Maintaining a ‘blog’ or news section on your website is a great way of updating customers about news, views and events from your business or industry. Not to mention it’s very search engine friendly and will keep your website well ranked (and therefore found) in Google and other search engines.
If you have a five page site and no blog, then you have five chances to rank in search engines. If you have a five page site and a blog with hundreds of posts, you have hundreds of chances to rank. A recent survey suggests that companies who blog receive 97% more inbound links than those who don’t. Inbound links are important because they signal authority to search engines, thus increasing your chances of getting found in those search engines.
One warning – a news blog can be very time consuming, and is only effective if constantly updated. It is not always easy to come up with new content and ideas, so we’ve put together some helpful tips using a hotel website as the example.
Example – A Hotel Blog
Make it personal and friendly by introducing yourself and your team. Provide details of your views, interests, observations on life/hotel business, etc.
Use a variety of news stories, events and/or comments to add your own feedback and perspective. Using a popular story already in the news is a good way to write a topical and interesting post.
Attractions and events
Provide details of what’s happening in your area; upcoming and past events, places of interest, various attractions etc. People use search engines to find these details and could very well want somewhere to stay as well.
Create top 10 lists that are in some way related to your hotel or region. These can be about things to do, things not to do, restaurants to visit, places to avoid, best attractions etc. Make sure that at least some of the items are exclusive to you to entice guests to stay with you.
Add a photo with an original caption to your article to enhance its presentation and attract attention. Sometimes a good photo and a few lines is all you need to draw a reader’s attention to it.
Too busy to blog?
If you’re too busy to maintain a blog, outsource or delegate this task to other staff members. Select individuals that are knowledgeable and comfortable writing about the areas you would like to cover.
Train your staff on the editorial guidelines and decide what type of writing and editing process you would like to put in place. Some companies prefer to elect an editor or group of editors to have a final look at all blog posts, while other companies allow their bloggers to publish directly. Figure out the level of comfort you have with your blogging, editing and publishing process and implement a procedure that works well for your team.
Be aware that if you open up your blog for feedback, which you should, you will get a variety of comments — constructive, complimentary, hateful, and spam. Be prepared for everything. Create a comment policy that your team can follow, and make sure everyone is on same page. Outline the types of comments that should be responded to, deleted or passed along for follow-up.
Sharing your news posts
The ideal scenario is to use your blog as a focal point of other social media. Facebook and Twitter are a good start, and YouTube is a must for video-sharing. When you post on your blog, announce the new post on your social networks and ask for your readers’ opinions on the subject.
Make sure your blog is open for comments and utilizes share tools, such as Facebook and Twitter. Share tools allow your readers to pass along your content, thereby doing all the promotion work for you.
Often companies shy away from opening up their websites and blogs for commenting and interaction, because they are afraid of the harm that criticisms may cause. Make it a policy to welcome criticism, thinking of it as an opportunity for feedback and improvement. There are lots of ways to deal with negative feedback, so don’t be afraid to open up to your community.