Travel blogging is about providing inspirational, informative, useful and entertaining content. And it’s about quality texts, or it should be. However, the blogosphere is full of sloppy articles often produced by content writers under pressure or underpaid.
Small occasional mistakes, such as a missing full stop or comma, will be easily forgiven by your readers. Everybody is human, and mistakes are inevitable after all. Recurring mistakes or bad practices, though, are another story. They’re annoying. They can undermine your credibility as a company of travel experts and make your readers lose interest in your content.
Take note of some common mistakes and bad practices found in personal and corporate travel blogs that can annoy your readers and make sure you avoid them.
There’s nothing better than including tired old clichés in your texts to make it obvious you haven’t visited a city. You can’t give personal opinions or details, and you can’t take risks so what to do? Resort to bland phrases and expressions that could be applied to any city but, at the same time, tell nothing about any specific destination.
‘Visiting CITY X is like stepping back in time.’
‘It’s an amazing place.’
‘A hidden gem.’
‘A city of contrasts.’
‘It has a vibrant nightlife.’
‘There is something for everyone.’
Other classic overused expressions include ‘golden beaches’, ‘delicious’, ‘must-see’, ‘itchy feet’, ‘sense of wanderlust’, ‘charming villages’ and ‘epic’. It’s meaningless and lazy writing that reveals lack of knowledge.
Include overused quotes
‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.’ Saint Augustine
‘Not all those who wander are lost.’ J.R.R. Tolkien
‘Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.’ Anonymous
‘Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.’ Dalai Lama
‘Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.’ Paul Theroux
‘Life is a journey, not a destination.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.’ Anonymous
‘I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.’ Susan Sontag
You’ve seen them all, and so has everyone. These once inspirational quotes have been used so many times in blogs and social media that they don’t inspire anymore. You keep seeing them and thinking ‘Oh, no. Again?’ while rolling your eyes. They bore.
Don’t check your facts
A good way to annoy your readers is not checking your facts and getting them wrong. Use data or information from dubious sources with no date of publication, and don’t cross-check information. Oh, and don’t doublecheck that the information is correct and reliable.
If you’re not sure whether something is correct, don’t do any research and just write it and hope for the best. You could, for example, refer to Dubai as a country or say that Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s capital city (as terrible as they are, I can say I’ve seen them both).
Misspell place names
Another good way to annoy your readers is misspelling place names. It shows that you have neither done your research or bothered to copy and paste them from a reliable source to make sure there are no mistakes. Place names misspellings are particularly bad and annoying when you end up referring to another place. For example: writing Grenada instead of Granada or Columbia instead of Colombia.
Stuff your texts with keywords
If you need to include a specific SEO keyword in your article, make sure you include it in your text as many times as possible. Include it in your title, and metadata, of course, but also in the introduction, H1, and body text a million times. And don’t forget to include as many variations as you can, too. It doesn’t matter that it ruins the article. You just think of as many variations as you can, and stuff your text with them.
The best 10 summer activities in CITY for 2018
CITY is great place for summer activities, thanks to its long sunny days and good beaches. One very popular summer activity in CITY is swimming. Despite attracting mainly young tourists, the city is also popular amongst families, who choose CITY for its summer activities calendar and family-friendly restaurants.
If you are looking for activities in CITY for summer, keep reading. In this article, we share the best 10 summer activities in CITY for 2018.
Use the wrong picture
Sourcing images is a hassle, and one or two per post won’t do. You need to find one picture to illustrate every single element of your listicle, so the article is visually appealing and consistent.
Finding royalty-free images of major tourist destinations is easy. Finding pictures of specific museums, bars, shops or restaurants is another story, especially when they aren’t located in popular cities.
If you can’t find an image of food from a specific restaurant, you can use one from a different restaurant. It’s the same dish after all, right? If you want to annoy your readers, don’t check that the dish is exactly the same. For example, illustrate a section about a real carbonara from this authentic Roman restaurant with a picture displaying overcooked pasta with fresh cream. Then brace yourself for the comments…
How to avoid annoying your readers
Stick to writing about what you know
It’s the best way to avoid waffling and clichés. Externalise important destination-related guides and projects to freelance content writers with extensive knowledge about the city. If you need lots of content about your top destinations, consider setting up a team of collaborators based in those cities.
Don’t try to replicate someone else’s style. Find your voice and think of ways you can make your content unique and stand out – be it by using specific key terminology, typography and design or coming up with your own travel quotes. A language consultant can help you with the linguistic side of your branding strategy and create a content style guide.
Do your research and make sure you use reliable sources
If you’re currently externalising content, remember this – you get what you pay for. The less you pay your contributor, the less time and effort they will put into the project, and the higher the risks of lack of research, waffling, inaccuracies and mistakes.
Write for humans
Keywords are important but don’t get obsessed with SEO. Think of the purpose of each type of content you produce, as some types of text will be more SEO-focused than others. It’s not the same to write a landing page than an inspirational blog post. Use keywords when and where needed, but don’t overdo it.
Always proofread before publishing
Don’t proofread right after finishing your draft. Leave it to ‘rest’ a few hours (ideally overnight) and review it with a fresh mind. If you work in a team, you can proofread each other’s projects or, if that isn’t possible, you can assign that task to a freelance proofreader.
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IRENE CORCHADO RESMELLA is an English-Spanish translator and content writer based in Oxford. A former in-house content editor for two leading accommodation brands, she specialises in marketing translation and content writing for the travel industry, helping companies and travel marketing agencies alike. Irene is Inbound Marketing Certified, a frequent traveller and an active blogger at Piggy Traveller and The Curiolancer. ☛Get in touch for a quote