Marketing GET YOUR VACATION RENTAL MASTER PLAN!Learn how to build a blueprint for operations and marketing! Writing a blog can be a challenge particularly if you want it to drive traffic to your site, or your listing. You need to attract a loyal audience and people who will talk about it to their friends on Facebook and Twitter. To do this, you’ll need to write regularly, create interesting content and consistently deliver a great read. When I saw this great blog post from Judy Mick – 50 Things To Blog About – it offered some great ideas so I have adapted it for our unique business and made some suggestions on the topics you could use for your vacation rental blog. There are 25 ideas here – you can find an expanded version plus the next 25 ideas on Renting For Profit in a new member post this week! Thank you Judy for some great suggestions – I’ve used them all here with adaptations for my readers. 1 Take a photo. Share a picture instead of words! Post a regular photo of something at your property – try a close-up of a piece of art work or special feature. 2 Share a relevant YouTube video. Perhaps even analyze it a bit in your post. It doesn’t require a lot of work to watch and then find the best videos. Find a video featuring something going on in your area. Maybe your local tourist office has a video or two you could use. Comment on why you think it’s great. 3 Shoot a video of your own. People love to see a blogger’s face rather than just read their words. Create a personal connection with your audience by introducing yourself and talking about what you love about your area and why people should visit. Make it short but appealing and friendly. 4 Comment on another blog post on your blog. For example, if another well known blogger makes a strong statement, respond to that statement on your blog. Just like I have done here, if you find a post on another blog that is relevant, link to it and add your opinion. An example would be a post someone else has written about an attraction or event in your area – even a restaurant review. 5 Comment on a news event and on how it relates to your field. Easy one – Tansy Forster uses this method to write about WW11 remembrance events in her area. This type of post attract blog visitors who are looking for information on the event. 6 Write a How To post. Walkthroughs, tutorials and how to’s tend to do very well online. I wrote a post on my cottage blog called, “How to get out of a kayak?” We offer kayaks with our rental and I found this was a highly searched key phrase. It resulted in a lot of interest in our web site and a booking for an off-season weekend by a couple who had wanted to kayak but didn’t know how. Write about something you know and could share with those who are looking for an answer. 7 Bust a Myth. What are common beliefs people hold in your industry that simply aren’t true? Here’s one – “All vacation rentals have poorly equipped kitchens & blunt knives” You could bust that myth by writing a post about your kitchen that is fit for a gourmet. 8 Tell an entertaining and educational story. What were some turning point moments in your career? What made you buy your property? What interesting thing happened in your latest renovation? What have you learnt about the history of your area? 9 Create a Q&A post. What are common questions people have and what are their answers? Collect all the questions you receive on email and create a post answering them. 10 Examine a Problem. Take an issue that people often get stuck on and go in depth into its causes and solutions. Think about the issues new renters have and provide a solution. Write a post on what they should pack; some ideas on meal planning, or a list of things to do on a rainy day. 11 Write a Top X List. For example, “Top 50 ways to get blog traffic” or “Top 12 hip hop dance moves.” Top 10 hikes; Top 5 restaurants 12 Ramble. Just talk aimlessly and passionately about a subject. Be sure to set it aside and read it a day or two later to make sure it’s relevant before you post it. Interesting one – really take care to make it relevant and you could have a great post just offering insights into the best aspects of your area. 13 Write about common pitfalls. What are mistakes that beginners might make without knowing it? Write a post on what renters most often forget to pack or one on the wildlife in your area and why your guests should not feed the locals 14 Interview an expert. Post it in audio or video form on your blog. Interviewing a previous renter is a nice touch and could be a great testimonial, or you could video a chat with a local provider on their activities. If your area attracts photographers, ask an expert about how to take the best photos of a local attraction. 15 Review a product. What are its benefits and its drawbacks? What sets it apart? Would you recommend it? Set up an Amazon store on your site then review travel books on your area. Review a local attraction and comment on value for money and give your recommendations on how best to enjoy it. 16 Comment on state of the industry. What’s going well and what isn’t’ going well? Write a post on how prospective renters can recognize scams and why it’s important to book with a person they can trust. This creates authenticity. 17 Ask your audience a question. What do they think about Topic X? Duvets or blankets? What’s your favourite kitchen appliance? Favourite board game? This is a great topic to create connections and get feedback. 18 Post the top resources for someone in your industry. Give links, downloads, videos, etc that might help them in what they’re trying to do. Help your guests to plan their vacation by offering lots of information on what they can do in the area. Post links to the best insider travel resources. 19 Make a prediction on the future. What do you think is going to happen in the next 12 months? Get visitors thinking about booking earlier by offering a prediction on occupancy. 20 Write about an in person event. For example, “What I learned at Affiliate Summit X this year. Have you ever rented a property? Offer your advice based on your experiences. Did you forget to pack something? What item did you take you couldn’t do without? 21 Share a provocative opinion. What’s an opinion you have that just isn’t politically correct? Mmmmm……I’m leaving this one to you. Smushing babies comes to mind (see Superbowl Home Away ad) so I’m not making any recommendations on this one. 22 Why someone is right or wrong. Write a post about why you think someone is right or wrong about a certain subject. There’s quite a lot of negative press about vacation rentals – there’s always someone in the media trying to find a ‘worst experience’ to write about. Find one of these, link to it, and then write about how renting your property could be so different. 23 Make something complex simple. Break a hard process down into its parts and make it easy to do or follow. Write a vacation rental plan that is easy for your guests to follow. Offer to provide a packing list with a suggested menu plan for a week. For guests who have previously used hotels or resorts where everything is provided for them, they may find a step-by-step plan useful. 24 Share a thought process. How do you get from point A to point B in your thought process? Take a comment in your guest book or Trip Advisor review and write about what you changed based on the insights offered by your previous guests. 25 Blog about a personal experiment. What’s something you tried? Did it work or did it not work? What would you do differently and what would you recommend? What bait works best when fishing at your property? Is it best to take the guided tour or take the self-guided option Hopefully this gives you a few ideas to kick off a blog posting schedule. If you comment on here when you have made a new post, your comment will show a link to your latest post so that gives some additional promotion for you. I’ll check out every one I see and make a comment on it too.