Travel and leisure marketing: 20 tips for overcoming your fear of blogging.

August 19, 2011

Starting a blog doesn't have to be complicated or scary.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Create a unique title for your blog:It’s helpful if you can tie in the title with a URL that you own. says make it: Readable, Pronounceable, Memorable, Unique and Concise.
  5. Buy the URL associated with your blog title: Instead of having a, or URL. That way if you move your site, you get to keep your audience.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Start with a simple blogging platform that you can easily switch from in the future. Michael Gass suggests, which I use.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Add these pages: About, Services, Speaking, Contact.
  14. Add social media buttons: For your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
  15. Add an RSS subscription button: And create aFeedburner account through Google to get your link.
  16. Add a subscription button for an email newsletter: Directly link it to an email provider account such as Vertical Response, Emma, Constant Contact, etc.
  17. 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.
  18. Generate initial traffic: Through Twitter using automated tools like Social Oomph and TweetAdder.
  19. Incorporate your key words into every blog post title: It will help your search rankings.
  20. 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.

Leisure marketing: 5 questions to ask yourself when your social media strategy isn’t working anymore.

December 22, 2010

It might be time to take the next step and create stronger content, personality, conversation, or focus.

Social media is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of a leisure marketing specialist.

Your social sites should be driving traffic to your website and leads to your sales team.  If they’re not, it’s time to ask yourself these five questions:

1. Have I established a two-way conversation with my audience?

It isn’t enough just to share content on your social sites. Followers of your sites want to talk to you. Reply to tweets, comment on posts left on your Facebook wall, or answer a question in LinkedIn Answers.

2. Do my social sites express a strong personality?

People want to connect with other people, not brands.

But if you create a voice that people can identify with, and pick someone like your CEO or Marketing Director to be the social face for your brand, people pay attention to you more.

3. Am I using the right social media tools?

You don’t need to have a presence on every social media site out there. Focus on the sites that are more relevant to your business. If you’re a B2B company you might get more leads using

LinkedIn, Slideshare and Twitter. If you’re a consumer brand, Facebook and Twitter might do the trick.

4. Am I posting enough fresh content to my social sites?

If you’re hosting a blog, you need to post new content at least 3 times a week. If you’ve developed a Twitter audience, you need to feed them 2-3 tweets a day. Got a You Tube channel?  Upload a new video once a week.

5.  Is my content appropriate to my audience?

The biggest problem I see with corporate blogs today is that they often have too many content creators and not enough focus.

If you’ve got a few writers creating content for you, set some editorial guidelines for them. Then make sure your contributors are staying on topic and writing content that surprises and delights your readers.

According to Diana Freedman, an inbound marketing specialist at Hubspot, there are at least 9 Reasons Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Working.

If you market a leisure brand, what are you doing to test and adjust your social media strategy?  What kinds of questions do you ask when your social results don’t meet expectations? Talk to us.

Leisure marketing: The Top 10 social media thought leaders.

November 17, 2010

Here are 10 social media blogs leisure marketing experts should follow.

Social Media Safari Question #9:  “There’s so much social media information on the internet I don’t know who to trust. Who are the thought leaders in this category?”

If you’re a leisure marketing specialist, there are at least 10 social media experts whose blogs you should read regularly.

  1. Chris Brogan: The Elvis of social media and the king of common sense, Chris Brogan is in a league of his own.
  2. Social Media Explorer: Social media all-star Jason Falls provides a fresh and interesting take on all things social media.
  3. Mashable: The world’s source for social media news, Mashable is the place to go for breaking stories.
  4. Convince & Convert: Jay Baer provides rich content for businesses seeking to embrace social media.
  5. Altitude: Amber Naslund offers a breath of fresh air with smart, inspiring and personal social media insight.
  6. CopyBlogger: The king of engaging content, Brian Clark and his team help businesses persuade in a 2.0 world.
  7. Brand Builder: For businesses looking to dive deep into social media discussion, check out Olivier Blanchard’s rich insights.
  8. Diva Marketing: Toby Bloomberg’s blog provides a wide array of social media advice.
  9. Kikolani: Looking for great “getting started” social media guidance?  Then frequent this blog.
  10. Future Buzz: A nice mix of stories and reviews makes Adam Singer’s site one that should be on your radar.

Thanks to the Social Media Examiner for creating this list of the Top 10 Social Media Blogs for 2010.

Those are some of the social media gurus I am following today. Who do you trust for social media tips, tricks and trends?

Looking for more answers to your social media questions?  Check out these other posts in our 10-part Social Media Safari Series:

  1. Does social media really work for marketing leisure brands?
  2. How much should I budget for social media?
  3. 10 social media campaigns that produced real results.
  4. 2 social media success stories utilizing limited budgets.
  5. What Coca Cola, Starbucks and Oreo can teach you about leisure marketing on Facebook.
  6. The Top 10 social media thought leaders.
  7. 11 ways businesses are using Twitter to promote their brands.
  8. If Twitter can save Conan, it can certainly revive your leisure brand.
  9. 15 valuable resources for social media novices.
  10. 20 ways to make sure your leisure marketing campaign goes viral.

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