Friday, 05 May 2017

Create a Content Calendar in 5 Steps

Content calendars are an effective way to manage your website content and ensure it is up to date with the latest hotel information, in-house events, local events & festivals and a seasonal focus.

As a hotelier, you are likely to have limited time to dedicate to managing content for your website. However, you need to think of how important this is to the overall strategy for the hotel and give it the focus and attention it requires. Hence, a content calendar is so important and it will help you in managing your website content in a timely and efficient manner.

What are the benefits of making a content calendar?

  • It allows you to think strategically and plan ahead rather than being reactive.
  • Ensures your website content is always in date and relevant to your target market.
  • Aids website conversion.
  • Assists with SEO performance – Fresh content equals frequent indexing.
  • The more regularly you update your website content, add a new special offer package or add a new blog post, the more frequently a search engine spider will visit your website. The more they visit your website, the more opportunity you have to achieve higher rankings.
  • New content pages present more opportunities for your site to contain more keywords.

How do you create a content calendar?

Step 1: Categorise Content Pages by Type

You should first categorise the content required for your website into a number of key components.

Hotel Service & Product Offerings

  • Review to ensure that all the information presented on your website is correct and relevant for the year. We recommend a full website content audit is completed at least once a year and an ideal time is at the start of the calendar year. Pay particular attention to date and price information and also review any links to PDF’s within the site’s content.
  • Ask yourself the question: Are there any key events in the hotel this year that needs to feed through to the content calendar? e.g. the hotel or restaurant celebrating a birthday, new restaurant opening, new spa products available etc.
  • Promote content that informs and entertains. Build profiles around your experts: A Day in the Life of a GM/Chef/Chauffeur, tips for successful meetings, events & weddings and other topics of interest, chef’s recipes.

Seasonal Related Content

  • Think of the main seasonal events in the calendar year and build your content strategy around this – will you have a content page/special offer/blog post? Could you customise a gift voucher for a specific seasonal occasion? Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are key voucher-selling times so make them special.

In-House Events

  • List out the events planned for the year in the hotel: Wedding open days, wine tasting, summer BBQ, acoustic sessions, spa VIP nights...

Local Events & Nearby Attractions

  • Check out the local tourist board event calendar. See what’s happening near your hotel and note all the events that may be of interest to your target audience.
  • Educate your customers: provide destination information about your city/location and the distance you are from the main attractions. Customers want to know where they are staying in relation to the city centre. Provide information on the nearest public transport options.

Additional Content required to assist the SEO performance of your website

  • Your team in Aró will also have highlighted new pages required to achieve improved positions in Google. As part of the keyword research for your hotel, a specific phrase may have been identified as having high search volume, but to achieve improved positions a specific content landing page is required.
  • You could be looking to target “midweek breaks”, so create a specific landing page for this audience so it can be optimised with the relevant keywords.

Step 2: Source Great Imagery

For all seasonal, local and in-house event content, devise a plan for requiring the relevant imagery. As we all know, imagery sells so it is an important element to your content plan.

Close-up images are great for selling luxury products and food, while people respond well to images of other people. If you’re sharing your content on social media platforms, it’s the image that will grab the users attention first, not the text.

Do you have a tight budget for photography? There are plenty free stock images available online and lots of tools to modify, resize and enhance your images. There’s no excuse for letting your content down with bad imagery!

Step 3: Pick the Right Format

Now that you have a list of the topics to focus on, you can put your thoughts together into a monthly calendar plan. Ask yourself: what’s the most effective way to present the topic on the site?

  • Content Landing page
  • Special Offer / Package
  • Blog Post
  • Gift Voucher
  • Social Media Post
  • Email Marketing Campaign
  • Or a combination of a number of items

Step 4: Delegate!

Delegate responsibilities to the relevant team members with a defined timeline. Keep the objectives visible so everyone knows when fresh content should be on the website, making sure the seasonal content is updated well in advance of key selling times to maximise its potential.

Step 5: Follow these Top Tips

  • For seasonal content publish content 3 months in advance.
  • Content needs to be unique: for local events and attractions, do not copy the content directly from another website. You can work with the content but you need to ensure it is tweaked and adapted for your site.
  • When auditing existing content, also look at your sitemap online; it is quite common that clients find pages here that they never realised were live. The page may not be within the navigational structure but may still be published to the sitemap and easily missed.
  • Aim for a minimum of 150 words of content per page, but the longer the text, the more opportunity for naturally including extra keyword variations.
  • Always think “keywords” when compiling content. Use highly searched keywords in your content copy. They should be seamlessly added: don’t just overload the copy with keywords.
  • Always include a call to action. For example, you have created a page around summer breaks, include the call to action to book your summer accommodation packages.
  • Keep in mind your target market, always ensuring the content is engaging and of interest to them.
  • Notify your Account Manager or Marketing Executive of your content calendar plan and keep them informed when new content is published to your site: they will love to get this update, as it will support your AróSustain & PPC campaigns.
  • Share your content pages on social media. You can boost posts on Facebook to help your brand awareness, which is particularly effective for generating interest in restaurants or in-house events.
  • Share links to your seasonal content pages and blog posts in an email campaign. Interspersing your email campaigns with engaging content can help improve the open rate on email. It helps build a relationship with your subscriber by giving them useful or interesting content and they may be more likely to click on your next campaign that is more revenue focused.

Your team in Aró are always available to consult with you if you need any further advice in compiling content or you wish for us to work in devising a content calendar plan. Get in touch with your Account Manager.