One industry that I think is fertile ground for marketing content is Bed and Breakfast inns. These inns provide a more picturesque, intimate experience than bigger hotels, and as far as I know, most of them seem to be run by the owners. So it seems to make perfect sense that innkeepers would blog about their inns. But do they?
I searched for [bed and breakfast blog] on Google.
What surprised me is that most of these blogs haven’t been updated recently. If you look at this screenshot, one of these blogs was last updated in April! The blog with the most recent post (not in the screenshot) was on August 24.
I changed the search to pages updated in the last week, and got a wholly different set of results. Even so, one blog listed in the first page was updated 2 days ago; everything else was between 5-7 days.
The Blue Door on Baltimore, for example, has a charming blog with photos and behind-the-scenes info about the running of the inn, as well as tips on what to do in Baltimore. But the blog hasn’t been updated for over a year: there were three posts in the first week of June 2012, and nothing since. Is the inn still running?
Big Mill B&B’s innkeeper Chloe Tuttle shares recipes and local information on her blog. The blog is updated about 1-3 times a month, which is low for most businesses but seems outright prolific for a B&B blog.
Inn Notes is a similar blog — similar content, similar post frequency. What’s interesting is there doesn’t seem to be a website: the blog just links to their Trip Advisor page and social media pages.
Blisswood Bed and Breakfast’s blog is more direct in its marketing: the post titles speak directly to the prospect and seem to be trying hard for some SEO-juice (“your unique Texax wedding venue,” “catch some fun (and fish),” “gather at BlissWood for your family reunion”) and tells you what you get, with photos of customers using those services. Every post has a call to action, with an number you can call.
Life in a Bed and Breakfast is more of a personal blog: the innkeeper writes about his work in the inn, especially in the garden, with lots of appealing photos. What I found surprising though, is there were no links to the inn’s website. Just one prominent link, please?
Claiborne House’s blog is frequently updated, with almost daily posts. But the posts are mostly informational: what you can do in the area, etc. Quick and efficient. I don’t like that you get the entire post as a pop-up when you click on the link.
Hopton House in the U.K. has amazingly beautiful pictures. I wish they’d update it more often and add more text — lovely stories to go with the pictures would add so much more.
So what can we learn from these blogs, whether or not you’re a B&B innkeeper?
- Post more frequently than the competition. Especially if you’re in a business where there aren’t a ton of popular blogs (unlike, say, marketing), writing more often will help you cut through the clutter and get you noticed more quickly.
- Use photos. Photos add a lot of attraction to your blog or site, and you don’t have to be a professional photographer. We want to see what your business/team/product looks like.
- Leverage others’ news. Don’t have enough to say about your business every week? Write about what’s happening in your industry: an event in your area, a customer who’s doing something interesting, even a competitor.
- Help your reader. Provide recipes (how-to, informational guides) they can use.
- Be personal. Especially for small businesses, your personality is important. Your customers need to trust you, to like you. Tell them about yourself and make it easier for them to know you.
How do other businesses blog? Check out this post on promotional products blogs!