If you’ve read any of my previous blogs or you’ve ever met me at the pub for a glass of wine, you’ll know how much I talk about the importance of email marketing for any travel business. And without question, the number one excuse travel agents give for not doing email marketing is, “But Diane, I don’t know where to get travel blog ideas!”
Followed closely by…” Nobody wants to hear from me that much, anyway.” but I’m leaving that excuse alone for another day. This article isn’t about email marketing anyway.
This article is for those times when you are sitting at your computer screen, watching the cursor mockingly blink at you as you struggle, what to write..what to write.
I’ve been there. That’s how I know. But I’ve learned a few tricks over the years and I wanted to share them with you.
1. Online tools that offer travel blog ideas.
Three free online tools that I recommend to start juggling your creative content juices are: Answer the Public, Answer Socrates and Title Generator. All you do is enter in a keyword that you believe best describes your travel niche. And all three will spit out hundreds of content ideas based on what people are typically searching for on Google.
Why do I offer up three if they all do the same thing? Well, while all are free, the free version allows limited daily searches. So if you find yourself maxed out with one, simply move to the next.
Let’s say your niche is “expedition cruising,” what you’ll quickly get back are topics most commonly searched that include:
- Expedition cruises to Antarctica
- Expedition cruises to Greenland
- What is Expedition cruising
- Expedition and excursion differences
- How do cruise excursions work
These tools use real online search data and take away all the guesswork.
2. Poll your audience for travel blog ideas
There is nothing wrong with asking your existing audience.
Sure, you can send out a Google form to your email subscribers or you can simply add in a p.s. At the bottom of your email that asks…
“Have burning questions about ‘XYZ’ and were too afraid to ask. Hit reply and let me know.”
So simple but sometimes, our audience just forgets that there is a live human being on the other end of our emails
If you don’t yet have an email list…
Don’t worry about that at the moment. You cannot have made it to 2022 and not be an influencer of sorts. The average person has 150 followers on Instagram and 338 followers on Facebook. That’s a good place to start.
3. Don’t have an audience – borrow one
So let’s say your audience is small. You’ve posted a few polls, and asked a few questions, but you still don’t feel you have enough to go on. Now what?
There is nothing wrong with peeking over your classmate’s shoulders for the answers. In other words, check out what other travel advisors you admire and who specialize in your travel niche, are doing. It’s never okay to copy but there is nothing wrong with getting inspiration.
And if you aren’t sure who to follow, look for accounts that have high engagement rates. They vary between platforms but as a rule of thumb, on Instagram, that’s anything over 4%; Facebook it’s over 2% and Twitter is over .5%. Travel agents with high engagement are the ones to watch.
Now head over to their travel blogs and have a look for new ideas.
4. Use online tools like Ubersuggest for travel blog ideas
As Mark Twain might have said, there is no need to reinvent the toaster. Similar to tip two, there are a host of free online tools that allow you to analyze similar businesses to yours. Simply go to www.ubersuggest.com and type in the domain name of any website you think is a worthy opponent. Immediately, you’ll be shown which of their web pages drive the most traffic, and which topics get shared the most through social media.
Then you take that topic, and you make it better. In the world of content creation, they call this “skyscraping.” You take a topic that did very well for the other guy and you make it, oh, so much better. On one hand, you have the toaster that lightly browns sandwich bread into yummy goodness. Then you have the toaster oven that does all you’d expect of the humble toaster but adds in the ability to make chicken fingers, quesadilla or whatever frozen entree you’d like to heat up. Same, same…but better.
5. Build your own online library of travel resources
Whatever your travel niche is, you’ll want to set up Google Alerts for your type of travel. Google Alerts will send you an email summary of what is trending in your topic for the day. Sometimes, if it’s breaking news, you might want to include that in an ephemeral social media post.
Blog content should be more timeless. We never know when someone might stumble on our blog content but if Google Alerts tells you that CNN just published a piece called “ How to avoid luggage headaches amongst air travel chaos” you can bet it’s probably a hot topic.
Industry e-magazines are also filled with great info that you can morph into consumer-friendly content.
I would suggest signing up for as many online subscriptions in your travel niche as you can. You never know where a piece of great content might be hiding.
6. Review what you’ve done in the past
If your website isn’t linked to Google Analytics yet, it needs to be. Take a look at past blog posts and see what resonated. Maybe it’s time to take an older article and refresh it adding a new spin. Or, maybe take the article in a slightly different direction.
A good thing to know is that Google rewards recency. If old articles get stale and no longer get visitors, sometimes even just adding a new photo, adding in a new sentence…all of a sudden, Google thinks you’ve been hard at work adding in new content and it will bump you back up the SERP.
7. Travel blog ideas are everywhere
Be extra observant
Now that you are a bonafide content creator – which you most definitely are because everybody on the planet is – keep your eyes peeled. You never know where great ideas will emerge. In my experience, they tend to show up as I’m applying my conditioner or as I’m overtaking three semi-trucks back-to-back on the highway. Neither are ideal times to pull out a pen and write down these epiphanic moments but as soon as I can, I do write them down.
I think back to my days before I began blogging and remember how life seemed so much simpler then. Now, everywhere I turn, I think…could this be a potential travel blog? Just look at the title image of this post. You can’t tell me there isn’t a travel blog idea lurking between those two bovines.
My two favourite free idea capture tools are Trello and the Voice Memo feature on my iPhone. If you aren’t familiar with Trello, check it out. I LOVE IT. It syncs across all platforms. I can organize all my content ideas on a board in Trello. This article came from a Trello card I created a few weeks ago. I knew I wanted to write an article about creating killer content and so I created a card and then every time an additional thought on the topic came to mind, I’d add it to the card.
And the Voice Memo feature on my iPhone is also a lifesaver. As I’m driving, I simply say…” Hey Siri, open Voice Memos” and she diligently complies. I record my thoughts and transfer them to Trello later that evening.
8. Everybody knows that! And other lies we tell ourselves
As a travel expert, you may have the erroneous thought that everybody is a travel expert. Chances are, some of your close friends are also in the travel industry so you begin to speak a different language when you get together.
But the average traveller…does not know what you know. Don’t fall victim to thinking the insider knowledge you have pinging inside your head is common knowledge. It’s not. For many people, they’ll only ever go to Italy once in a lifetime. They simply don’t know all there is to know.
And think of the types of questions that come up during your past consultations. Take a look at your notes and see if there are any general themes that keep appearing.
9. Visit Facebook travel groups for travel blog ideas
You may even have your own private Facebook group, and you are well ahead of the game but if you don’t, there are so many online travel forums with hundreds of questions that need to be answered.
10. Offer up a guest post position
Have you ever thought of reaching out to a past client to see if they’d be interested in writing a post? Believe it or not, some people love the spotlight but don’t want to be bothered blogging as a profession. And this offers a double benefit as now you sorta have a testimonial to boot, even if the client never specifically speaks about you.
You’ll want to maintain the right to edit as you see fit. From my experience, give the right client the stage and they’ll write for hours. So be sure to set that expectation from the onset so their feelings aren’t bruised.
And then after, follow up with a gift card or some sort of token of appreciation as a thank you.
If you liked this article, allow me to recommend: Content marketing for travel agents. It will answer any questions you might have about what type of content goes where.
And if there is a topic you’d like me to cover, why not leave it in the comments below or send me an email. …see what I did there? Classic tip 2