Online Travel Content That Sells

ExpediaWhat’s the key to creating successful online travel content?

From blogs, photos and videos to competitions, surveys and social media campaigns, travel companies are very adept at creating content that brings traffic to their websites – but are surprisingly poor at converting those visitors into customers.

So what should these companies be doing differently? In my new role as Editor-in-Chief for Melt Content, I spoke to three travel experts to learn how to create great content that sells.

The interview article was written for Melt Content and published on Travolution. Read the complete article here.

What’s behind trolling?

Do you know about ‘trolls’? They’re the rather annoying individuals who anonymously post insults, threats and provocations on online forums, Facebook pages and newspaper comments sections. The BBC has recently published an excellent magazine article on the growing phenomenon, looking at the psychology behind it.

“Online people feel anonymous and disinhibited,” says Professor Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University. “They lower their emotional guard and in the heat of the moment may troll either reactively or proactively.”

The article also points out that, thanks to a recent surge in trolling behaviour, there’s been increasing pressure on governments and private organisations to put restrictions on – or even entirely abolish – online anonymity. However, Jeff Jarvis, author of Public Parts, has a far less draconion suggestion. “The answer is for newspaper websites and online forums to employ sufficient moderators to prevent the comments spiralling into petty vendettas.”

Well, that’s one solution – but there are plenty of others too. Shamelessly relating back to an article I first wrote over two years ago, here are ten top ways to keep the trolls at bay. Well, nine top ones and a rubbish voice censor.

For more insight into the world of online marketing, and for all your web copywriting needs, please get in touch.

Web spelling errors cost retailers ‘millions’

It’s official: spelling matters. New research reveals that simple spelling and grammatical mistakes cost web firms ‘millions of pounds’ each year.

Online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe claims that misspellings can foster major concerns about the credibility of a website, and therefore put off a slew of potential consumers – and potential income.

“Even cutting-edge companies depend upon old-fashioned skills,” says Mr Duncombe. “When you sell or communicate on the internet, 99% of the time it is done by the written word.” Continue reading

What Makes a Viral?


On 10th March 2009, the BBC’s Today current affairs radio programme ventured into the world of viral marketing by uploading a video to YouTube. The ‘viral’ – a video that rapidly gains popularity by being distributed and shared on the internet – was created as an experiment to see how widely the three-minute ad could spread in a short amount of time.

As of 31st March 2009, three weeks after being uploaded, Inside Today has been viewed nearly 55,000 times and has been emailed, instant messaged and blog linked across the planet. So far, so good. But the experiment has had its critics, with many questioning whether the Today promotional video can really be defined as viral. Continue reading

Propaganda: Marketing for the Masses

An iconic phrase from Nineteen Eighty-Four from Joe Reaney's Blog posting about Propaganda by Red C Marketing, Advertising Agency, Online Marketing Agency and Award-Winning Agency based in Manchester and London[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 17TH NOVEMBER 2009 BY RED C MAG]

Have you ever read Nineteen Eighty-Four? It’s about an everyman living under an oppressive totalitarian regime. The ‘proles’ are kept in a controlled state of poverty, living under almost constant surveillance and being ‘educated’ on a daily basis to believe in the inherent good of their government and the inherent evil of others. All in all, it’s a terrifying fiction. Well, if you can call it that. In fact, the regime in the novel closely resembles many real-life regimes of the twentieth century. And, much like the citizens of George Orwell’s dystopian world, the billions of human beings living under these govenments were mostly genuine and wholehearted believers. Their corrupt leaders successfully brainwashed them into thinking they were living the good life, even while terrible things (war, poverty, oppression) were happening all around them.

It’s a mightily impressive feat. So impressive, in fact, that you can’t help but wonder… how on earth did they do it? Continue reading

The Marketing Might of Music Streaming


Do you like music? Okay, stupid question: I might as well ask if you like converting oxygen into carbon dioxide, or Christmas Dinner. Everyone loves a good tune – with the possible exception of Andrew Lloyd Webber – and there’s nothing better than getting it for nothing. Remember how the holy grail of free music lured an entire generation into the open paws of that creepy Napster cat? Until the Recording Industry Association tied the bugger up in a burlap sack and chucked it in the Mississippi, of course.

Now, after a miserable half-decade of having to fork over cash for music, the free tunes are back; and it’s all thanks to applications like Spotify, we7 and Grooveshark. Music streaming services like these have become incredibly popular in an impossibly short amount of time, and they’re already having a big impact on the way music is made, distributed and charted. But forget all that. The important bit for us to realise is this: with all new forms of music consumption come all new advertising opportunities… Continue reading

The Great Potential of Petition Marketing


Here’s a question: how do you feel about Paris Hilton? Personally I have nothing against the pointless, insipid, spoilt, undernourished, narcissistic, empty-headed, fame-raping little brat… but I know others feel differently.

When Ms. Hilton was found guilty of drink driving in 2006, her PR team decided to harness the power of public outcry in a campaign to request her pardon. The Free Paris Hilton petition – which includes the incredible declaration “Paris provides beauty and excitement to our otherwise mundane lives” – received a fairly impressive 33,000 signatures. Unfortunately, a counter petition requesting that the socialite serve her full sentence was signed by over 91,000 people and featured on several major news channels in the US. Proof, if it were needed, that not everybody shares my innate capacity for forgiveness. Continue reading

Keeping the Trolls at Bay


If you have ever commented on a blog post, web news article or Facebook group, you will probably have come into contact with trolls. They are the thoroughly irksome, pedantic and occasionally downright unsavoury individuals who post irrelevant, inflammatory and/or abusive remarks in message boards, often with the sole intent of disrupting on-topic conversation or undermining other forum users.

For the most part, trolls are accepted as just one of those irritations that happen online – like receiving those persistent emails about enlarging your penis, or unwittingly helping to prolong Rick Astley’s career – but for us marketing types trolls are more than just an annoyance. The truth is that these cyber-tosspots cost advertising agencies in the UK alone millions of pounds every year. Continue reading

The Peaks and Troughs of Celebrity Endorsement


Really, what’s the point of celebrity endorsement? Does anyone actually care what kind of natural yoghurt tickles the tastebuds of a vacuous reality star, or which department store has flip-flops to fit a has-been pop singer? Perhaps, or perhaps not… it really depends who the celebrity is, and whether they appeal to the product’s target market. I, for one, am happy to believe that Peter Kay really does enjoy a cheeky pint of John Smith’s, and that Stephen Fry genuinely relishes “the soothing taste of Twinings”. And I’m also thoroughly convinced that Kerry Katona does – or did – her big shop at Iceland.

Good celebrity endorsements rely on a careful marriage between product and ‘star’. If the collaboration works then both brand and celebrity could reap the rewards, but if the two are utterly mismatched then the association could have a severely damaging effect on product sales, profits and worse – reputations. Continue reading

The Two Sides of Dark Marketing


Dark marketing may not be a popular topic of conversation down the pub, or a subject of family debate over a sunday roast, but last year the increasingly popular advertising technique got some important exposure through its use by that most cuddly behemoth of unquenchable consumerism… McDonald’s. The fast food giant, more normally associated with in-your-face mass-media advertising and sport sponsorship, was found to be the quiet and unassuming creator of a popular online computer game. Continue reading