Melt Site Icons - Final
Chloe Shepherd
January 22, 2019

Melt digital breakfast: The digital marketing lessons we learnt last year

Melt's 4th and final event of 2018 gave a thorough review of the most important digital marketing lessons from the travel industry in 2018.

Informed by our own client work and the wider industry, we examined:

  1. The changing nature of SEO
  2. The evolution of content
  3. The state of influencer marketing and digital PR

If you missed out, we thought we’d bring you the key takeaways – and if you made it, a recap can’t hurt, right?

  1. The changing nature of SEO

This year has seen a lot of big changes in SEO, and there are many lessons to take into the new year.

Google is ever evolving and focused on user behavior​. Therefore, how you optimise and plan your strategy needs to run alongside their evolvement and focus on the user, meaning 2019 priorities are as follows…

Firstly, in ​March 2018 Google started the process of migrating sites to mobile first indexing, meaning that Google uses the mobile version of your page for indexing and ranking. This means it is now essential to ​Crawl your site with a mobile bot to see how SE’s see your mobile pages​, track your mobile page loading speed​ and check your mobile user experience.

Google uses online brand mentioned as part of its search algorithm. So unlinked brand mentions mean Googles learns about your brand as an entity​ and gets a greater understanding of your brands authority.

Traditional KWR only gives you a fraction of insight into your user’s needs​ however NLP allows you to expand your keyword view to all of your users needs and take the footprints to guide your strategy​.

  1. The evolution of content

‘Content’ is a phrase that has been thrown around a lot this year, but what does it really mean and how should it be done? Melt’s copy editor Richard Kimber is ever frustrated by brands and agencies alike producing “content for contents sake”, which is where his key points lie.

For example, most travel content provides a generic overview of a destination or subject, and whilst this can be fine for lesser known destinations – a user is going to want something more specific and insightful.

When creating content, it is essential to think about the user needs, as this will bring purpose to every piece of content. Focus on these four points before you begin preparing your piece:

  • Proposition
  • User needs
  • What do they need
  • What do you want them to do?

In the SEO industry, we know that keywords are important, but they are not worth ruining a good piece of writing, after all – keywords don’t buy holidays, people do.

Finally, it’s important for those within the travel industry to fill in the gaps and play to their strengths. For example, if a user searches ‘Top 5 Christmas markets in Germany’ there will be a huge saturation of this exact content. It is important to find the areas that haven’t been covered, for example ‘A very Bavarian Christmas tour: Your guide to the markets of Rothenburg ob der Tauber’ – make it concise and tell people what they need to know.

  1. The state of influencer marketing and digital PR

This year Melt has seen a big increase in clients including their influencer marketing budget within their digital PR budget – and whilst the two might cross over in some respects, it is important to treat them as two separate forms of marketing.

Here’s how to tackle them separately:

Influencer marketing

Once upon a time influencer marketing was hailed ‘the future of digital marketing’, but major flaws in the strategy have been found, raising questions around its sustainability.

There is no doubt that influencers have changed the way we travel. Apparently ‘almost half (48%) of Instagram users rely on Instagram photos and videos to help choose their next travel destination’*, so it’s hardly unsurprising that travel brands have leaped onto this bandwagon.

However, it is important to ensure that it is suitable for the brand, and that it is not just being carried out because you think it should be. Some other things to keep in mind is the size of an influencer reach. Also, never assume that influencers will be willing to collaborate for free, and if it’s SEO benefit you’re after, an influencer campaign may not be the way to go – be sure to manage expectations of ROI and be certain that this form of marketing is going to give you the results that you want.

Digital PR

Digital or traditional PR should still be a key focus within every marketing plan. The focal aim of PR hasn’t changed in 2018, however it has greatly adapted to a digital work in the past year – headlines need to be social media friendly, you have to provide journalists with good quality images and have assets such as video and external blog content – it is now so much more than just a simple press release.

It is also important that a client should never ​expect a large ROI from one campaign​. A brands reputation cannot be built with a one-off press release. Our best advice would be to form a 3 month – 1-year plan. Think about what you want to achieve and how you want to position the brand through each piece of outreach you will do throughout this time.

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