Monthly Archives: August 2015

Everybody Writes: Infographics

everybody writes infographic

 

This wraps up our series of posts about Ann Handley, the author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.  Ann offers practical infographic creating tips that we will illustrate with an excellent bed and breakfast industry infographic.

 

But first, just what is an “infographic”?  Infographics are expressed graphically via drawings, pictures, maps, diagrams, charts, and more and are all held together with a coherent visual theme and typically published as an image file.

According to Ann Handley, the best infographics express rich objective data in a more accessible and engaging way:

  • Checklist or resource
  • Compare and contrast study
  • Evolution of a movement, demographic, or industry
  • Illustration of the state of some business sector or function

Have the following characteristics:

  • Utility: entertaining, educational, intrinsically useful, applicable to your audience
  • Data: based on facts (not opinions); uses credible data and credible sources
  • Story: have a hypothesis and a narrative at their core
  • Logical sequence: organize your information so that it flows logically; the images and text need to make sense together
  • Great design: color, typography, illustrations, animation, videos, charts, text
  • Quality control: make sure your infographic is free of errors
  • Promotion: the goal is to drive attention to and interest in your brand
  • Shareable: make your infographics easy to share in social media

The infographic shared in this blog post was produced by Little Hotelier and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  First, they share the statistics that the B&B Industry in the United States has an estimated worth of $3.4 billion.  The core of this starts with the estimated 17,000 inns in the United States and then branches out to all of the product and services needed:

  • Real estate
  • Insurance
  • Hospitality
  • Furniture
  • Food and beverage
  • Cleaning
  • Safety
  • Heating
  • Cooling

The median performance:

  • Occupancy rate: 43.7%
  • Average daily rate: $150
  • Revenue per available room: $58

everybody writes infographic

The infographic tells us that the typical inn has between 4 and 11 rooms with 6 being the average number of rooms and the average size is 5700 square feet.

94% have private baths and 93% offer free high speed wireless internet.

Types of inns:

  • Suburban 5%
  • Urban 23%
  • Village 43%
  • Rural locations 29%
  • Historical designation 36%

everybody writes infographic

Their infographic portrays amenities at most inns both in the common areas and in the guest rooms.

Amenities in Common areas:

  • Internet
  • Magazines
  • Hot/cold beverages
  • Board games
  • Fireplace
  • Televisions
  • Refrigerator
  • Newspapers
  • Telephone
  • Cookies, cakes, candies, and fruit
  • Fresh flowers

Amenities in Guest rooms:

  • Internet
  • Magazines
  • Televisions
  • Fireplace
  • Luxury bed linens
  • Robes
  • Premium branded toiletries
  • Jetted tubs

everybody writes infographic

Their infographic ends with a statistic about the inn owners.  The percentage of inn owners that are 72% are couples, 18% are individual females, 5% are individual males, and 5% are non-couple partnerships.  Also it lets us know that 79% of owners live on the premises.

everybody writes infographic

A big thank you to Ann Handley, Little Hotelier, and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.  If you would like help with your online marketing, please contact us at Bed and Breakfast Blogging.

 

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Email & More

everybody writes

 

 

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, offers tips for writing email and much more.  This can be applied to bed and breakfast marketing as well.

 

 

Writing For Email:

  • Use short subject lines (Vacation in “Your Location”)
  • Let your free flag fly (“your third night is free”)
  • Use the recipient’s first name (to personalize it)
  • Keep the email copy short (remember WHY you are writing it)
  • Be a real person and communicate with a real voice (write like a friend)
  • Show enormous empathy (“we understand your need to get away”)
  • Use real images (show inviting pictures of your B&B)
  • Have a specific call to action (ex: click here to subscribe to our blog posts)
  • Make sure you are aware of CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (spam = legal trouble)

Writing For Landing Pages:

  • Match the message to the promise
  • Avoid sharing too much information (keep it to the point)
  • Keep your headline benefit-driven (what is in it for them?)
  • Be brief in subheads (most of the time)
  • Use second person with action verbs (a lot of “you” and “your”)
  • Be blindingly obvious as to what the person should do next (“book now”)
  • Use buttons that are big, bright, and bold
  • Show, don’t tell
  • Keep things simple
  • Use trust indicators and social proof to reduce anxiety (ex: TRUST-e, BBB)

Writing Headlines:

  • Create a curiosity gap, but with moderation
  • Promise what you are going to deliver
  • Place your reader directly into the headline
  • Use numbers (helps people know what to expect before they read it)
  • Use lively words: ultimate, brilliant, awesome, intense, hilarious, smart, critical, surprising, etc.

