Writing versus blogging: what matters?
The Tartan Group has been a sponsor of Social Media Camp since 2011. Each year, we organize a session on social media trends targeted at the tourism industry that we serve. For the 2013 session, we wanted to have a larger debate to give some context to why we are leading our tourism PR clients to integrate their public relations, marketing and advertising campaigns. At the conferences we attend and speak at for the Tartan Group, we are often approached by business owners and travel writers who will vehemently defend their right to NOT use social media. Of course they have that right. Yet the debate rages on – and the number of travel bloggers who use all the social media and web resources at their fingertips grows, while we in the industry have a difficult time getting travel support for travel writers that are acknowledged as highly skilled journalists.
What we know for sure is that the industry has changed and the metrics that guide it have changed as well. Consider the recent USA Today story reporting that NC2 Media paid $77.3 million for the Lonely Planet travel guides – less than HALF of what the BBC paid for the firm in 2007. Why would that be? The story quotes the promise to marry the world’s greatest travel information and guidebook company with the limitless potential of 21st century technology.
The world of travel PR has changed too. When the Tartan Group vets a travel writer, we check their outlets and stories, but we also check beyond the circulation of the traditional media they write for. We check the page rank of their online publications, we read their blog and we check to see if they also have an active and engaged twitter following, whether they post pictures of travel locations on Pinterest or Instagram. We check to see if they use Reddit, Scribd or any other web based outlet that can give our client backlinks.
Figure 1 While 78% of marketers intend to increase their marketing budgets, search engine optimization ranks right up with social media as the tactic and of course, in cases of promoting blogs via Google+, those two tactics are one and the same.
Yes, I said the dirty word: Backlinks.
Is travel writing all about great writing, engagement and reaching out on social media? No – Tartan sees a world of integrated marketing where search engine optimization is as carefully crafted as a social media or advertising campaign and where all the pieces of the orchestra work together to create a massive sound. A great travel writer with superior outlets who also understands the value of search engine optimization and social sharing has more value for our tourism clients.
This year we are hosting a panel at Social Media Camp to discuss the world of travel writing and are bringing in two experts in their fields who can bring different points of view. Tom Gierasimczuk is the Editor in Chief of BC Business Magazine, a premier supplier of business information. Tom is an interesting panel member because he also was the editor of Westjet’s Up! Magazine and Marketing magazine. Tom has been on the front lines of change in the print industry and is leading the charge into digital. For a bloggers perspective, we have Joslin Fritz a travel writer and avid tweeter @ladysherpa who we met via @tartangroup while on business in Europe. You can read Joslin’s travel blog at http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/blogs/ladysherpa/’
The session will be facilitated by Deirdre Campbell, President of the Tartan Group, past chair of Tourism Victoria and current board member of KCTS9 public television.
Send in your comments and questions to help Deirdre lead the discussion!