Blogging Homework for Bed and Breakfasts
I get a lot of questions from Bed and Breakfasts who either want to start blogs, or have set up a blog and then don’t know where to go from there.
Before actually blogging, do some homework and answer these questions. They are important in terms of being able to identify your long term goals, and to also identify whether blogging is worth the time and effort to do at all.
Who is your target market? Retired? Couples? Families? Pet Friendly? Other? (This is important, because when you start blogging, you want to target your content. Blogging about things to do in the area that are perfect for romance may be wonderful and interesting, but miss the point if your target clientele is people with kids.)
Write a description of your perfect target client/customer/guest. Age, gender, married/single/significant other.
Where does your target market spend time online? (if you don’t know, find out)?
Dog Friendly for example, a good place to hangout would be breed specific forums. Upscale clientele like Luxury Car Facebook Pages. Brides love Pinterest. Techies love Google+, Business people like twitter and Linkedin. Think about this, because you will want to target those networks with blog posts, some posts can be more specific then others.
What’s your reason for blogging? (This is important to identify because you need a reason for doing it, generally people pick the first 4 things, but many times you may have an additional reason to blog, and putting it writing and identifying what it is, is helpful in that it gives you a goal to work towards.)
- Your Competition is doing it?
- Search Engine Optimization?
What do you hope to accomplish? (Be specific, and THINK about it. If you can’t identify a reason to do, then don’t)
How long a period of time are you willing to commit to doing it? (This is important, because blogging is a long term commitment, I’ll be blunt and say don’t start one unless you plan to spend time long term investing in actually doing it.)
How much time can you realistically put aside per day/week to work on blogs? (Blogging does not have to be a huge time commitment, a few sentences and a photo can be a blog post, a list of local events can be a blog post. You don’t have to write a novel. The easiest way to blog is get ahead of yourself. Write a bunch a short and sweet blog posts up ahead of time that are non date dependant and have them ready to go when you get stumped and don’t feel like writing. Or write a bunch up in advance and pre-schedule.) See 25 Blogging ideas for Inns and B&B’s, if you need some ideas and 30 Reasons why Innkeepers should be blogging, if you need some more reasons to blog.
Set Some Realistic Project Goals.
- January 7th – Register/Start a blog or make sure your blog is customized and optimized.
- February 7th – Start compiling ideas for use on the blog.
- March 7th – Start compiling photos for use on the blog.
- April 7th – Start compiling area links/activities/things to do sites for reference.
- May 7th – Set up a Pinterest account to pin photos from your blog.
- June 7th – Go out and source other blogs to trade links with. i.e. other B&Bs similar to yours, if your inn specializes in something, quilting for example. go find some relevant quilting blogs, historical, pet friendly etc. Think about guest posting or getting them to guest post.
- July 7th – Go out and source forums where you can non spam-ily post links to your blog. Linkedin, Google+, specialty forums. Many forums allow a digital signature so you can include a link to your blog. If you have specific posts related to a forum make sure your digital signature goes to http://www.blog.janedoeinn.com/bmwsgowild instead of just http://www.blog.janedoeinn.com/ for example.
Or set numerical goals.
- Mid March – Get 10 new readers or subscribers to the blog
- Mid April– Get 20 new readers or subscribers to the blog
- Mid May – Get 30 new readers or subscribers to the blog
- Mid June – Get 40 new readers or subscribers to the blog
- Mid July – Get 50 new readers or subscribers to the blog
- If you do start a blog for your B&B and then decide to abandon it, keep it up (online) but make sure you put in your last blog post some information about where else your spending your time online. Because blog posts are searchable by the search engines and do help with SEO, even an older blog can help you if the content is still online.
I’ve said this many times before, but don’t advertise it, if you are not going to actively use it. From the Gen X (anyone born after the 60s) and Gen Y perspective, it looks sloppy. If people go to a businesses page and they advertise that they blog and the blog has never been used, or last updated a year ago, the potential customer tends to wonder whether the business runs their business that way as well.
If you find that you are not getting anything out of blogging, then don’t do it, but give it time to get established before giving up on it. A couple of months of blogging, or a dozen posts is not a realistic amount of time or effort to put into it. If you get frustrated, go back and review what you wrote your reasons for blogging were.