9 Fatal Mistakes New Bloggers Make (and How to Avoid Them)
It seems like everyone and their mother has a business blog these days…
This goes for tiny “mom and pop” stores and massive multinational corporations alike. In a world of shortening attention spans and infinite distractions online, savvy marketers are forced to adapt.
Content marketing allows businesses to meet those challenges. It takes time and effort, but it can be well worth the payoff in leads, customers, and more business.
Blogging is common in the travel industry as well. However, some tour operators do it much better than others.
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How come some travel company blogs grow steadily and resonate with their audiences while others wallow in obscurity?
Keep reading to find out.
Blogging Done Right: Easier Said Than Done
Blogging can be an incredible source of leads and customers for your travel business…
But doing it successfully is easier said than done.
“Success” in business terms means your blog is only worthwhile to the extent it: 1) attracts new readers, and: 2) resonates with them in a way that turns them into leads and customers.
Countless businesses have heard about content marketing’s potential. That helps explain the thousands of new business blogs which emerge every day.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of new bloggers are making the same crucial mistakes. They end up wasting a lot of precious time and energy they could have put to better use.
Understanding these mistakes beforehand will help you avoid them, resulting in a rapidly-growing platform and an edge over your competitors.
1. Trying too Hard to be Original
Everyone hates reading boring, unoriginal material that’s been rehashed hundreds of times.
Major travel industry topics have already been covered thoroughly, so you might feel pressured to make every piece of content completely new and original.
But before you write up your newest “100% original” idea… wait!
You probably have a good idea how your audience responds to your products and services. Figuring out how well they will engage with written content can be trickier.
So why not save yourself a lot of the guesswork with some quick validation early on?
Take some time to identify the most consistently popular blog topics within your niche — before you start writing.
Tons of online tools are available to help you do just that. My favorite is BuzzSumo, which helps you find influencers’ most-shared content online and offers a free plan option.
Once you gain an understanding of which topics are consistent “winners,” it’s time to put your own unique spin on things (flavoured with your own opinion and experiences). You’ll end up with content that’s both original and compelling.
You can always get more experimental after you spend some time blogging and have a better feel of how your audience responds to different topics.
2. A Focus on Quantity Instead of Quality
You might see big companies putting out fresh blog content once or even multiple times a day. Maybe you feel the need to follow a similar production schedule…
Resist the urge!
The quantity over quality model is mostly a relic from a different era of business blogging. It worked well 10 years ago, where a cursory post might rank well just because it’s the only one covering the topic online.
Things are much different today. Now, there are probably already hundreds — or thousands — of blog posts covering topics very similar to what you want to write about.
Focus on quality instead of trying to get out as much content as you can. This approach helps overcome your audience’s greatest challenge today: not a lack of information, but separating the wheat from the chaff.
The best article you can write published once a week will get more traffic and engagement than three mediocre posts whipped up just to meet a hectic publishing schedule.
You can always increase your frequency over time. Just make sure you have the resources and understanding of your audience needed — without sacrificing quality.
3. Not Enough Promotion
“If you build it, they will come.”
This is the mantra Kevin Costner lives by in the film Field of Dreams. After hearing voices, his character builds a baseball diamond and ends up attracting a professional team, the Chicago White Sox, to play there.
It sounds great in theory, but reality is more complicated than that.
The Field of Dreams approach worked better years ago when there was much less competition online. But in today’s crowded space, it’s imperative to get proactive — to do what you can to stand out.
Groove, a customer support app, admits this was one of their business mistakes early on, as they spent about 95% of their blogging time on content creation. They grew their email subscriber list by over 5,000 people within a few after dedicating more time to promotion.
The answer: spend at least as much time promoting your content as creating it. Different experts recommend different ratios; you’ll have to experiment for yourself and see which mixture works best.
Promotion is especially important early on. You can taper off a bit (and spend more time creating) once you’ve established a reliable email subscriber list.
Speaking of email subscribers…
4. Failing to Build an Email List
The vast majority of people won’t read an article and immediately buy from you — no matter how great your content is.
Maybe the products or services you sell are expensive, requiring plenty of research and comparison shopping. Or maybe the timing is wrong. Say, for instance, that someone wants to fly to Asia but isn’t yet in a position to buy a ticket.
Producing a lot of great content without asking people to join an email list is shortsighted. It puts the burden on the reader to remember you and seek you out when they want to buy. That’s practically impossible with all the distractions online.
The better way is to invite willing readers to continue the conversation in a much more intimate setting: their email inboxes.
Building an email list lets you nurture relationships through exclusive content, notifications of new blog posts, special promotions, and much more. You can use the power of automation (email marketing software) to keep these relationships going strong at a massive scale.
Email is also an invaluable traffic source. As your list grows, you can send an email with a link whenever you publish a new post. A good portion of your subscribers will head over to the blog, share the content, and lay the groundwork for more exposure.
5. Forgetting to Entertain
If there’s a cardinal rule of successful blogging, it’s don’t be boring.
There’s a reason why controversial, emotional “hot button” content is the most likely to go viral. In many cases, people are even more likely to share something they hate than something they love.
