Our editor Tim Russell takes a look at how agents can turn fam trips into a rich source of content marketing ideas…
Let’s face it, fam trips and inspections are one of the great perks about working in the travel industry. A few days in a new destination, staying in a top hotel, being wined, dined & entertained, and it still counts as work! It certainly makes up for long hours in front of the computer doing costings or dealing with difficult customers.
But what do you do with these wonderful experiences when you get back from your trip? You probably have to write a report for your boss just to prove that you didn’t spend all your time on the beach or in the bar; you probably have to write a hotel or destination report for your product team; and if your company has a blog, you might end up writing a trip report for that too.
Sadly with most companies, that’s where it ends. But for content marketers, a fam trip can be an almost bottomless well of content that can keep your blog, Twitter stream, Facebook page, Pinterest gallery and other content channels busy for weeks after the trip! Here are some great ideas to help you turn your fam trip into some great content.
Yes, that’s “Blogs”, plural. If they blog at all, most travellers will only get one posting out of their trip – the dreaded trip report. I’ve done it myself, turning a 10-day tour in Cambodia & Laos into one post when I could’ve got at least half a dozen posts out of it.
Visitors to your site don’t want to read an epic 10,000-word trip report – they want more focused, bite-sized pieces. So focus on themes – if you’ve done a 3-day fam to Bangkok for example, you could write one blog post about the city’s temples, another about street food, another about shopping, another about nightlife…the possibilities are endless. Or focus on individual attractions or locations – write a post about the Chaophraya River, or the Grand Palace, or Chatuchak Market. Spinning a trip out this way gives you more content ideas to put in the bank, and makes the resulting posts more readable and also more valuable in SEO terms.
You’ve stayed in hotels, you’ve eaten in restaurants – review them! Either for your own site/blog, for an article submission site, or for online review sites such as Yelp or Tripadvisor. Anything that shows your customers that you actually visit the places you sell AND care enough about your business to write about them shows that you are worth dealing with.
This one is a no-brainer and you don’t need a fancy camera to do it – most modern smartphones are good enough, especially if you use an image editor like Camera360 or Instagram. Do a bit of research on your destination first and find out what the key sights are, and do a photo checklist before you get there to make sure you don’t miss out any key images. And think about what image formats your blog uses (portrait or landscape for example), and shoot the majority of your pics in that format. You’ll come back with a great stock of images for your website, blog, Facebook page & Pinterest boards – and you can even Tweet your pictures live from the fam trip if you like!
With social media you don’t even need to wait until you get back from the trip to share your experiences – you can post them live to your company Facebook page or Twitter & Google+ feeds as you go. Your followers will follow your experiences with interest and will be more likely to read any content you create when you get back.
Video is rapidly becoming an essential type of content for travel companies, and free sites like YouTube & Vimeo make it easy for you to upload & share your content. And don’t forget that YouTube is owned by Google, so any content you upload has SEO benefits too. As with blogs, don’t just do one long video report on your trip – cut it down to several short, bite-sized clips. I’ve found that the shorter the clip, the more likely my Facebook followers are to click on it. And the more clips you create, the more content you have for your company’s YouTube channel.
As with images, you don’t need a fancy video camera – your point & shoot camera or smartphone is usually good enough for the job. And plan your stories before you go: don’t just film yourself walking around the Louvre – film some of your journey there, interview people standing in the queue outside, cut away to the surrounding streets or buildings, and make sure your video tells the story of your visit.
So that’s 5 good ideas for content! If you follow the above, even a short 3-night fam trip should generate at least:
3 blog posts
1 hotel review & 2 restaurant reviews
50 usable photos
15-20 social media updates
5 video clips
That’s an amazing 80 pieces of sharable content from one short trip. Your bosses will be so impressed, you’ll be first in the queue when the next fam comes around!
Got some good fam trip content ideas to share with me? Please leave a comment.