Customers often ask us for tips on how to generate fresh and relevant content for their blog or social media pages. In the latest episode of the InnSpeak podcast, I dug into this topic with Nicolette Johnston, a writer with a deep background in content creation for both digital and print publications. Nicolette Johnston currently runs Collette Publications, which publishes two print magazines, Bed & Breakfast Magazine and Chateaux and Castles Quarterly. Before starting Collette Publications, Johnston started her professional career as a travel blogger. With years of experience under her belt, she is overflowing with great tips for creating stellar, searchable content for your property. We hope this sparks some ideas so you can revisit your content feeling refreshed and inspired.
Listen to our full conversation below.
Consider Your Time Commitment
Before you start blogging or increasing your presence on social media, take a serious look at how much time you will need to dedicate to it. As innkeepers, you are used to wearing a dozen different hats at once. You are business owners, chefs, concierges, marketers, and now, concrete creators. It is important to go into your blogging or social media endeavors with a realistic understanding of how much work it will require. That way you can come up with a solid plan and stick to it consistently.
If you decide to commit yourself to writing a blog, remember that blogging requires a lot of time and effort. Your blog should be well-formatted, with pictures and video. More importantly, it needs to provide useful, interesting content that your readers will feel compelled to share on their own Facebook pages. To run a successful blog, you must like to write and be relatively good at it. No one is requiring you to write a Pulitzer Prize winner here, but basic understanding of grammar and style is essential. You must also have a basic knowledge of photography and web design.
Before you start a blog, ask yourself:
- Do I have the skills to do it?
- How much time can I allocate my content?
- Which outlet is best for me? If you feel that you don’t have the time or skills it takes to run a blog, you might decide to focus all your efforts on Facebook and Instagram instead.
That being said, there are always ways to generate high quality blog posts even if you don’t have loads of time. Focus on quality over quantity. In these over-saturated times, our attention spans are limited and people want posts that are short and sweet. Use this to your advantage. Employ bullet points (like we did above) and be sure to capitalize on white space, headers, and once again, photography. And remember, you don’t have to blog everyday. Once a week or twice a month is usually sufficient. What matters is creating a schedule and sticking to it.
For more in-depth information on blogging, be sure to download our exclusive Guide to Blogging. From crafting posts to sharing them on social media, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to run a successful blog without running yourself to the ground.
Focus On You
Your blog and social media page is the perfect place for you to showcase your local interests, knowledge, and recommendations. You are the one creating the content (unless you hire someone else to do it), so this is a space to focus on you. If you are posting about things you like or care about, then the process will be more enjoyable for you and people will most likely respond to it positively. Take some time to think about:
- What are you interested in?
- What do you like to do?
- What do you have to offer as an innkeeper?
- What is your speciality or niche?
- What is your background or the career you had before becoming an innkeeper?
- What is around you that you absolutely love?
Of course, you can always outsource the work, such as through Odysys’ own blog writing service. However, if you can maintain the blog or Instagram yourself, be sure to let your personality and passions shine through. Your readers or followers will love it.
Great Post Ideas
There are many different ways to create content. Blogging is an excellent way to get your brand out there even if people aren’t necessarily searching for lodging. Instead, they might be searching for content like “things to do” or “places to eat,” and your blog can be a great way to provide this information while also introducing them to your property. Remember, people might travel to your inn simply for the experiences they can have once they are there.
Embrace Your Inner Foodie
People love food. Use your blog or social media accounts to highlight the food at your property and around your town. Your blog or social accounts are perfect ways to showcase your breakfasts and the local eateries that you love. Remember the value of the breakfast you are serving and make them an active part of your content. After all, your complimentary breakfasts are helping people save both time and money and giving them a delicious and satisfying start to their days. Use your content to:
- Highlight your breakfasts
- Share your favorite recipes
- Recommend your favorite local restaurants
- Write about any food festivals or cooking classes offered in town
- And most importantly, always post photographs of your food!
Create content based on the season or holidays. Think about things to do each season, such as skiing in the winter or wine tasting in the summer, and then post about them. The great thing about seasonal content is that it is evergreen, meaning that in one year, it will be relevant again. You can share it annually, every time this season or event roles around. For example, if Cinco de Mayo is coming up, some blog post ideas might be:
- 5 Great Mexican Restaurants Near [Your Property]
- Our Enchilada Recipe Guests Love
- How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in [Your Location]
We also recommend downloading the National Event Calendar. You’ve probably heard of unique events like National Donut Day, National Churro Day, National Dog Day, and so on. Well, if you see one of these is coming up, create some content about it and post it on that day. For example, you could write a post about “3 Great Donut Spots Near [Your Property]” and then share it on National Donut Day, or take a photography of yourself eating a donut at one of these spots and then share that on Instagram using the appropriate hashtag. It is a quick and fun way to generate content without having to scramble to come up with a post idea.
Capitalize on Local Events
Stay up to date on local events and then write blog posts based around them. If you aren’t familiar with local events, take some time to scour county and town press releases or websites for events or festivals that might be coming up. Potential blog posts might be:
- How to Attend [Festival, Event] Like A Local
- What to Do After [The Festival]
- What You Can Skip at the [Festival]
If it is an annual event, remember that this content is also evergreen and can be posted the next time the event happens, though some minor edits or updates might be necessary.
Are You Pet Friendly or Kid Friendly?
We know not all properties are pet or kid friendly, but if you are, use this to your advantage and create content around it. Don’t just showcase your property as kid or pet friendly. Showcase your entire destination that way. Post photograph or dogs or families at your property, show off your own furry friend, and always create the type of content that pet lovers or families will find useful. For example, you might write blog posts like:
- 5 Things to Do with your Dog in [Your Location]
- The Best Pet Friendly Patio Restaurants or Breweries in [Your Location]
- 5 Free Things to Do with Kids in [Your Location]
- The Perfect Family Vacation to [Your Location]
As we said, it is very important to use photography in your blog and social media accounts. Luckily, your iPhone or android take excellent pictures that can capture the beauty of fresh muffins or morning hike just as well as a professional photographer. Check out our Photography for Innkeepers guide for tips & tricks for snapping beautiful, eye-catching photos.
From blogging to Instagram, it is easy to create high quality searchable content for your property that will improve your SEO and boost your direct bookings. All you have to do is start.