If you suffer from blogophobia, here are 20 tips to get your travel or leisure brand’s blog up and running quickly.
Blogs are the launching point for the social media strategies of many travel & leisure brands. But the idea of starting a blog scares off many marketing pros.
Michael Gass, one of the leading experts on business blogging, gave me these 20 tips when I started the 5 to 9 Branding blog.
- Have a clear objective: Are you trying to attract new customers to your e-commerce site? Build a following for a new product? Build a database of customer email addresses? Spell it out.
- Identify your target audience:The better you can define and narrow your audience, the more successful your blog will be. My target is U.S. travel and leisure marketing pros.
- Compose a descriptor statement: A subtitle that states emphatically what your blog is about (i.e. Your expert guide to finding local deals on designer fashions). The more specific the better.
- Create a unique title for your blog:It’s helpful if you can tie in the title with a URL that you own. Copyblogger.com says make it: Readable, Pronounceable, Memorable, Unique and Concise.
- Buy the URL associated with your blog title: Instead of having a WordPress.com, Typepad.com or Blogspot.com URL. That way if you move your site, you get to keep your audience.
- Identify the key words that you want to dominate in Google Search: Consistently include your key words in your post titles, and in the copy of your post.
- Develop 10 categories that you will write to: These will help guide your writing and will facilitate navigation of your blog’s content for your readers.
- Start with a simple blogging platform that you can easily switch from in the future. Michael Gass suggests WordPress.com, which I use.
- Keep your IT and creative departments out of the picture in the beginning: That way you’ll keep the process simple and focus on writing your blog’s content.
- Set a goal for writing 50 posts within 30 days: This will help you to develop your research, resourcing, writing and publishing skills. The discipline of writing the first 50 will help you later.
- Make your blog easy to navigate: Use Top Posts, Categories, etc. Install a search widget that is included in your blog’s sidebar and located above the fold.
- Create a “Welcome” section: Include a photo to make it more personable. The “welcome” copy should be an expansion of your blog’s descriptor statement.
- Add these pages: About, Services, Speaking, Contact.
- Add social media buttons: For your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
- Add an RSS subscription button: And create aFeedburner account through Google to get your link.
- Add a subscription button for an email newsletter: Directly link it to an email provider account such as Vertical Response, Emma, Constant Contact, etc.
- Jump start traffic by sending out an email newsletter: Do it at least monthly, preferably every other week. Use content you created from the blog in your email newsletter.
- Generate initial traffic: Through Twitter using automated tools like Social Oomph and TweetAdder.
- Incorporate your key words into every blog post title: It will help your search rankings.
- Incorporate the following writing style in every post to get you in the habit of good blog writing:
- Use the inverted pyramid style of writing, like a newspaper report would use, and lead with the conclusion.
- Utilize a Readers Digest style of writing with bullet points, short paragraphs, and an average of 350 to 450 words.
- For the best return on your time investment, write posts that are timeless so if someone looks through your archives a year from now the post is still relevant.
- Consistently create content that is “reader-centric,” and would be valued by your target audience.
- Create hyperlinks to online resources and attributions to primary sources.
- Select one or more categories that are reflective of the blog’s content.
- Add tags for people, places, entities that are referenced in your post.
- Include “additional articles that may be of interest” at the bottom of the post with titles and links to 4 to 5 other post that you’ve written.
- Include a photo or graphic in every post to make it visually pleasing.
I know these tips work. Because I’ve followed every one of them. Want more help starting your blog? Visit Problogger or Copyblogger, the two best resources on the internet for novice bloggers. Or feel free to contact me with your specific questions.