It’s like eating vegetables and exercising for thirty minutes a day.
We all know regular posts to our vacation rental blog are good for us (in our case, good for growing a travel business), but lots of factors conspire to keep us from putting our butts in our chairs and getting to it.
Lack of time, lack of ideas, lack of motivation, lack of confidence…all of these roadblocks creep up and keep that next vacation rental blog post hanging overhead, alongside the many other “should do” tasks in your life.
There’s hope. Follow these small, painless steps that will get you on the road to becoming a blogging ace with an active audience.
1. Set an editorial calendar for your vacation rental blog
It’s easy to neglect blogging in the midst of other time-consuming and more immediate tasks related to running a rental.
Prioritize your vacation rental blog and make it more professional with a calendar that maps out the next two, three, even six months worth of posts. Decide, say, that you’ll blog every Tuesday morning. Then eliminate some of the guesswork by arranging the calendar by “content themes,” like dining, events, in the news, activities, insider tips, etc.
Rotate to a different content theme each week and you’ll always have something to start with when you sit down to write.
Which leads to tip #2…
2. Keep a running list of blogging ideas
Instead of staring down that dreaded flashing cursor on a blank page, keep a list of ideas as they hit you.
Where do the ideas come from? Pretty much everywhere. Think like a writer and observe through the lens of your blog. If you visit your property’s location often, take note of activities, people, events, and quirks—and do a quick evaluation: can I blog about this?
If you’re long-distance, set up Google Alerts for your destination or just do periodic Google News searches. Even negative news stories can become a blog, and, in fact, are often the most successful posts.
One client with rentals in Morocco, for example, saw a sharp decrease in bookings following an uptick in terrorist attacks in the Middle East. He created a blog post called “Is it safe to travel to Morocco right now?” and it became—by far—the most popular blog on his site. (The answer? Yes, it’s safe…just be a smart traveler.)
3. Write for just 2 minutes
The 2-minute rule steams from the idea that getting started on a task is often the hardest part. Once you’re over that initial hurdle, it’s easier to keep going than you’d think.
So set a timer for two minutes and start writing. Don’t overthink it or search for the perfect word or phrase. Just get some ideas down. At the end of two minutes, you’re free to stop and move on to something else. Come back a half hour later and work for another two minutes. And so on.
4. Follow through after you’ve posted
Don’t just write and walk away and expect the universe to reward your effort. (It won’t.)
Share your post.
In the end, nothing prompts you to keep it up more than blogging successes: when a potential guest inquires specifically because of a blog post, or when you get a share from another travel professional.
Knowing that guests and others are reading can remind you that your hard-won words aren’t disappearing into the deep black ether of the Internet.
How do you build an audience? Well, we could spend all day on this topic… but a good rule of thumb is to share with those are most likely to care about your material.
This means you should populate your social networks with an audience beyond past guests. This could (should) include vacation rental owners, travel writers, vacation rental gurus, locals and bloggers from your destination, and of course, supportive friends and family. Be an active participant in communities like TripAdvisor and any boards specific to your destination.
And, of course, keep a database of past guests who will welcome newsletters with links to blogs that recall memories of their wonderful trip.
5. Never shift from being yourself
Cliché, we know. But some people find blogging painful simply because it feels inauthentic.
Don’t try to blog like a seasoned, professional travel writer when you feel more comfortable being friendly, humorous, sarcastic, sentimental—whatever! As you know, people book vacation rentals because of a personal connection, so don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Even as professional travel writers ourselves, who often blog for busy vacation rental clients, we ditch the cookie-cutter “expert” language, get to know our clients’ own unique voice and style, and incorporate that into their vacation rental blog. It pays off!
Thanks for reading! Guest Hook is the first-ever vacation rental-specific copywriting agency, helping owners and managers craft everything from targeted descriptions of their properties, to engaging blog posts and newsletters, to press releases and other PR…and a lot more.
Want to increase bookings and look like a travel industry pro? Send us a message to see how we can help!