Blogging For Vacation Rentals: The Magic Formula
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Makeover Session 2.7: The Best Blogging Formula Ever

Note: This post is part of the VR Marketing Makeover. You can see all posts in this category by clicking here.

Once you have built a website, blogging (or the act of publishing short informational posts in chronological order) is one of the biggest ongoing maintenance “costs” necessary for success.

One easy way to populate your blog right off the bat is using this simple Frequently Asked Question Technique which takes each of the individual questions guests ask about your destination and transforms them into individual blog posts.

But one of the biggest questions for those who want to continue beyond this point and create more unique content is, “Umm, what do I blog about?”

So in this session of the Vacation Rental Marketing Makeover Series, I’m showing you a blogging formula “for dummies” that anyone can use to provide relevance and authority to their vacation rental website in roughly 10 minutes.

Step 1. Identify A News Story

Whether you’re using Google Alerts to monitor the web, or simply browsing the daily newspapers, the trick is to earmark a story that may be interesting for your potential guests.

Luckily for Holly, a member of our Inner Circle shared with us this story about Endangered Bighorn Sheep Returning To Yosemite.

This story is perfect because it’s current, it’s about nature, it evokes emotion (who doesn’t love saving endangered animals!?!?!)Yosemite Vacation Rental

Step 2. Digest The New Story

Read the piece all the way through and copy/paste a handful of important sentences onto your notepad…a Cliff’s Notes version of the news story if you will. Here’s what I snagged:

> For the first time in a century, endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are back on their ancestral range and headed toward recovery, wildlife officials said Monday.

> Thousands of the sheep once roamed the Sierra Nevada but overhunting and disease spread by domesticated sheep herds caused near-extinction.

> Between 1914 and 1986, no bighorn roamed Yosemite, and statewide their numbers hit a low of about 100. The animals were placed on the federal endangered species list in 1999.

> Yosemite Conservancy, which has donated $630,000 in the past two decades to support Yosemite’s bighorn sheep

Step 3. Create A Blog Post Introduction With Your Own Twist

This is the personalization that makes my blogging formula a bit different from simply ‘ripping’ a news article and pasting the entire thing on your blog.

You’ll want to write a few short paragraphs intertwining the news piece with the theme of a stay at your vacation rental. For the bighorn blog post, here’s how I’d write it for Holly’s Yosemite Stay vacation rentals:

Just about everyone who comes to visit us here in Yosemite National Park does so to enjoy nature. And apart from fabled hikes, camping under the stars, and picnics under forest canopies, our guests to Yosemite now have something extra special to watch out for:

300-lb sheep with GPS tracking devices hanging from helicopters.

Yes! In an ABC news brief this week, we learned that the bighorned sheep were placed on the federal endangered species list in 1999 and through the (quite luxurious) use of helicopter transport, are now on their way to recovery home here in Yosemite National Park!

For those who are short on time, here’s the highlights of the news:

[Here’s where I’d paste in that section of highlights from Step 2.]

Thinking you’d like to catch a glimpse during your stay with us here in Yosemite? Not so fast…

“Yosemite wildlife biologist Sarah Stock said only the most intrepid park visitors will ever see the sheep that roam high in the backcountry at elevations above 7,500 feet. She says helping them recover rights a wrong.”

With wildlife this private, Jeff and I were thinking about keeping a few nights open on our Yosemite Stay calendar in the case that they need a place to lay their heads.

Step 4. Create Compelling Blog Post Title

This is arguably the most challenging AND fun part of the whole blogging process.

You’ll want a title that’s intriguing, powerful, and above all, accurate as to what the article is actually about (there’s nothing like getting tricked into clicking a fascinating title only to find a lame article beneath).

For Holly’s bighorn article, here are some title ideas:

> Ummm…Why Are Yosemite’s Bighorns Flying In Helicopters?

> When You Come To Yosemite This Spring…Watch Out For Flying Sheep

> Yosemite’s Endangered Sheep Return From Vacation!

If you’re not creative with the titles, try using Portent’s Idea Generator to come up with something catchy and fun.

Here’s a link to the finished blog post on Holly’s site:

http://www.yosemitestay.com/blog/yosemite-endangered-sheep-return-from-vacation

Holly’s Big Doubt

So I sent Holly this formula and here’s what she said:

“I love the formula and I can see it will work for me. I have so many ideas for blogging that it’s hard for me to figure out which ideas will best meet my goals. Your post really works and I can see that there is room for some fun, feel good stories like this.”

In fact, one vacation rental owner Karen Barnet drove 2,000 visitors to her website in 4 days using this very same technique!

But of course, not all blog posts will be home runs. So Holly followed up with a really good question that I think is at the core of many people’s doubt surrounding blogging:
“Could you tell us more about why we are blogging? This may be a dumb question, but when an event like the bighorn sheep was covered in so many channels, will people really find it on our site?”
I’ve decided to answer Holly’s question with a short video response:

And lastly, if anyone would like some help identifying a story for their region, feel free to type your City/Town/State/Country in the comments section below and I’ll do some quick research, then provide a story idea as your blog muse.

About the Author Matt Landau

Matt Landau is the Founder of the VRMB and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings. Google+ | More Posts (230)

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