Trip planning is an intensive process for many travelers. Whether planning a vacation for a family of four, a romantic honeymoon or a summer-long cross-country road trip, juggling the different components for traveling can be stressful. In order to take just one trip, a traveler must determine a destination, choose and book transportation and lodging, plan activities and itineraries and pack. While travelers are in the initial planning phase, it may not occur to them to visit travel service providers or booking portals for anything beyond price comparison. Many customers may not visit until they are ready make to reservations and ticket purchases.
Content marketing affords travel brands the opportunity to reach out to customers during the crucial planning phase by offering trip planning resources and relevant travel advice. By investing in a content marketing strategy, companies offering travel services can go beyond the initial sales pitch to enhance branding, become a reliable source and build relationships with customers.
Five Reasons to Invest in Content Marketing
1. Advance the brand message.
Content does more than offset the sales copy—it helps set the tone for a brand. Quality content works to enhance the branding message and improve brand perception. Through content marketing, a travel brand can address the specific needs and concerns of its target demographic. For example, if an individual travel service caters to business travelers, the content would be focused on tips and information relevant to business tourism. The specialized content will draw customers and establish the brand’s position in the travel marketplace.
2. Demonstrate expertise.
For both foreign and domestic trips, customers do lots of vacation research prior to making final purchase decisions. Because content is a reflection of the brand’s knowledge of its niche within the travel industry, a travel brand that understands the customer’s needs and provides support through travel planning assistance and educational resources increases its value to that customer. Using travel experts as part of a strong content marketing strategy, a travel brand positions itself as an authority as it guides customers through the vacation planning process, from exploring possible destinations to finding the right accommodations.
3. Attract new customers.
Compelling content that incorporates long tail keywords will improve search engine ranking and, as a result, increase visibility to customers in the early vacation planning phase. Content such as destination guides and sample itineraries give potential customers much more to consider beyond travel services and package deals. Travel brands that stand out from the competition will sell customers on the fantasy of traveling and then demonstrate how they help to realize those fantasies.
4. Establish a bond with customers.
Over the course of a lifetime, people find assorted reasons to travel. From weekend getaways to overseas holidays, day trips to road trips and holiday family reunions, there are travel arrangements to be made and customer loyalty to be earned. In addition to providing high quality travel services, rewarding customers with trustworthy advice and engaging editorial helps reinforce favorable views of a travel brand. Employing a content marketing strategy across the website and the brand’s digital marketing collateral will offer useful travel information year-round and remind customers of their experience with the brand and keep it top-of-mind when it’s time to book a new trip.
5. Improve social media engagement.
Content marketing—blogs especially—can ease the pressure of generating daily content specifically for social media. Shareable content prevents Twitter and Facebook accounts from turning solely into customer service help lines. Even evergreen content is worth sharing via Twitter if there's a fresh way to present it. Links to destination guides and travel how-to’s along with updates on services and travel offers will provide a healthy balance of content across social media platforms. When followers are engaged, they are more likely to share content with their own networks.
By providing content that addresses concerns, answers questions and alleviates the anxieties of travel planning, travel brands can trade the sales pitch for a subtle call-to-action and integrated sales proposition. For brands that prefer to focus on providing excellent travel services to their customers, Prose Media offers assistance in developing a successful content marketing strategy using professional, knowledgeable travel writers.
Multimedia content has come a long way in the last 10 years. Technological innovations have improved content accessibility and shareability, taking videos and photographs from barely there to everywhere. It is now necessary to include at least one visual element to enhance visibility of text content. This guide offers a crash course in multimedia and how to implement different components to maximize the effectiveness of your online content.
In the early days of the Internet, modems of varying speeds and reliability meant content creators needed to be cautious with employing too much enhanced content on one page. With more reliable connection speeds and the rise in popularity of video and photo sharing services, the Internet has become a multimedia-friendly environment. Multimedia content can now coexist on a single page with minimal impact on page load times. Users now seek out multimedia content that is engaging and interactive.
