How Tour Operators Can Adjust Content Strategies For COVID-19
When the COVD-19 pandemic first became widespread, we were bombarded with messaging about “the new normal” and “these uncertain times”. These messages were being put together on the fly, and it is understandable that many of us were unsure of what to say and do from a marketing standpoint. Now that we’ve had some time to digest and react to the pandemic, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your content strategy to make sure your tone is aligned with on-going circumstances and your messaging resonates with and is sensitive to your core audience.
This guide will offer tips to update your content strategy during the pandemic.
Before you overhaul your content strategy, keep these tips in mind to help you find the right balance of content that sells your services and content that serves your audience.
Revisit Your Content Goals
You probably set initial content goals for the year based on certain KPIs (key performance indicators) – such as site traffic, click-through rate, or conversions – and it’s likely that you need to reevaluate those goals and adjust them to the current circumstances.
For example, if your site traffic is lower because fewer people are searching for content related to tours and activities you should adjust this goal down, but you may have an opportunity to increase your conversion goals by tweaking on your content to ensure you provide the right information to those who are still visiting your site. One way to improve conversions is to ensure your content matches the users’ search intent.
Don’t Throw Out Your Entire Plan
Try to strike a balance between COVID-19-specific content and the content your business usually provides. While it is important to update your content strategy to make sure it’s aligned with current goals and circumstances, that doesn’t mean you need to throw out everything you had originally planned to share this year and you should still be posting evergreen content that aligns with your brand. Keep in mind that it takes 6 to 10 months for content to gather organic SEO results, so play the long game and continue to create and publish content that will have a positive impact on SEO after the pandemic has passed.
Pro tip: Try a hybrid approach to content – consider including COVID-specific information to your typical posts – you can always remove COVID references when they are no longer relevant. Even in normal times, regular content audits can help you keep content fresh.
COVID-19 Pro tip: When you address the pandemic directly, remember to use and cite credible sources when it comes to any statistics or health tips. You can get started with these sources:
- Centers for Disease Control
- World Health Organization
- The Department of Public Health for your state
- Factcheck.org’s Coronavirus Coverage Guide
Meet Your Customers in the Middle
Think about content that communicates to your customers how you can give them a great experience even if they are operating with a more limited budget, or if they won’t be able to book with you until a later date. Learn more about preparing for budget-conscious travelers.
One of the biggest challenges for copywriters and content creators during the pandemic has been finding the right tone that is respectful of the variety of experiences people are going through while avoiding turning somber. Here are some tips to find the right tone for your business.
Strive for a Balance Between Light and Respectful
Empathy is one of the cornerstones of effective communication. To truly connect with audiences, you need to be sensitive to the fact that people are facing all sorts of hardships due to the pandemic. This means avoiding unnecessary jokes. You might be tempted to be witty or humorous, but this could be seen as being in poor taste. Instead, take a positive and human approach to your messaging. Think about the experiences that connect us all right now – such as the challenges of virtual interaction – and use those shared points to empathize with your readers.
Don’t feel pressured to make your copy over fun and playful. Instead, while keeping with your brand voice, make sure your copy is authentic and personable. Imperfection is a huge part of the human experience, and embracing that can help keep your messaging genuine.
For example, rather than telling your audience that you have everything figured out during the pandemic, acknowledge that it’s a learning process for everyone and that your business is open to continuing to improve so you can provide your customers with the types of services they need right now.
Avoid Certain Negative Words
There are certain words that it’s best to avoid in your content right now as they might come off as insensitive. For example, you might want to say that your tour guides’ positive attitude is “contagious,” but that may not be the best word to use right now. Other words you probably want to avoid include:
- Killer (even if you’re offering a great deal, you can certainly find another way to describe it!)
- Terms like “take advantage of” or “capitalize on” when referring to quarantine or self-isolation time
Messaging & Type of Content
It’s important that your messaging is always tied to your brand and reaches your audience on the platforms where they’re spending time. Here are some ideas on the types of content you should be focusing on.
Brief, Focused Content
People are spending a lot of time on their mobile devices, but attention spans are brief. Instead of expecting your audience to engage with long pieces of content, offer them brief content that can be quickly consumed and that is focused on one goal.
For example, you could produce brief videos for IGTV that tell your customers about your virtual offerings or COVID-safe experiences such as private outdoor tours. You could also write mini-essays about how your business is contributing to your community that can be easily shared on Instagram Stories.
As we discussed earlier, your marketing goals have likely shifted due to the pandemic. Consider what your new goals are, and create relevant messaging that speaks to those goals. For example, your marketing strategy might have been focused on selling tours before, but now it might be all about reconnecting with your customers and strengthening your relationships so you’ll be top of mind when they’re ready to enjoy tours and activities again. Position your content to offer customers new ways of connecting with you, whether that’s following your new video series or purchasing kits to enjoy activities at home.
Storytelling is at the heart of great copywriting, and communicating during the pandemic is no different. Perhaps you want to reminisce on the days when you started your business and all the challenges you overcame and draw a parallel to how you’re coping with new challenges today. Maybe you have inspiring stories to share about how you’re connecting with your community and neighbors in new and unexpected days. Use your unique voice to tell readers why you’re passionate about your industry to get them excited about supporting you and your business.
The ability to adapt has always been important in marketing, and it’s more crucial than ever today to be able to adjust quickly to provide your customers with what they need – stay open and flexible. Start by incorporating a few of these ideas to update your content strategy. For more tips on how to adapt, read our guide on SEO tactics during COVID-19 or visit our COVID-19 Resources page.