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Content Marketing 17 min read

How To Create A Content Strategy For A Travel Project Using Serpstat: TripMyDream Experience

how to make content strategy for travel project
Евгения Сидорчук
Eugenia Sidorchuk
Head Editor at TripMyDream
Content marketing is a lifesaver for any brand that wants to build trust with the audience, create an emotional connection, and grow an army of brand advocates.

Inspired by this idea, we've launched a TripMyDream media platform, which attracts more than half a million sessions per month to our service.

In this article, I will go into detail on how we achieved this, how to create the content strategy for a travel project, and improve the performance of existing articles using Serpstat.

Why Do Travel Projects Need Media Content

To start, let us introduce ourselves. TripMyDream is a flight and travel search service that helps thousands of people worldwide plan their trips.

Our ultimate goal is to create an ecosystem for travelers, where everyone can find helpful info about traveling, get inspired for new trips, get answers to all questions and find the most affordable flights. We evoke emotions in our users and allow them to turn these emotions into reality by offering tickets for their dream trips.

Media is the part of our project dedicated to these crucial components - emotions, dreams, planning, and valuable content. We aim to inspire users and teach them how to travel excitingly and affordably. As for the benefits for our brand, with clever content marketing, we cultivate top-of-mind awareness in our users by creating an association with traveling and gradually nurture our brand advocates. It's fantastic to become a client's friend who knows everything about trips.
I think this is essential for any business. Whatever industry you work in, the brand must become a customer's friend they can trust and ask for help.

What Articles We Publish at TripMyDream Media

At first, we used to publish educational articles and some selling content like selections of affordable flight tickets. Just like many other flight ticket price aggregators do.

Then we decided to expand, and added:
news
UGC articles
lifehacks
interviews.
Thus, from a small blog, we have grown into a full-fledged media platform that helps readers solve their pressing issues.

How Lockdown Affected TripMyDream Media

It's no secret that the pandemic has hit the travel niche hard. And we were no exception. During the first couple weeks after the quarantine announcement, we experienced a significant drop in reach on social media. However, we got our bearings on time and adjusted our strategy according to the circumstances. Now the reach has returned to average "pre-quarantine" rates.

Currently, the audience is quite active as, during quarantine, people have more free time than usual. Our goal is to motivate the readers to spend some of this extra time with us. For instance, we launched the StayHomeMiles game, in which users complete daily assignments, and earn home miles to then can exchange them for travel prizes. User engagement was fantastic!

Planning and Analysis

Once a quarter we analyze and plan the content strategy and teamwork. Once in three months, we travel out of town or abroad for a few days to discuss our successes and failures in the past quarter and set our priorities for the next 3 months. This event is called OKR - Objectives and Key Results.

At OKR, we determine the guidelines for the editorial team according to the requests:
Product: if we launched a new feature, we need to include content in the content plan and SMM strategy that will teach the audience how to use it.
SEO: if the season is approaching or the frequency of a search query is growing, we write articles that will be as relevant as possible to users' search queries.
Seasonality: we add holidays and seasonal events to the content plan.
Historical data: based on our expertise, we can predict the popularity of flight tickets at a particular time of the year, so we add articles about them to the plan.
How we work the rest of the time

We evaluate the results every day with Google Analytics. Once every 2 weeks we hold a meeting on analytics: we collect data and look at the dynamics (media, Telegram, organic search, PPC, email, etc.) At the end of the quarter, we present the results in a Data Studio report.

How to Create a Content Plan

We use a well-known content matrix where we have informative, entertaining, educational, and selling content. In addition to this grouping, we also highlight such subcategories of content:
Evergreen. These articles are always relevant: how to find the cheapest flight tickets, carry-on luggage rules, or what to do if you made a mistake during flight ticket purchase.
Seasonal. This content is linked to the demand growth for specific destinations based on the season. We track it using Google Analytics. Monitoring these trends gives an understanding of destinations we must include in the content plan.
For instance, it is better to write about the UAE and Thailand in the fall when people are planning to purchase or have already bought tickets. Articles about European countries are the most popular in spring and summer. The same applies to holidays; we plan the content about them in advance.
Situational. This type of content cannot be foreseen and added to the content plan in advance. You respond quickly - you get a bunch of traffic.
Helpful content. This type of content aims at solving a specific problem for the user.
For instance, we often take questions from the FAQ section, write detailed articles on a particular issue, or put together small question-answer texts. You can also ask users on social media for their requests. Such feedback guarantees that the content will be relevant to the reader's interests.
According to analytics, our most popular content genre is articles like Top 20 Most Exciting Places In Paris. Such content is a great fit for social media, as it stays in search engines for a while and drives good traffic. Also, we can always update, improve, and optimize them to make them even more attractive to search engines.

