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How to Optimize Your Site for Voice Search

(or, Siri Isn’t Just for Kids Anymore)

For years, Apple users have been asking Siri to answer all sorts of questions, some not quite as innocent as the ones above. And for years, Siri has been delivering clever answers – but she’s also been learning.

Machine learning is a part of artificial intelligence (AI), and it’s how technologies like Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana are getting better and better at providing quality answers. Voice assistants don’t work alone, though; it’s up to us to make sure our sites are giving them the content to respond to voice searches.

For the most part, voice searches return similar – if not identical – results as typed queries. Users are still taken to a search engine results page, with a couple of possible exceptions. (As an example, if someone asks for directions on a mobile device, he may be taken to the device’s mapping app instead.)

Make Your Content Work for You

I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you: As content marketers, it isn’t enough to create new content and publish it to your website. That’s the “easy” part. The hard part is putting your content to work for you, where and when your audience is most likely to see it – and, more importantly, read it.

Take a step back for a second and think like a consumer instead of a marketer. We know that consumers think in micro-moments (thanks, Google), those seconds in which they’re scrolling through their news feed, performing a search or reading a news article – usually on a phone or tablet.

Google research tells us that 69% of leisure travelers who use smartphones search for travel ideas when they have spare seconds during the day, whether that’s while standing in line at Chipotle or taking a...

Planning Your 2016 Content Calendar

A 12-step plan to setting up a content calendar and plan for all your editorial needs

1. Look over your latest content audit (if it’s more than a year old, do another one) and identify gaps in content. Does your content align with your brand targets? Does it meet your audience’s needs and desires? Hannah Brown takes a thorough look at creating a content audit here.

2. See what users are engaging with. Go into Google Analytics and determine which pages got the highest views and time on page, and the lowest bounce rates. Don’t just pay attention to the topics that are getting the highest engagement – also look at their format. Are more people reading lists? Watching videos?

3. Don’t forget photos (and, even more important, videos). Rich media adds to your storytelling: help set the...

Print Has Its Place

I love websites. I mean, I’d better. But when I’m discovering a new-to-me destination, there’s nothing I like more than having a hard copy of a guide to that place: its must-sees, its neighborhoods, its people. Once I have some background, I’ll dive into specifics on the web. For me, print is inspirational, and the web is informational.

And I’m not alone. In the past 12 months, 51% of adult Americans used print resources to plan travel (source: The State of the American Traveler, July 2015). Travel magazines, guidebooks, print publications from DMOs – even the newspaper and direct mail were cited as helpful in planning trips.

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What Makes You Special?

It’s a wide, wonderful world, with so many places to visit. Travelers have a tough job when deciding where to go, and it’s our job to get their attention.

As destination marketers, we aren’t just selling destinations – we’re selling experiences, and what’s memorable for one person might be completely forgettable for another. One traveler might want to lie on a white sandy beach all day, and another might want to rappel off mountains.

Every place has something that sets it apart, but many organizations fail in differentiating themselves. For example, all of Florida has beautiful beaches, but only the Cocoa Beach area has Kennedy Space Center as an attraction and can market itself as “Orlando’s closest beaches.”

So what makes you special? Once you’ve figured that out, apply it to every part of your business – your brand message, your print and...