This isn’t saying to go out there and deliberately try to drum up hate…
But you must remember your role as a blogger:
You’re an entertainer above all else. Yes, you’ll probably teach and solve problems, but none of that can happen if your readers are falling asleep!
Your audience is wild. They aren’t captive like schoolchildren. This means that, with the click of a button, they could be playing Candy Crush, browsing Twitter, checking their email, etc.
Your audience wants to learn and solve problems, but you’ll engage them better if you can wrap that stuff up in an entertaining package.
How can you be entertaining?
Write like you speak. People connect with direct, simple language — not flowery prose. Your audience wants to know they’re interacting with a real human instead of a faceless corporate robot.
Use stories and personal anecdotes. Simplifying complex topics with metaphors is always a good idea too.
Use funny images and graphics (if it fits your personality and the topic).
Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.
6. Losing Sight of the Audience
We just talked about the importance of entertaining and not being afraid to inject your personality into your blog…
But you can take it too far. Some new bloggers get so self-involved they lose sight of the bigger picture.
Remember, every reader comes to your blog with an unspoken question on their mind:
If you aren’t able to answer that question clearly and convincingly within a few seconds, you’ll lose people.
This sounds harsh, but your audience doesn’t really care about you outside the context of the value you can create for them — in the form of entertainment, knowledge, satisfying their travel needs, etc.
Your latest root canal at the dentist might lead to a cute story, but if it doesn’t illustrate a point or otherwise serve your audience, you’re better off leaving it out.
The last thing you want is to get too self indulgent, preaching from a digital pulpit about stuff that interests you but not your readers.
7. An Inconsistent Posting Schedule
There’s a reason why many people still like getting print copies of newspapers delivered instead of just buying a subscription online.
How many people do you know who wake up in the morning, go out and grab the paper, and enjoy reading it on their train ride into work with their coffee or tea in hand?
The pattern has become so engrained these people couldn’t imagine anything else!
So many blogs start out strong and fizzle. They publish several times a week the first few months. Then the posts drop down to maybe once a week. Then once every few months. Then…
Their readers forget them completely.
These blogs fail because they never create a consistent pattern. The deeper you integrate your content into your readers’ routine, the more likely they’ll continue to engage, share, and respond to it.
You must strike a balance between consistency and quality. One dynamite post every other Thursday is worlds better than five mediocre ones this week, zero next week, and so on.
Consistent posting helps manage reader expectations. You’ll set yourself apart as someone who always follows through.
8. Not Enough Organisation or Editing
Some bloggers get passionate about a topic and decide to fire off a long post in kind of a manic, stream-of-consciousness style.
That shows readers you care a lot about your topic, but it makes the content presented practically useless. It puts the burden on them to sift through it, organise it in their minds, and pull out the key takeaways.
The vast majority of your readers won’t do that. If they can’t skim your post and quickly review the structure or how different sections relate, most won’t read through.
A bit more care before you start writing and before you hit “publish” will make your content much more valuable.
Before you start writing, brainstorm different headline ideas and choose the catchiest option. Organsze your thoughts into an outline to keep the transitions smooth and leave out any unnecessary meandering.
Before you publish, go over your piece with a fine-toothed comb. Check your spelling. Cut any confusing or repetitive language. And make sure your introduction and conclusion are strong.
Clarity is the name of the game here. The more organised and streamlined your content, the easier it is for people to engage.
9. Giving up Too Soon
Even if you avoid all the mistakes above, this one alone can make all the effort spent blogging worthless.
Blogging (and content marketing in general) is not a scheme to bring in a massive wave of customers or explode your revenue overnight.
It’s the conceptual opposite of things like pay-per-click advertising, where you invest some money for short-term boosts in sales.
Blogging takes time to pay off. It can take months of dedicated work before you move the needle in terms of traffic and engagement. But the long-term rewards — a full pipeline of leads, thought leadership in your niche, and sustainable growth, just to name a few — are more than worth it.
Give blogging the time it takes to succeed. It takes a while for search engines to catch on, to build relationships with influencers, and for readers to start to trust that your quality content is here to stay.
Your Path to Long-Term, Sustainable Growth
Blogging is an incredible tool that can help make your travel company stand out from all the rest.
Avoid the most common mistakes new bloggers make, and you’ll shave months or years off the process of building a profitable platform online.
Imagine being able to earn invaluable attention, not through sleazy marketing tactics, but a foundation of trust. Imagine being able to grow a platform designed to engage people most likely to become customers — and nurture them through the process.
That future can be yours.
Getting started today. Make every article as good as you can, track the results, and make changes as you continue to learn. Commit to blogging and learn from your missteps, and you will make it work!
Which of these mistakes have you made in the past? What did I miss? Leave a comment below and share your experience.
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons, theseanster93, Wikimedia Commons, Joe the Goat Farmer, donald_gunn, mr_john, tallchris, nicmcphee, geralt.
Thanks for reading! Are you a travel company owner or marketing director that wants more bookings?
Thanks for reading! Are you a travel company owner or marketing director that wants more bookings?
- To find out how 10x Tourism helps tour operators, agents and other travel companies get more bookings, CLICK HERE.
- To sign up for our free 7-day email course How to Grow Your Travel Business With Content Marketing, CLICK HERE.