Welcome to Blogging for B&Bs, a series of posts exploring blogs and their uses and usefulness for B&Bs. In this series, we’re exploring what blogs are and how they can help you connect with your guests, coming up with ideas for blog posts, and writing the posts themselves. We’re also discussing when a blog might not be right for you, and some alternatives to blogging that will still help you connect with your guests.
Last week we discussed why adding a blog might be the right thing for your B&B. This week we’ll talk about what to do with the blog once it’s been added.
You’ll need to post consistently to see the benefits of a blog. That doesn’t mean every day; it doesn’t even mean every week. It just means that you set a schedule and stick to it. You can post every other day; you can post every other week. You can post once a month if you want, although you’ll see more benefit the more often you post.
If you post less frequently, your readers will usually give you a little leeway to write longer blog posts. If you post more frequently, it’s often a better idea to write shorter posts; then it’s easier for both you and your readers to keep up. But, there are no hard and fast rules in this world, just conventions. Sometimes it works to write long posts every day, and sometimes it works to write short posts once in a while. It’s up to you, and to how your readers respond.
When you first start your blog, it’s a good idea to have a few posts in reserve. It’s sometimes harder to come up with ideas at the beginning, so having 7 or 8 posts already written can help take the pressure off. Once you get into the rhythm of posting according to your schedule, you’ll find that it’s not so hard to find come up with new ideas and to craft posts around them.
Once you’ve decided what the theme of your blog will be (and this is entirely subjective—choose one theme or several, just stick to it once you’ve chosen), you’ll start to look at everything through that filter, and you’ll find inspiration everywhere, from the humdrum of everyday life to the excitement of the extraordinary. All of it is fodder for your next post.
For a B&B blog, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few post ideas to get you started:
• Are you famous for your breakfasts? Why not share your recipes? Post the ingredients of receipes you’ve used in the past, or recipes you tried and liked but that ultimately didn’t make the cut. Do guests ask you for particular receips all the time? Add those.
Add the stories that are behind the recipes, too. Write about the bears you saw while picking the berries that went into your famous blueberry muffins. Write about the kitchen disaster you had the last time you made a coffee cake. Discuss a connection some of your guests had over your sourdough pancakes. Let your personality and your spirit shine through.
• Have you had any interesting guests lately? And did they love your B&B? With their permission, post a picture of them and tell their story. Discuss the connections the you made while they stayed with you, and let everyone know that it’s the interesting people that keep you going year after year.
• Alaska weather is a topic of endless fascination for the travelers who come here. Is it finally sunny after three solid weeks of rain? Tell your guests just how beautiful it is, and how the rain keeps everything so green. Write a post or two about the seasonal or weather-related changes. Is termination dust starting to appear on the mountains? Your guests will want to know what termination dust is, and why it’s important.
• Even if fishermen are not your main clientele, chances are good there are a few staying at your B&B on any given day. Publish your local fishing report—from your perspective. Discuss your latest fishing trip and how your freezer is now full of sockeye fillets. Write about which flies the rainbows are hitting, or about combat fishing on the Kenai. It’s all a big adventure to the guests who have never been combat fishing before, or to those fly-fishing aficionados who stayed with you last year and still can’t stop talking to their friends about their trip.
• Do you know all the local trails? Write a post about your last hike and add pictures. Back up your claim to being the local trails guru (or paddling, or mountain biking, or climbing, etc.) by posting your excursions on your blog, and whet your guests’ appetites for the adventures they’ll have when they come.
• Do moose walk through your yard on a regular basis? How about that family of black bears that seems to call your area home? Your guests want to hear about all of the wildlife they’ll see when they come, so write about how the cubs are growing or about how the moose ate all of the willow shoots near the water.
• What festival is going on in your area that your guests must see when they arrive? Is the the Forest Fair, the Mt. Marathon Race, the State Fair? Or something less well-known, like a one-act play being staged at the local theater, or a local band putting on a show? All of these events hold interest for your guests, so get them interested in visiting your area—and in coming back.
Blogging doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. And, once you get the hang of posting regularly, you’ll find that you see ideas everywhere. Even better, you’ll keep your past guests interested in visiting your B&B, and they’ll share your posts with their friends—your future guests.
Next week: Writing Blog Posts