Why Your Travel Organization Needs To Embrace Bloggers And Blogging

Matt Gibson

By Matt Gibson, CEO, Xpat.Media

Content and influencer marketing are said to be the future of marketing. Studies have shown them to create massive value in all industries, not least the travel industry. A study by Burst Media found that influencer campaigns in the travel industry earned $7.04 of earned media value for every $1.00 spent on paid media, making travel one of the top three industries that benefit most from this type of marketing.

While the travel industries of Europe and North America have embraced content and influencer marketing, other areas such as the Middle East and Asia have been slower to adopt these practices. So, in these areas there is still a noticeable lack of understanding how content and influencer marketing work and how they affect your bottom line.

For this reason, most of the talks and seminars I give in these regions focus on explaining why influencer and content marketing (ie. bloggers and blogging) are so important to travel organizations. I will follow up the this article by explaining how and why influencer and content marketing work in my presentation, Everything You Don’t Know About Bloggers and Blogging, on Tuesday April 26th, from 15:50 – 16:50 in the Travel Tech Theatre.

A Note About Bloggers And Blogging
Digital publishing is a constantly evolving. It’s changing so quickly even us bloggers have a hard time keeping up and, as president of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, it’s my job to keep our organization on top of these changes.

A blogger used to simply be a person who had a blog and published stories online. Period. That’s no longer the case. With the rise of publishing platforms like Facebook, WeChat, Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, ITunes, and Google Play, independent online publishers have been given the ability to publish photos, video, and audio for a growing online audience on dozens of different platforms.

Now, one blogger may have a popular website, a small YouTube channel, and a big Instagram following, while another may have a popular podcast and a large Twitter following, but a seldom-visited website.

When it comes down to it, blogs, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are all just different methods for distributing content. A blogger is a content creator, regardless of the distribution platform(s) they use.

In the new media landscape, a blogger is simply a person who creates and distributes content online with the intention of reaching a specific audience -- whether it’s a mother posting recipes on Pinterest, a teenager growing a snapchat following, or a marketer from Coca Cola managing the brand’s Instagram account.

Why You Need To Embrace Bloggers And Blogging
There is nothing new about what I’m about to tell you. The reasons that your travel organization needs to embrace content and influencer marketing are the same as they were five years ago. The only difference between five years ago and now is that now we have more evidence showing that this kind of marketing is incredibly effective -- and increasingly essential -- in the global digital society.

Here are the main reasons why travel organizations need to embrace blogges and blogging.

1. They’re The Best Value For Your Money
In recent years study after study has announced the staggering value that content and influencer marketing offer to marketers. A 2013 Demand Metric study found that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, while a Burst Media study found that travel brands earned $7.04 in earned media value for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.

2. You Own Them
Unlike traditional marketing and PR campaigns, you own the content produced. You’re not renting a page in a magazine or an ad slot during a TV program. You control how long the content remains available. You can change it, tweak it, promote it, or take it down whenever you like. This fact alone shows that content and influencer marketing by far the best long-term investments you can make.

3. They’re Instant
The ability to publish on demand is an invaluable tool if used properly. It enables a marketer to respond to a crisis, take advantage of a popular topic, or address consumer concerns both instantly and globally, which is not possible using any other form of marketing.

4. They Increase Earned Media Exposure
As companies increasingly prove themselves to be competent publishers, and influencers are considered a part of the global media, the lines between journalists, opinion-makers, bloggers, and marketers are becoming blurred. The author of a high-profile corporate blog might be sought as an expert information source by a journalist, where in previous years they would have sought an academic or book author. Influencers, journalists, and editors are not often taking part in the same online conversations and influencers can often affect editorial decisions.

5. SEO
Content marketing is now the single most effective long-term on-site SEO strategy that a company can employ, and influencer marketing creates valuable links, mentions, and shares, which are crucial to offsite SEO.

6. They Grow In Value Over Time
The online content both on your own website (content marketing) and off your website (influencer marketing) are often permanent and tend to appreciate in value over time. As you build the library of content on your website you are building a toolkit that will enable you to hook different audiences and turn readers into leads, while a good influencer campaign will create content that will help people to discover your brand for years and years through SEO and social media discovery. The impact of content tends to snowball and grow -- rather than diminish -- over time.

The Middle East Opportunity
Content and influencer marketing have been adopted slowly in the Asian and Middle East markets. This means there is a great opportunity for early adopters to gain a foot up on slower-moving competitors.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can use content and influencer marketing (ie. bloggers and blogging) to give your company an edge, don’t miss my presentation Everything You Don’t Know About Bloggers and Blogging, on Tuesday April 26th, from 15:50 – 16:50 in the Travel Tech Theatre.

Author Bio
Matt Gibson: CEO Xpat.Media Matt Gibson is the Inbound President of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, a nonprofit organization that works to help travel industry and brands meet and work together. He’s also an adventure travel writer and photographer, award winning blogger, and CEO of Xpat.Media, an agency that helps travel companies develop their blogging and social media marketing strategies and work with travel bloggers.

Matt regularly gives seminars and moderates panels about blogging, social media, and inbound marketing for organizations such as ITB Asia, Arabian Travel Mart, HSMAI, and Training Edge Asia. Xpat.Media as been featured by publications like Business Insider and Yahoo and Matt's writings on blogging and social media marketing have been published by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Arabian Travel Market, and the Singapore Straits Times.

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