What is Multimedia Content
Multimedia is a combination of different forms of content, including text, video, still images, slideshows, audio, infographics and interactive forms. Visual content enhances the written word by attracting viewers and keeping them engaged in the story or news item. Multimedia elements should provide content that is useful and complements the main text.
Interactive content drives the web today. Text-only blogs struggle against competition like image-heavy list articles and animated recaps of popular TV programs. Which means adding one or two visual components is vital to content survival. But it's not enough to attach a sensational unrelated photo to a blog post to ignite virality. To capture viewers, content must be legitimately useful, attractive and shareable.
When (and How) to Use Multimedia
Relevance is the key word in choosing multimedia elements to accompany textual content. Visual content must be relevant to and supportive of the text to be truly effective. An unrelated video or misleading image will frustrate viewers and discourage them from sharing content. Combining multiple forms of related media into one post will turn a blog into an evergreen resource.
What is the right balance of multimedia? A good rule of thumb is to use no more than three multimedia elements: text, a static image and a moving image.
Every blog post should have at least one eye-catching image. This image often accompanies the post's headline on linked pages. The still image should be placed within the body of the post, between the headline and the opening paragraph. When the opportunity arises to include multiple images, a slideshow will improve interactivity while cutting down on page size and scrolling. Slideshows are helpful for list articles that contain multiple recipes, travel tips or other short items.
Infographics are a convenient way to convey statistics and lifestyle tips. An illustrated image with valuable content is like a magazine clipping, easy to save and store for future reference as well as easy to share via social media. These images can be very large and may be tricky to fit with other multimedia content as well as lengthy text.
Embedded video needs surrounding text to increase SEO visibility and entice viewers to click play. If the video is the primary feature of the blog post, include a detailed description, if not a full transcript of the video's content. Tutorials offer an opportunity to employ video to demonstrate a project or process. If a video is unavailable, the post should include several step-by-step images to boost effectiveness. A tutorial that shows only a photo of a completed project is less useful than one that includes visuals of each stage of a project.
Don't overwhelm viewers with too much multimedia content. While the Internet may be able to handle serving up content more easily, Internet users cannot be expected to digest content at the same rate.
Presentation matters—a fact that is increasingly important in online content creation. How we present and package content impacts viewer behavior which, in turn, impacts content performance and visibility. Slideshows are a popular method of presenting multimedia content because viewers can interact with the content at their own pace with minimal effort. Enhancing your own content with a slideshow will maximize its overall effectiveness and audience engagement.
Getting Started with Slideshows
A slideshow is a digital presentation comprised of an organized series of images and text to present information. The format condenses image-heavy content into a compact space, reducing the digital footprint of the content and eliminating the need to scroll down multiple web pages. By packaging content in a slideshow, you'll be increasing the visual appeal of your content, making it more easily accessible and boosting its shareability.
To create an effective slideshow, consider the following guidelines:
• Use high-quality still images. Visual appeal is the primary factor in keeping an audience interested in your content, so take time to choose photos and illustrations that are relevant, interesting and sizeable. Some slideshow players allow users to increase the viewing size to full screen, making it necessary to choose or make images that are large in dimension and can scale up or down without losing integrity.
Thumbnails are an essential element in an effective slideshow as they give users a sense of presentation length and allows for quick navigation. With these slide previews, users can skip ahead or refer back to other slides.
• Focus on one topic. Just as an individual blog post, the slideshow should be dedicated to one story or theme. If not serving as a complementary element of a full text story, plan out your slideshow in advance to ensure no superfluous images are included.
• Consider the flow. Depending on the type of content, slideshow presentations should follow a loose narrative. An introductory slide and a summary slide will help tie content together. If part of an article, slides should be placed sequentially in order of mention within body of text. Again, plan your slideshow before importing content into a template to keep your presentation tight and organized.
• Don't forget the meta content. Wherever possible, include keywords/key phrases in titles, tags and descriptions within individual slides to boost visibility of the presentation in search engine crawls.