We regularly analyze which articles performed well before, what is now in trend, and which are most successful among competitors. To maximize the effectiveness of this analysis, we use the Serpstat toolkit.
Of course, we had to review our content plan for the near future and develop a retention plan. A significant part of the audience comes to our platform to see a selection of affordable airline tickets. We can't offer them this type of content due to current circumstances, so we should figure out something just as valuable as a replacement.

According to very optimistic forecasts, international flights may get back to normal by the fall of 2020, by less optimistic forecasts, not earlier than at the beginning of 2021. What should we do with such sad predictions? Adapt and be flexible.

We completely reoriented our content strategy to domestic tourism as traveling around Ukraine is uncharted territory, full of opportunities. That opens a new world of content ideas for us to help our audience discover the many fantastic places our country has to offer. Many travelers have visited dozens of countries yet haven't even seen their own :)

Working with Serpstat

We have been working with Serpstat for several years, and, I must say, this has significantly sped up our editorial processes. Most often, we use the service to:
find topics that will drive excellent traffic
With Serpstat we don't need to guess and rely on intuition.
competitor analysis
There's no need to manually browse through dozens of pages in search of top-performing articles.
optimizing older articles that are still relevant.
Now let's get into specifics on how we use the Serpstat tools for our goals.

Identifying Top Pages

Key content on TripMyDream is evergreen articles - these pieces will always stay relevant if regularly updated and optimized. Every editor knows the types of articles that spread like wildfire on social media and get fantastic user feedback.

However, these articles don't always coincide with those that Google prefers and ranks in the top search results.

Serpstat comes in handy to help you identify the search engine's favorites.

The algorithm is as follows:
1
Enter the domain in the search bar, select the database and click Search.
2
Go to Domain Analysis → SEO Research → Top Pages.
By default, this list shows pages that rank for the maximum number of keywords. But since we are only interested in the results from the media section of our website, we need to specify our request.

To do this, we go to the filters section of the report, choose the URL filter, and add our parameter: URL → Contains all→ media.

As a result, we get a list of best-performing articles from our blog and find out how much traffic they can potentially drive.
After reviewing the list, we can select an article we want to work on, click on Organic Keywords and see what keywords this article ranks for. Then we take note of the keywords for which the website has low rankings in search results.

Optimization of Existing Content

We proceed to optimization after choosing the article that should drive even more traffic than it already does. Let's take the 20 places to see in Paris article as an example.

We go to the URL Analysis toolCompare URL, enter the link into the search bar, and get a list of similar articles on other websites.

We can choose some relevant competitors' articles from the list below or enter them manually. In the generated report, we get a list of unique keywords each competitor ranks for and then add relevant ones to our article.
Both SEO specialists and editors are involved in the article optimization: we are responsible for basic optimization, and SEOs are thoroughly working on those articles that may drive the most traffic.

Competitor Analysis

For collecting topic ideas we haven't worked on yet, it is worthwhile to analyze competitors. We could find competitors manually, but it's much more efficient to automate it with Serpstat.

Here's what we can do:
1
Go to our project.
2
Choose URL Analysis Competitors. Enter the URL of the project in the search bar and select the database.
3
Voila! We get a list of websites similar to ours.
To find competitors, enter your domain address in the form below:
In our case, we received a massive list of competitors for the main domain, so it makes sense to combine automation with the manual method to filter out irrelevant competitors.

We focus on the competitors that run travel-related blogs for our editorial goals. I recommend always collecting and storing your competitors' list in a separate document to have it on hand and not miss anything.

Let's move on. We need to determine which competitors' articles are the most popular and, therefore, what topics could potentially drive traffic to our website.
1
We select a competitor we want to analyze. You can find your competitors in organic search results through the form below:
2
Enter the competitor's domain name, select a database, click Search.
3
Go to Domain Analysis → SEO Research→ Top Pages → Domain with subdomains.
As a result, we see the most popular pages of the competitor website and, in particular, articles. If the articles are on a separate page of the site, add it to the filter. We can also estimate how many keywords they use in their content and what potential traffic they could drive.

Search for New Topics

We updated older articles, and analyzed our competitors, what's next? Let's dive into the helpful content. To understand the users' interests and problems they'd like to solve, we will use Keyword Research.

To do this, select a search query, for instance, vacation rentals:
1
Enter the query to the search bar, select the database and click Search.
2
We get to the Overview report for the keyword. There we can see the summary on this search query.
3
Proceed to Content Marketing Search Questions.
This report allows you to understand what questions the users ask regarding the search query. Consequently, these questions can become the basis for future articles.

There is a common belief that the more diverse content the brand creates, the more awareness it gets. Of course, there is some truth to it, but it's much more effective to help the readers solve their problems.

Conclusion

Regularly analyzing articles with Serpstat lets us know what to write about and how to improve our content. We no longer need to manually scroll through dozens of competitors' website pages in search of top articles. Also, analyzing users' interests has become much more accessible; as with Serpstat, we can see the users' exact questions on Google and identify how we can help them.

We move quickly and efficiently towards the content zen, where editorial efforts and reader requests balance each other out, making us a little better and happier.

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