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content, gives practical tips for writing your “Home” page and your “About Us” page.

Writing A Home Page:

  • Speak to your audience
  • Tell people what is in it for them
  • Know what motivates your audience
  • Keep it simple
  • Use words your audience uses
  • Communicate clear value
  • Convey trust
  • Social proof

Ann Handley recommends that your home page leave the reader feeling like, “We get you.  And what’s more, you belong here.  We understand your challenges, your fears, your pain, your hopes, your needs…”

Writing The About Us Page:

  • The best “About Us” pages are not really about the company
  • Those pages focus on relaying who they are in relation to the reader
  • Talk about what you do for customers (your B&B guests)
  • Show a human, accessible side
  • Show your people as real people
  • Bring your customers into your story (real stories from your guests)
  • Why do customers care about what you do?
  • How have you helped them?
  • Put customer testimonials on video (with guests permission, do video testimonials)

Getting To Know The Staff:

  • Favorite quotes
  • What they eat for breakfast (may be a signature dish from your inn)
  • Music preferences
  • Travel experiences
  • What they do in their spare time (may be leisure activities near your inn)

With any kind of writing these valuable suggestions from Ann Handley (from her Everybody Writes… book) can be implemented. Then bed and breakfasts will likely attract more business. If you are too busy as an innkeeper (or have no desire to do marketing), contact Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging for a free consultation.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Linked In

everybody writes linked in

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content gives some recommendations for writing on Linked In.  This is a social media platform for professional people.

First and foremost, you can optimize your profile with keyword-rich descriptions, a stand-out headline as well as a link to your blog and Twitter handle.  Actively share relevant content on a regular basis.

 

Everybody Writes LinkedIn Tips:

  • Use concise introductions
  • Use snappy headlines
  • Include a clear call to action
  • Use active language
  • Cite tangible outcomes
  • Include an image
  • Consider the keywords you want to be known for
  • Align your content to your member’s needs and interests
  • Make your content “snackable” and valuable
  • Manage your updates by measuring engagement
  • Follow up on comments
  • Keep in mind which audience you are targeting
  • Cater your message to a specific audience for better engagement
  • Be consistent and track your results

Top 10 Overused LinkedIn Buzzwords:

  • Responsible
  • Strategic
  • Creative
  • Effective
  • Patient
  • Expert
  • Organizational
  • Driven
  • Innovative
  • Analytical

Other Everybody Writes LinkedIn tips:

  • Claim your vanity URL
  • Customize your profile by moving parts around, embed examples or other media
  • http://help.linkedin.com/ is the link to getting help on LinkedIn

Since we are talking about LinkedIn, I wanted to also share some interesting facts and statistics about this professional social network that were recently compiled by Digital Marketing Ramblings:

  • 380 million people use LinkedIn
  • 107 million of those users live in the United States
  • LinkedIn gets two new users per second
  • Reaches over 200 countries and territories
  • LinkedIn profiles are 11 times more likely to be viewed if it has a photo
  • LinkedIn members are 13 times more likely to have their profiles viewed if they list specific skills
  • 56% of LinkedIn users are male
  • 8.33% of Americans use LinkedIn while they are on the job
  • 13% of all United States adults use LinkedIn daily
  • 29% of all American social media users use LinkedIn
  • 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn has over 6,000 employees and offices in 26 different cities
  • 50% of those accessing LinkedIn do so from mobile devices
  • 3 million active job listings on LinkedIn
  • 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates

LinkedIn Groups may be a great way to post questions and/or share answers. Usually many people are willing to share best practices.  LinkedIn groups for Bed and Breakfast Owners include:

  • Bed and Breakfast Business
  • Bed and Breakfast Forum
  • Bed and Breakfast and Guesthouse Owners Groups
  • Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers
  • ed and Breakfast Inns
  • Bed and Breakfast, Inns, and Vacations Rentals.
  • Bed and Breakfast News
  • B&B Owners Association
  • Innkeepers
  • Just Bed and Breakfast Network
  • and many more!

