Most hoteliers who want to start blog writing for their property don’t know where to begin. Starting a new hotel blog seems like an impossible task, especially if you aren’t familiar with the industry. This article was created to address some basic information for those who want to try their hands at blogging, as well as for authors who may be looking to fine-tune some of their search engine efforts. Read on to learn about some best blogging practices and how to align them with the needs of hotels and resorts. You’ll be on your way to creating quality, optimized content in no time!
Know Your Hotel Blog Audience
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, knowing your key demographic is vital for any marketing effort (see Persona Profiles >>). When you know your audience, your blog writing can speak directly to their needs and wants. This helps you attract followers, increases the likelihood of your content being shared, and overall boosts your hotel blog’s stats and conversions (transforms readers to booking guests).
For instance, if you’re blogging for a hotel whose average guests are families on vacation, you’ll want to focus on fun things to do in the area for children, special upcoming events and things that your property offers kids and parents. Your blog would be completely different than one for college students on spring break.
Start Blog Writing!
Once you’ve isolated your audience, you can begin to build the quality content we keep talking about. Make an effort to enrich your writing with vivid description that draws the reader in and convinces them to choose your hotel over other options in the area. Your blog isn’t a dry pamphlet that merely lists the accommodations or amenities you have to offer – it’s a page to offer insight to what’s in store for potential guests!
Like we’ve said, this can be a cumbersome task. However, the payout is well worth the effort of building a beautifully written article that not only speaks to the audience but also results in conversions for your hotel. Think about what’s happening in the area that your guests might want to know more about, or write a post about upcoming improvements to your property. The key is to keep content fresh, exciting, and to add value to your hotel that turns readers into future guests.
Of course, don’t forget to proofread for any typos. Remember, you’re representing your brand and the Internet is full of former English-teacher critics who would have booked your resort had it not been for that embarrassing apostrophe gaffe.
Choose Your Keyword Wisely
SEO, or search engine optimization, is something that you may have heard before, and it’s the driving force behind practically all internet marketing efforts, especially blog writing. Having a well-optimized blog is necessary to improve your reach, increase your audience and therefore increase your bookings. How is this done?
When you sit down to write, you’ll most likely already have a subject in mind. Think about what you searched to learn more about the subject. This term will probably help you frame your keyword for the article. A keyword is the phrase that describes what your page is about, and will help categorize your post. For example, if you wanted to write all about the concerts going on in your area, you might use “Boston concerts” or “concerts in Boston” for your keyword. Once you have narrowed down your keyword, you can move on to creating your post.
A well-optimized blog post will be at least 3 paragraphs in length. Try to mention your keyword at least twice throughout the content, but don’t overdo it. A lot of beginning bloggers think they need to plug in the keyword every chance they get, but that is really annoying, search engines won’t post your stuff (they’ll mark it as spam) and your bounce rate will skyrocket. Write something that you’d want to read – not something that you think Google or Bing will love. They’re not your audience.
Links can help keep your audience engaged as well. Internal links to other posts you’ve written will help keep your readers on your site (for example, take a look at this piece on proper tone for Internet marketing >>). You can always link to an external site as well, but I’d recommend setting the link to open in an external window so the reader stays on your post.
It helps to break down your content into visually appealing segments so it doesn’t appear as intimidating for the faint-of-attention-span.
- Bullet points focused
- A reader’s attention to
- This awesome haiku.
As you can see, I was using this example to naturally direct readers to the point I wanted to make. If you don’t feel like using bullets, that’s okay. You can also emphasize other ways, like by bolding specific terms, which I have already done throughout this particular post, or by writing them in italics. However, italics aren’t as attention-grabbing as bolded terms. You probably didn’t notice the other italicized words in this article, did you?
If you went back to check, that’s okay.
Put a Name on It
You’ll need a catchy title for your post that not only defines what it’s about, but also gets people to click on the blog. Clarity is imperative for any title. You’ll also want to pose a question and solution or begin your title with a “How to….” setup. Numbers work well to get people reading, so you can always try something like, “8 Ways to…”, etc. It doesn’t hurt to have an attention-grabbing name for your blog, too.
You could also go for shock value when titling your work. Statements like “Is Your Blog Gathering Too Many Followers?” would definitely work on most people. It all depends on the angle you want. Plus, it never hurts to experiment to see which works the best for your needs with different pieces. Remember, it’s all about gathering more traffic over time, and it won’t suddenly gain a huge following over night.
On the Importance of Meta Data
Meta data can definitely make or break you when it comes to your optimization. For any page, blog or otherwise, you’ll need:
- A SEO Title (what you see in the tabs when you hover your cursor over them).
- A Page URL, preferably one with your keyword.
- A Focus Keyword that is mentioned in the content at least twice.
- A Meta Description, which is what you’ll see on a list of Google results, which is what pulls the reader in.
It’s important to optimize the images that you use in your blog. Did I not mention how important images are? In a very picture-driven world, your hotel blog will vastly benefit from having images of the property, the surrounding area and even cool things to do in the area. After all, seeing is believing, and you’ll want to prove that your hotel has plenty to offer in terms of comfort, relaxation and overall ambiance. Pictures add zest to your blog writing sales message!
There are certain tags that you can use to define your image, to make those great for search as well. For those using WordPress, you’ll see want to place your keyword in relation to the image you’re using in the alt text space. You can also add captions to your image, whether to help define the picture, add humor (and keep the reader’s attention) or just to title the photo.
Don’t forget to categorize your content, which helps readers discern whether the page has what they want to know. This is the easiest part of blogging. Just choose no more than 2-3 categories for your post for ideal exposure. This helps search engines decide how relevant your content is to the searcher’s query. At the end of the day, you’ll get a hotel blog post that attracts readers with well-optimized content that speaks to what they want to know!
But That’s a Lot of Work…
Keeping any blog up and running can be a lot of work, even more so when it’s a professional hotel blog. If you’d rather leave it in the hands of the experts, just let us know! Valet Interactive provides quality services for independent and brand hotels, which include stellar blogging and social media management. See what we can provide for your business and request an RFP today!