Bloggers and Travel Agents Bring Clarity and Curation

Passports to world travel

“What stresses people today,” explains Matthew Upchurch, CEO of the Virtuoso luxury travel network, “isn’t the lack of information. It’s not knowing if they are asking the right questions….People don’t go to advisers for information anymore,” Upchurch adds. “They go for clarity and curation; they need someone to distill the abundance of information available to them.”

Upchurch may well have been speaking about all internet search activity, not only about travel, I couldn’t help thinking. After all, we business bloggers serve, in a very real way, as interpreters and consolidators, and curators. For that reason, I teach, effective blog posts are less information-dispensing than they are perspective-gaining tools for readers to use. You might refer to our work as offering new understandings about things readers already know.

Travelers, writes Jill Schensel in the Indianapolis Star, were “drowning in TMI (too much information.”. The life rafts for an increasing number of those travelers is once again becoming a “friendly, flesh-and-blood travel agent”.

Again, there’s a strong parallel here with blogs, which offer business owners and professional practitioners the chance to inject their own special personalities into each piece of content. One interesting perspective on the work we do as professional bloggers is that we translate clients’ corporate messages into human, people-to-people terms. In fact, that’s the reason I prefer first and second person writing in business blog posts over third person “reporting”. I think people tend to buy when they see themselves in the picture and when can they relate emotionally to the person bringing them the message.

I like to compare the interaction between blog writers and online readers to behavioral job interviews.  These don’t focus on facts, but attempt to reveal the way the prospective employee functions, discovering the person behind the resume. Just as employers want to know how reliable you’ve been in the past, your blog posts need to include stories about how you solved client problems, and what lessons you’ve learned through your experiences that you’ll be applying in your dealings with them should they choose to become your customers.

Just as Upchurch described Millenials’ renewed use of travel agents to help guide their purchases, people don’t go to websites purely for information anymore; they go for clarity and curation, and for a human touch!

 

 

 

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Scoring Goals for the Little Guy

Businessman drawing PPC - Pay Per Click concept

Without the financial means to use a combination of paid search and organic content marketing through blogging and SEO, my clients may be playing the customer acquisition game with fewer pieces than their opponents.  In fact, not being able to afford significant adword purchases (PPC or Pay per Click advertising), my Say It For You local business owner clients have to rely on organic search to attract eyeballs.

“Organic listings are essentially free,” notes RankExecutives.com. “With a little bit of effort (and some money upfront to pay for SEO costs) you can watch your website get consistent traffic.”

How does organic marketing work? People trust that the first listings in Google are reputable companies, RankExecutives explains. “A hit from Google is much more valuable over a hit from an ad.” Most importantly, the authors add, the effects of SEO are permanent.  They don’t suddenly stop if you stop paying for them.

“Sustainable success rarely comes overnight, regardless of your marketing technique of choice,” the ContentMarketing Institute cautions. “More likely, any gains will be the result of a slow, steady climb in the influence, visibility, credibility, and desirability of your business.”

Big or little, every business owner and manager needs to keep an eye on the correct “game board”.  “Retweets, ‘likes’, and comments don’t matter to business objectives.  Sales, revenues, and costs do,” Content Marketing Institute’s Jason Falls reminds marketers.

Scoring goals means staying in the game, and “content marketing success requires consistency and predictability,” ContentMarketing Institute insists. “The purpose of content marketing is to attract qualified prospects who might one day become customers”, writtent.com reminds business owners.

With thought leadership fast becoming a measure of content marketing success, says writtent.com, effective content creation is a combination of quality, originality, and using keyword research right.

Blog content marketing – a way to score goals for the little guy!

 

 

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Know the Value of Your Pieces

PPCWinning in life involves improving your game. My favorite magazine, Mental Floss, devoted an entire issue earlier this year to advice on winning games. When it comes to the game of chess, Mental Floss presents two pieces of advice from Chessacademy:

  1. The most common beginner mistake is simply not being aware of what’s happening on the board. Being distracted leads to preventable mistakes.
  2. Know the value of your pieces. “Each piece has a respective value, and if you have fewer pieces than your opponent, you’re playing with less material.”

I think about that pieces thing often when discussing online marketing strategies with new Say it For You clients as we begin a blog marketing initiative. Often it’s a small business owner a retail or services field competing with giant national chains. With fewer dollars available, the little guy cannot hope to compete in purchasing adwords and needs to rely on organic search to attract eyeballs.  In other words, my clients are wondering, what are their chances for success when they find themselves playing with fewer game pieces than their larger, better funded, competitors?

NewMediaCampaigns.com asks the same question: “SEO (search engine optimization) vs.PPC (pay per click) – Which Provides You the Better Value?” NewMedia cites research from Jupiter Research showing that 81% of users find their desired destination through a search engine. However, New Media points out, “There’s still a big decision to make – whether to use SEO (naturally ranking high in the organic results) or PPC (purchased ads on a Google search) to get in front of your target.

Jupiter’s findings:

  • Paid search results are 1.5x more likely to convert.
  • Organic results are 8.5X  more likely to be clicked on than paid search results

“It can be concluded that the opportunity from organic search is 5.66x that of paid search,” NewMedia sums up. “You won’t rank #1 overnight, but SEO is more affordable and the longterm benefits have been proven.”

Without the means to use a combination of paid search and organic content marketing through blogging and SEO, my clients may have fewer pieces than their opponents, but with consistency and commitment, they have every chance of winning the customer acquisition game!

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