Reports show that to rank in search engines and market brands more effectively, websites need unique content added on a regular basis. One popular way to add this type of content is to write and publish blog posts. Blogs serve several purposes, including showcasing destinations, featuring a business and activities, driving visitors to websites, and providing readers an in-depth look at a particular subject. According to SearchEnginePeople.com, blogs have been rated as the fifth most trusted source for accurate online information. Online visitors want to hear it straight from the source, and blogs are an effective way to deliver that information. Ready to start? Here are some first-time blog tips from experts.
9 Blog Tips for Content Marketing First-timers
List Topics, Make a Schedule
The first step to creating a blog is plan content and make a schedule. Decide when to write the post, what day to publish and list out topics that readers will find interesting. Several companies offer scheduling services and software; however one popular option is WordPress. This site ranks well for cost, usability and online traffic insights. Customers can purchase a unique URL and blog for less than $12 per month, and the software is similar to editing in Microsoft Word or equivalent programs.
Once the site has been created, make a schedule and stick to it. According to CoSchedule, the best time to publish a blog is on Monday with the most traffic occurring around 11 a.m.
Pro tip: The goal is to pick a day and time and stick to it. Even if it’s only twice a month.
Next, list your topics. If thinking, “I don’t know what to write about,” think again. Your vacation destination has several interesting topics, and managers who live in the area offer a personal insight into these topics. While creating the list, think about your guests. What do they like to do? What should they see? Where should they eat? Asking yourself these questions will guide you in creating topics, and before you know it, you’re ready to write your first post.
Research and Write
Writing blog articles helps managers showcase the best things about their destination and share their personal stories with readers. Blog articles can also target and reach potential customers you want to visit your destination. The key to successful writing is having a passion for the topic and ensure the content is your best work every time.
For example, those writing a food article focused on the best burger restaurants should research review-rated sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato and Open Table. These sites provide insight into what restaurants are top-rated and why. Once the top restaurants are picked, write an article about why visitors should dine there. Things to consider include: atmosphere, pricing, family-friendly dining, menu and special diet options, food creativity, and service.
Pro tip: Consider writing and scheduling during the weekend. Many writers also prefer to write in the early morning or late evening when they have more uninterrupted time.
Image Selection: Photos, Graphics
In order to engage readers, posts should visually appeal to them, especially if you intend to share it on social media. If you have ever seen a eye-popping image and clicked on an article to read more, you’ve experienced the power behind images. Online users are not only drawn to high-quality images, but also enjoy seeing relevant images throughout the blog. Powerful images can tell a story, support the written content, enhance content and give users additional information.
Not sure how to pick a good photo or where to get them? A few things to consider are: lighting (too dark or too light); image quality (the image’s clarity); and relevancy (how it compliments the post). Content creators also have several sites to source images, such as iStock, Shutterstock, Pixels, Pixabay and Unsplash. See more photo sites picked by TechRadar.
Read, Edit, Read, Edit
Now that the copy and photos are done, it’s time to read and edit the article. Next to photos, content errors, misspellings and grammar errors will quickly turn a great post into one readers will discredit. Not everyone is a professional editor, and that’s OK. The important thing to do is to ensure everything is spelled correctly and it’s easy to read.
Pro tips: Read the article aloud at least twice. While reading:
- Create an accurate, catchy headline that includes important keywords
- Delete and rewrite copy
- Check for spelling and grammar
- Make sure the copy reads in an organized way
- Check for words used too often
- Use action verbs to improve the message and topic
- Then ask yourself, “Would I read this article?” If yes, then you’re ready to publish it.
“After a draft is uploaded, read and edit it at least twice before scheduling,” says Raven Petty, Content Director, iTrip Vacations. “Taking a few minutes to read and edit can save businesses from costly content mistakes and ensures each post serves as a credible source.”
Once the blog post is live, share it on active social media sites, post to groups, send it to your contacts, and include in any emarketing materials. Just one article can go a long way through online marketing channels. Property managers who have an active blog have the opportunity to increase interest, drive bookings, promote services, announce news and features, and build brand awareness.
Pro tips: Have fun! Try new distribution channels and ask for feedback. Before long, your audience and engagement will grow, building your brand and vacation rental business.
Do you have any blog tips for first-timers? Share in the comments below.