Welcome to the Content Marketing Playbook series in which our expert shares best content marketing practices with hotel marketers! This is part 1 of the blog series. Questions or suggestions? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That new post for your hotel blog needs writing in the next twenty-four hours, but the ideas or words just won’t come. This scenario is one that almost every content marketer and writer has faced at some time or another.
We’ve written in the past about the importance of maintaining a hotel blog. So if you’re dealing with the dreaded blogger’s block, we recommend these six idea-generating tactics to get your creativity firing on all cylinders.
1. Find inspiration beyond your industry
Reading industry publications is a great way to keep on top of the latest trends and generate ideas. But using the same go-to sources can narrow your thinking and hinder your creativity. So make sure to read far and wide to expand your outlook.
Instead of only looking at your favorite travel sources, seek out content that isn’t directly related to your niche. Browse technology sites for reviews on the latest travel gadgets. Follow food writers posting about the hottest culinary trends. Or dive into articles from trending health and wellness bloggers.
During your research, keep in mind the topics that might appeal to your audience . And remember that reading articles from bloggers and experts in different industries can only help to free up your own creative thinking.
2. Unlock your creativity
In the world of blogging and creative writing, it’s the fun and different that stands out. People are no longer engaged by empty buzzwords and top tips and articles without substance. It pays to consider what your post contributes to the world of travel and how it conveys not only your expertise, but a unique perspective.
If you have an idea in mind, take a moment to Google your proposed title. Has the topic been covered, time and again? What approach did other writers take and how can you make your post stand out? By going for a different take on the subject you’ll be able to provide information of interest, and avoid putting out an article that gets lost in a sea of competition to provide the same information.
3. Monitor social media
Instead of guessing what blog topics your audience might be interested in, use social media to see which posts are already generating lots of online buzz.
For example, search for groups on Facebook that are related to your hotel destination, then sift through the conversations within that group for trending topics that you can potentially base a post around:
- What are travelers excited about?
- What are they irritated by?
- What information or tips are they seeking related to your destination?
Keep your eyes peeled for topics that are generating high levels of engagement.
You can also use social media monitoring tools to identify trending content. For instance, BuzzSumo allows you to analyze and track popular posts based on the number of engagements, and its new ‘Topic Explorer’ tool lets you look at existing content and questions from your own industry. The top trending topics can all potentially be used for a new and topical post.
4. Look for questions on Quora
Quora can be an absolute goldmine for finding new ideas. This popular Q&A forum is full of interesting questions related to every topic imaginable, and a quick search can fuel seemingly endless content creation.
Type your topic in the ‘Search Quora’ toolbar at the top of the page to bring up a string of results. Then look for questions with the most views and upvotes to get a good sense of the topics that people are most interested in. For instance, a recent search for the term ‘travel hacks’ brought up a series of questions, including:
- What are your travel hacks for feeling refreshed after a long flight?
- What are the best business travel hacks?
- What are some tips for consistent business travelers?
Any of these questions can be used to create a blog post. Look through some of the answers for potential themes and inspiration, but make sure the actual content of your post is unique and tailored to your target audience.
5. Check out your competition
Ever taken a look at the blogs of your competitors? You should. It’s a great way to help come up with new ideas and improve on existing content.
To start, draw up a list of hotels with a similar audience to your own and sift through their blogs and social media posts. Review the number of comments and shares that different posts received, then compile a list of the most popular posts.
Next, it’s time to bring in your own creativity. Can you give these topics a unique new twist? Is there a way to write a more in-depth piece on the same subject? Have your competitors missed a vital part of the story?
For example, let’s say you come across a post titled “The Best 5 Family Attractions in X Destination.” It’d be easy to create a similar post around the same theme for your own destination. But are there ways to improve upon this kind of post. You could interview local parents to get a true insider perspective. You could dig a little deeper and do a post on lesser known or more unique family attractions. What about a post for families on a budget, or families looking to spend more time away from their screens? You can also opt to create a far more visually engaging and informative post using videos, embedded maps, and original images shot by your own photographer.
6. Tap into Google Trends
For ideas in a hurry, consider Google Trends your go-to option. It’s free to use and gives you an instant snapshot of the keywords and phrases gaining lots of search volume. You can use it in a couple of ways.
The “Trending Searches” option lets you see both the past 24 hours and real-time search results, and both of these categories can be broken down by geographic location. However, the more useful tool in Google Trends is (arguably) the ‘Explore’ topics feature.
After you enter a keyword or phrase into the ‘Explore’ topics section, a visual graph with historic data displays search interest over time. This can be used to see whether interest in the topic you’re thinking of writing about is waning or surging. To gain potential new content ideas, scroll down to “Related Topics” and “Related Queries” to see other trending topics based on your original search query.
Finally, we suggest hosting regular brainstorming sessions to facilitate the creative process. Just don’t stand in front of an empty whiteboard and hope inspiration will strike. Instead, play around with different brainstorming techniques to get everyone engaged and thinking in more interesting ways.
One helpful technique is to hand flashcards with random images to everyone in your group. Task individuals to write down three ways their images could be related to travel, then ask them to read their answers aloud. Weird and wacky ideas are fine. The point of this exercise is to generate abstract thinking and a fun group debate. You’ll be surprised how often this technique subsequently proves a catalyst for new content.
Alternatively, try the worst possible idea technique. As the name suggests, the point of this exercise is to come up with the worst possible blog post idea possible. When employees are among their peers, the pressure of having to be instantly creative can cause them to clam up. Rewarding the worst ideas can help kick-start the brainstorming process by relieving any early tension.
8. Analytics matter
In addition to the ideas outlined above, remember to look at the analytics from previous blog posts. Top performing posts can be rewritten and updated with the latest information. You can also split a long-form post into a series of smaller posts to get a little more mileage from a given topic. When the ideas just aren’t coming, blog topic generators offer a quick and easy way to find a flash of inspiration.
With a series of reliable tools and tactics to boost your creativity, you’ll find it easier to generate fresh content and maintain a regular blog that keeps your audience inspired, informed, and engaged for longer on your hotel website.