If your marketing strategy was a human body, your website would be its heart. Our hearts are at the centre of us – physically, they keep us alive. Metaphorically, they guide us down the right paths when we listen to it… see where we’re going? Basically a healthy website is crucial for your hotel’s prosperity!
How do you ensure your website stays healthy? Well a lot depends on your content. When we say content, we’re referring both to the ‘functional’ pages detailing what your hotel offers, as well as additional ‘useful’ or ‘entertaining’ pages of content that might be found on a blog or a more specific landing page. As the Content Marketing Institute tells us, useful content should be at the core of your marketing. Your guests want resource! They want to be helped, they want to be informed. There are 27,000,000 pieces of content shared on the web everyday… so the importance of trying to write relevantly for your audience can’t be underestimated!
The other big fat thing about content is, it improves your search rankings. A lot. Your content and SEO go hand in hand… they’re the best matched couple of all time, trumping even bread and butter. More on that later.
We know you’ve a million things to juggle as a revenue or sales / marketing manager, so we’ve pulled together a few handy tips on how to manage your website content effectively.
Know your audience
From where they live to what age they are, from gender to job, and anything else in between – everything you know about your audience will help make your content relevant to them! If you’re a revenue or sales / marketing manager, we’re guessing content collation and writing isn’t exactly the top priority (or passion) for you day-to-day. This means you might not put as much time into it, naturally, therefore meaning you might forget not to write the content as if you were writing it for you (and it’s not just you who does this – it’s our default, it’s the easiest thing to do!). You need to write for your guest, not for yourself. Who knows your guests better than you? Put yourself in their shoes – this helps when it comes to the practical stuff like offers, add-ons and even room rates, too.
It helps knowing what devices they’re browsing your content on, and where they’re booking from. You probably know by now exactly who you’re speaking to, but if you need a hand, try building guest personas. Use Google Analytics and your social platforms to get a gauge of who’s who and what they like. And you know what else helps? Actually talking to guests! If you’ve heard buzzwords like ‘personalization’ doing the rounds this year, it’s because across the globe, the demand for things to be ‘personal’ is growing with speed. It relates back to pretty much every experience we have with service providers. In part brought on as a backlash to the impersonal nature of some aspects of technology, people appreciate real life contact. Go old school – speak to your guests. Find out how they feel! Yes, you’ll get reviews, but try instigating feedback too. It all helps to paint the picture you need!
Give yourself the time
If you’re writing a blog or an information piece for your offer’s landing page (think Top Local Spots to Bring the Kids for an Afternoon of Fun!), take your time and don’t rush the article to meet an arbitrary deadline! If it’s not worth reading, don’t post it. Yes, we want to improve our search rankings – that means more eyeballs, meaning more potential direct bookers. But remember – if the piece of content isn’t informative, useful, engaging or entertaining, drop it. Don’t associate yourself with something that won’t appeal to your guests, there’s no point. Focus on benefiting them! It will end up benefiting you and your book direct figures in the end.
And now, a bit more on the search side…
Once you know who you’re talking to and you have the bulk of your topics together, here are a few things to consider when it comes to search!
Know what your article will be competing with
It’s good to size up the competition! Depending on your content topic, check out the search results for the terms you imagine you’ll rank for, and take some time reading through pieces on that first page of your Google search. Be mindful of the length, topic, tone and even the visuals.
Link to your sources
Some of us know this from back in those grim college days! Firstly, including a source or two in your piece of content makes it feel meatier and more informed. It also makes your piece more credible. Whilst we’re on the topic of links, it also helps to include internal links in your pieces where relevant.
Do your research on keyword research
Your keyword research tells you what people are searching for, how many people are searching for it, and how they want this information given to them. What you want to know is, what are your guests searching for and how can you place your relevant content smack bang in level with their eye-line?
Start off by making a list of the words and terms you want to be found for. Google Trends is a great place to compare what’s popular in relation to your content. Once you have your list together, use the Keyword Explorer Tool from Moz to begin the search for similar terms.
Make sure you don’t neglect your title and meta description! Think of them as a support and a synopsis of your piece, and make sure to include keywords/phrases. You are limited in characters you have to use, so why not play around and figure out what meta-data works best for you? Try this tool.
And finally – remember to optimise your images, too!