We’ve talked before about what kind of content you should try and incorporate into your social strategy to help build your brand’s story online. Another way to build your narrative and presence online is through your blog. Having a blog, although it may seem like a chore, provides a stream of genuinely useful content for your guests, and can also attract new guests to your hotel! These days it’s essential for most businesses, big or small, to have a blog. We expect much more from service providers than we used to, and a blog is a great way of building a community and a stronger relationship with guests. It’s also more effective than SEO and social media in increasing your web traffic. Search engines consistently favour sites that provide current, up to date content – meaning if you keep your blog posts fresh, dynamic and try to post consistently, it will attract more eyeballs.
Having a voice and telling a story
Living in the age of information is a double-edged sword for businesses. There are so many platforms to speak to people on, and so many things to talk to them about! It’s no longer enough to hone in on one medium, and for some hotels, not enough to stick to the basics – room deals, room prices, hotel features. There is so much competition – not just from other hotels, but OTAs, travel websites – the hospitality industry is teeming with information! It’s overcrowded, which makes it even more important for you to do what you can to stand out. It’s not necessary to shout, but it’s an opportunity to expand on who you are as a business, and add genuine value to your guest’s experience. It’s a bit high level, but think Airbnb – their blog is brimming with a gorgeous variety of rich content, ranging from destination guides, to ‘meet your host’ pieces. They’re simultaneously crafting a narrative around who they are, making themselves seem ‘human’ and relatable, whilst also providing useful, practical information that guests can benefit from.
But where should you start?
As with all of your communications, you have to understand who you’re talking to. Crafting a persona is a handy way of reminding yourself of your ideal guest profile, and it’s good to be able to continue coming back to this if you need a reminder on whether a blog idea will actually be of use or interest to your audience. It also helps you to understand your audience a little more – without an understanding of how they think, what they’re like and what they want, you won’t be equipping yourself with the tools you need to truly engage them – and truly engaging them is the goal!
What’s your focus?
It’s important to have a consistent voice and theme running through your blog posts. That should come quite naturally to you once you get going. It sounds cliche, but be who you are! You won’t connect with people if you’re not coming across as authentic. Topic-wise, be led by your audience and amalgamate content they would enjoy, with content they will find useful. Think local guides on historical landmarks, lists outlining the Top 5 Tastiest Brunches / Best Pubs / Best Beaches, monthly pieces detailing what’s on in the area. People are coming to your hotel from all over! Give them the lowdown on how to get around.
Don’t be afraid to communicate who you are, either. Build an ‘internal people / culture’ strand into your content plan, so people can also relate on a personal level. Whether you’re a big-time, bustling Dublin city hotel or a quaint 5-room B&B on the Aran Islands, people like stories about other people.
A few more pointers
Always remember that it’s about quality. Develop out a little content plan for yourself with a nice balance of the different types of content you want to consistently post. Then, decide how often you are going to post and stick to this! You can even start to gather guests’ email addresses and send a bi-weekly or monthly ezine to subscribers with all your latest content. Just make sure the quality isn’t compromised when you’re short of time. Be realistic when you are developing your strategy – will you really have time to post a blog weekly? If it’s more realistic to post something bi-weekly, do that. If it’s a rich, well-thought out, useful piece of content, that will be of more value to your audience than two slightly rushed, panicked pieces.
It’s also important to consider the design of your website blog. It needs to be clear, on-brand, easy-to-navigate, and visual. Colours and pictures play a vital role in the look and feel of your blog and will absolutely be the difference between someone coming back or not.
And finally, promote, promote, promote! If you’re going to put time and effort into creating this wonderful hub of content for your audience it’ll be no good if people can’t see it. Use your social channels, send content through a regular ezine. Promote at all costs! You will slowly start to see readership rise. With this, you’ll be able to get a practical sense for what kind of content your audience is preferring, and perhaps you can hone more in on this as you continue on.
Take a quick look at this if you want a step-by-step guide on the basics of getting a solid blog together. Now get writing!