Be sure to keep Ann Handley’s LinkedIn content advice in mind when you venture onto this professional social media website.  You may become connected via LinkedIn to past bed and breakfast guests as well as potential guests. LinkedIn is a great way to promote your B&B business.

Note: I receive Amazon Affiliate commissions from purchases made through these Amazon links.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Tweet & Post

everybody writes

 

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content discusses practical tips for writing on Twitter and Facebook.  Using social media the right way can be very beneficial to your bed and breakfast brand.  Using social media the wrong way has the very real potential to damage your B&B’s reputation.

 

Writing For Twitter:

  • Establish who you are (how your bed and breakfast improves peoples lives)
  • Tell your bigger story (your passion for hospitality and hosting guests)
  • Share the why & who, not just the what (ex: what specific book are you reading and why–do not just tweet that you are reading)
  • Personalized, not too personal (there is a fine line between sharing yourself and sharing too much)
  • Be cautious with automation (also do real-time tweets)
  • Use Twitter to float ideas and see what gets nibbled (see what people are responding to)
  • Use a clear call to action (be obvious about how you want others to respond)
  • Use Bitly to shorten links (offers rich analytics and saves characters)
  • Tweets around 120 characters are optimal (most likely to be retweeted)
  • Share your history (ex: share pictures)
  • Tap into what people care about (ex: travel, food, relationships, etc.)
  • Convey your personality (ex: be you!)
  • Track and follow trending hashtags (what is trending and how can you join in the conversation?)
  • Do not use more than 2 or 3 hashtags in a single tweet (#otherwise #it #can #be #annoying)

Writing For Facebook:

  • Connect with existing communities of potential buyers
  • Target by niche, not by numbers (ex: those who have liked other bed and breakfasts)
  • Your brand’s online voice and tone are very important (be professional and friendly)
  • Post when your audience is online (makes sense to be online when they are!)
  • Posts with images get the greatest amount of engagement (always use images with permission)
  • Keep each Facebook post brief (ideal is 100-140 characters)

Bed and breakfasts can take advantage of using social media websites like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about their luxurious accommodations.  Be careful to tweet and post pictures and information that is consistent with the image you want to portray about your bed and breakfast.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes: Story Rules

everybody writes story rules

 

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Contentexplains some Everybody Writes Story Rules of story writing.  I will show how her advice can be applied to bed and breakfast story writing.

 

 

Ann’s Compelling Everybody Writes Story Rules:

  • Must be true (always be truthful)
  • Must be human (do not have to pretend to be perfect)
  • Must be specific enough to be believable (avoid talking in generalities)
  • Must be universal enough to be relevant (must be relate-able)
  • Must be original (not commonplace)
  • Must be stories only you can tell (unique)
  • Must serve the customer (beneficial to them)
  • Must tell a bigger story aligned with a larger mission (ex: relationship building)

Ann’s Business Questions To Answer:

  • What is unique about our business? (what makes YOU different than other B&B’s)
  • What is interesting about how our business was founded? (share your story)
  • What is special about the founder? (unique background)
  • What problem does our company try to solve? (ex: add enjoyment, reduce stress)
  • What inspired our business? (such as a person or mission)
  • What AHA! moments has our company had? (major lightbulbs)
  • How has our business evolved? (process of changes)
  • How do we feel about our business, our customers, and ourselves? (state goals)
  • What’s an unobvious way to tell our story? (be creative)
  • What do we consider normal that other folks would think is cool? (stories from guests)
  • How will our company make a difference? (ex: eco-friendly)
  • What sets you apart? (ex: personal touch)
  • Why should your company matter to me? (what is in it for them?)