Seasoned content creators and Powerpoint pros can create presentations and upload completed documents to Slideshare. Use presentation software or page design program to format your multimedia content, save to PDF and upload to the Slideshare site. Like YouTube, Slideshare offers hosting and public access of slideshows while allowing presentations to be embedded in websites and blogs.
When to Use a Slideshow
It's not always appropriate to use a slideshow to display multimedia content. If you are presenting a lengthy report and video tutorial, a slideshow may not be suitable. A slideshow is much better suited for a series of infographics, charts, maps or collection of photographs. If you have a list article on hot travel destinations or easy summertime recipes, a slideshow with thumbnails is an attractive solution for presentation.
Take a look at the following sites for inspiration on how to format your own slideshows:
Escape Module Studio
Slideshows are great for online content because of their versatility — you can use them to supplement other media or stand alone as the main feature, interactivity and shareability across popular social media platforms. The combination of convenience and visual appeal keeps viewers engaged and makes the slideshow one of the most in-demand content displays.
Statistics show that we don't just like visual content, we need it. Multimedia has become essential to content visibility and survival on the Internet. As images and videos continue to be the dominant forces in online traffic generation, content creators must work to combine visual with text to guide and engage viewers. Recent studies have proven that multimedia — even one simple image — is more successful in attracting and engaging web users than text alone.
Why We Need Visual Content
Time is valuable commodity and the average viewer does not want to feel they are wasting it. In 2013,according to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average human attention span was clocked at just eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. The same study found that only 28% of words were read on an average web page. The Poynter Institute's Eyetrack study in 2006 estimated that users read an average of 77% of story text. According to Smashing Magazine, half of the visitors to a web page leave (or bounce) without engaging, while only 25% of the remaining visitors read beyond the mid-point of a typical web article.
Visual content is processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text. With 90% of the information we encounter being visual, it's no surprise that our brains process it so much faster. But it does mean that visual content is vital for audience engagement. Adding any relevant multimedia will boost views and engagement.
When visuals are incorporated into content, the time users stay on a web page increases. Articles with imagesreceive 94% more views than those without images. Posts containing images, text and video will attract nearly six times more views than plain text. Forty percent of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. A Comscore study found visitors will remain for two minutes longer when they watch a video on a page. Interactive content also retains users and increases the likelihood of shares.
Statistics on Multimedia Use
Images, infographics and video dominate multimedia content because they are memorable, accessible and easy to share across social media platforms. We know how much of a difference a simple image can make on enhancing content. What about infographics and video?
Infographics are a visualization of data designed to convey complex information in a quick and memorable way. Using infographics boosts traffic 12% more than text-only content with the same information. They are also easy to share on social media and therefore can reach a wider audience faster than multimedia that requires more investment.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research supposes that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. SEOMoz found that "posts with videos attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts." Video has the benefit of being more engaging while presenting more information in a shorter span of time than text or a manually-controlled slideshow. The downside to video is that users are unable to share just a portion or screenshot of the media to demonstrate why they are sharing it. When including video as part of your content, choose a short clip, no longer than one to five minutes duration, to encourage content sharing.
How to Boost Visibility of Multimedia Content
Visual content is great for attracting users who are browsing other content, but it can't be picked up by search engines just on its own. Just as visual content enhances text, text boosts visibility of visual content in search engine crawls. When preparing multimedia content for a blog, you'll need to implement SEO elements — titles, keywords, tags and file names — to optimize that content for search rankings.
Understanding why we need to incorporate multimedia into online content will help us implement it efficiently and effectively. When you know which media best serves your text, you can create compelling content that performs well and benefits both publisher and audience.
Content on this site was originally written by Katharine Miller between 2000-2015. Many feature articles and interviews were published in print and on websites that no longer exist. Katharine is reproducing her written material here for portfolio and archival purposes only. Links and credits to clients and original publication will be included where possible.