There are two questions I’ve been getting asked a lot over the past few weeks.
“Nick, should we be doing content marketing during this crisis?”
“And, if so, what should we talk about?”
Let me give you quick answers to both questions, before going into detail later.
Yes, travel agents should be doing content marketing right now. And you should talk about whatever your clients consider interesting, relevant and helpful.
Why you should be doing content marketing right now
The aim of content marketing is to build trust, credibility and brand recognition with your existing clients and your potential future clients. Why? So you can generate leads and sales.
Do you want to make sales? If so, you should be doing content marketing, both during the crisis and after.
As I’ve been giving business owners this advice recently, they’ve sometimes replied: “But Nick, won’t people find it annoying and insensitive if we do marketing at a time like this?”
Well, they’ll only find your content annoying and insensitive if you publish annoying, insensitive content. You should never publish annoying, insensitive content, no matter what the state of the world.
If your content is interesting, relevant and helpful, your clients will be happy to consume it.
What you should talk about in your content marketing
Now that you know you should be doing content marketing, you might be wondering what sort of content you should publish – or what sort of content your clients will find interesting, relevant and helpful.
The key is to think of things from your clients’ perspective.
If you publish content that basically says “Look at us! We’re desperate! Give us money!”, your clients will find that annoying and insensitive. Why? Because it’s all about you.
Instead, you should publish content that sends this message: “You’re the centre of our universe. We understand your hopes, fears and values. Your problems are our problems.”
How you can help and inspire your clients
Let me share four examples of content you might want to publish during this crisis.
First, offer expert advice. Tell clients what they can do if their flights and tours have been cancelled. Let them know where they stand with bookings for later this year that have not been cancelled but are now uncertain. That will show you care about their problems.
Second, deliver news. Keep your clients abreast of relevant information about travel restrictions, airline policies, rewards points and the like. In uncertain times, consumers are hungry for quality information from expert sources.
Third, share special offers. Sure, travel is restricted now, but, sooner or later, we’ll be flying, cruising and touring again. Just be careful with your messaging. Your content needs to be focused on your clients (“If you’re confident about the future, now could be a great time to take advantage of some amazing deals”) rather than you (“Give us money!”).
Fourth, provide inspiration. There are two reasons why consumers spend money with businesses – to solve problems and live better lives. It’s great if you publish content that helps your clients solve today’s problems, but you should also excite them about tomorrow’s pleasures. Again, take care with your messaging. It should be something along the lines of “Here are some magical destinations you can visit once the lockdown ends” rather than “For God’s sake, give us money!”
You can do great marketing without spending a cent
Here are four different ways you could deliver your content:
- Website blogs – detailed news and in-depth advice
- Email newsletters – special offers and news
- Facebook videos – advice and commentary
- Instagram photos – inspirational travel shots
Unless you want to outsource this work to a content marketing agency, you can do all four of those things for free. ‘Doing marketing’ doesn’t have to mean ‘spending money’.
Always focus on your customers
The fundamentals of marketing never change, regardless of what’s happening with the economy or the world.
Make your clients the centre of your universe. Focus on their hopes, fears and values. Provide them with content they consider interesting, relevant and helpful.
If you do that, you’ll build trust, credibility and brand recognition with your clients. And that, in turn, will lead to sales down the line.
Nick Bendel is the CEO of Hunter & Scribe, a content marketing agency that writes blogs, social media posts, ebooks, emails and website copy for travel agencies.
Featured image credit: iStock/jossdim