about your favorite vacation spot. What are your favorite memories from your time there? What do you picture yourself or your family doing when you visit? Going back to my Orlando example, it excites me to imagine myself running through a Walt Disney World® Resort park donning my Minnie ears and being able to experience the sweet smell of Main Street, U.S.A.® from an entirely different perspective. I think about my family cheering me on as I cross the finish line, then us heading to Kona Cafe for a tropical-themed brunch. I then picture everyone going back to the hotel for some R&R (and maybe some ice for my ankles) before we experience a fun, kid-friendly dinner at Rainforest Cafe®, complete with a chocolatey Sparkling Volcano for dessert.
In summary, as long as you keep in mind best SEO practices and create meaningful, engaging content, you’re on your way. And if you’re reading this because you’re in need of content services contact us! We’d be glad to help.
Caralee Culpepper – Content Creator