Your brand voice is simply an expression of your company’s personality and point of view.  Your unique voice comes from knowing who you are and who you are not.  The key is to be authentic (or true to) your own unique personality and innkeeping style as well as feature WHY people should stay at YOUR bed and breakfast inn versus a local competitor.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

everybody writeseverybody writes

 

Everybody Writes: Your Go-to Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content shows you how to “create ridiculously good content!”  This “Go-To Guide” offers practical tips that can be applied to owning and running bed and breakfast inns.

 

 

Author Ann Handley explains the Everybody Writes 12-step “Writing GPS”:

  1. Goal: know what you are trying to achieve and why it matters to your readers. Is it to educate them about your local area?  Inform them about upcoming events?  Entice them to vacation at your B&B?
  2. Reframe: phrase the idea in a way that relates to your readers.  Can they relate to needing a break?  Are they seeking to improve a relationship?
  3. Seek out the data and examples: use credible sources that support your main points and/or discuss personal experiences.  Your sources could be about travel and leisure, health and fitness, or food and wine.  The personal experiences could be yours or a story (told with permission) of a couple renewing their vows, for example.
  4. Organize: know what structure best helps communicate your point.  The story about the couple could be put in interview format, for instance.
  5. Write to one person: your goal is for your readers to recognize and relate to the issues. If may help to speak as though you are writing to a dear friend about the benefits of a bed and breakfast stay.
  6. Produce the ugly first draft: you first just want to get your initial thoughts written down.  This may not be pretty, but the object is to start writing!  You can edit it later.  What compliments do you hear from your bed and breakfast guests?
  7. Walk away: put some distance between your first draft and your second draft.  Even if it is to get up and make breakfast for your current guests.  The point is to allow yourself some time to get away from what you are writing.
  8. Rewrite: shape it into something a reader wants to read.  You may think of some additional points or some more specific examples to illustrate your points.  Perhaps you live in a historical bed and breakfast and learned more about the people who lived here and/or the guests they entertained.
  9. Give it a great headline or title: make sure you deliver on what the title says.  If your title is “10 Ways to Have Fun In [insert your area here]” make sure that you list 10 Ways and that people really have fun doing those leisure activities.
  10. Have someone else edit it: for grammar, usage, style, and punctuation.  Spell check is not enough and even that will not correct every spelling error.
  11. One final look for readability: make sure it is alluring, easy to scan, maybe part of a list or have bullet points.  Can people easily find my main points or do they have to hunt for them?
  12. Publish: know what you want your readers to do next so you can give your call to action.  This could include following you on social media, subscribing to your blog, booking a room, etc.

Ann Handley says that the more you think about what you want to say, and plan for it, the easier it is to say.

  • Why am I creating this?  Your content has to matter to your target audience.
  • What is my objective?  Know what you want people to do as a result of reading your content.
  • What’s my point of view?  Always be focused on your readers perspective (have a customer-centric point of view).
  • How will this impact my readers?  Put your readers into the story.

Creative Approaches To Frame Your Writing (examples listed apply to B&B’s):

  1. Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Bed and Breakfast Etiquette
  2. Skeptic: Are Bed and Breakfasts Really Better Than Hotels?
  3. Explainer: The Bed and Breakfast Difference in Plain English
  4. Case study: How One Couple Renewed Their Relationship At a B&B
  5. Contrarian: Why Relaxation Is Underrated: The Key To More Productivity?
  6. How-to: How To Plan Your B&B Vacation
  7. Quick how-to: 3 Ways To Jump Start Your Vacation Plans
  8. How NOT to: 5 Ways to Compromise Your Relationships
  9. First person: My Personal Experience At Bed and Breakfasts
  10. Comparison: How B&B’s Measure Up To Hotels
  11. Questions and Answers: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  12. Data:Are People Working Longer Hours? Yes, Says Survey
  13. Man on the Street: Experts Offer Opinions On B&B Stays
  14. Outrageous: Why No Breaks Can Actually Make You Sick
  15. Insider secrets: The One Thing You Need To Know About Bed and Breakfasts

Bed and breakfasts can write using the Everybody Writes 12 Steps of Writing GPS and they have many different ways to creatively frame their writing to their readers.  The important thing is that consistent, quality content keeps you in the forefront of people’s minds when they go to book their next vacation!