Tag Archives: write

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!

 

25 Ways To Write Creative Blog Posts

If you are reading this, then I assume you are looking to be CREATIVE (and definitely not boring) when you write creative blog posts.  This way you will have plenty of admiring fans! 25 ways to write CREATIVE blog posts:

1. ADVICE You have unique advice that only you can offer to your readers.  Once you understand who your audience is, then you can write like you are writing to a friend.  They will feel like they know you and you will develop a huge following.

2. CA– USE– Why not rally your readers behind a cause you support?  Let them know what you are doing to make a difference and how they can help. Give a call to action. Seriously, don’t leave that out.

3. COMMUNITY Your community could be defined by your local area or it could be people who share a common interest or goal.  Reach out to “your peeps” and connect with them!

4. COMPARISON Take two things and compare them.  Whether you compare two breakfast foods or two fun activities, the fun is in comparing and contrasting them. This could be educational, entertaining, or funny as well. Speaking of…

5. EDUCATIONAL– People like learning about things.  That is one reason why search engines are so popular.  Tell them something that not everyone knows, but you know because you are an expert at it.  Everyone is an expert at something.  Blog about what you know best.

6. ENTERTAINING Everyone likes to laugh and have fun.  You could blog about entertainment that is coming to your community whether it is a music concert, sporting event, or theatrical production. Be sure to make it “entertaining” to read!  Since blogging is writing that is typically less formal than say a report, let your personality shine in the post.

7. EVENTS People like finding out about events–ones that will happen and ones that already happened.  If you have the “inside scoop” on the latest, you can “tell all” in your blog!

8. FAQ This common acronym is short for “frequently asked questions.”  Many websites have an FAQ page on them.  Blog about commonly asked questions.  Blog answers to familiar questions so you can refer your readers to when they ask them.  Saves you time in the process!

9. FAMILY Some of your best material can come from your family members and others with whom you are close. As long as you make it generic enough that you don’t single out any one person or you know they won’t mind your sharing it, go ahead.  You know you want to!

10. GUIDE A guide-type blog post could be a collection of tips about a specific topic. While similar to advice blog posts, they are different in that these tips can be applied by a variety of different people–not advice for one type of problem.  Example: Simple Tips to Get Clients To Pay on Time, Quick Ways to Find Just What You Want Online, etc.

11. HYPOTHETICAL Ask your readers what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Maybe answer that question as well. These types of blog posts tend to get a lot of comments because people like to imagine, “What if….?” Sometimes I imagine, “What if I win a ton of money in the lottery and get to quit my day job?!”  I kind of have to buy a lottery ticket first. Oh well.

12. INSPIRATIONAL Share something motivational with your readers.  Help them connect to you in a powerful way through your telling of someone overcoming a challenge and beating the odds.  Maybe that someone who overcame something big is you.  Don’t be afraid to share since it could encourage someone else!

13. INSTRUCTIONAL or “HOW TO” Give instructions on how to do something that others want to know how to do, and suddenly you have a captive large audience.  You can be creative with your titles of these posts as well. Two examples: How To Teach Your Dog Fun New Tricks, How To Make Delicious Homemade Ice Cream, How To Make a Memorable Family Scrapbook, etc.

14. INTERVIEW If you don’t have any famous celebrities you happen to know (most of us are in this boat), then you could always interview a person notable for what they do. A person who is accomplished in a career or sport or another area of life.  If you interview a person who has an inspiring story and then you have an “inspirational interview“! Wow, two different ways to write a blog post combined! You are an overachiever!

15. LISTS People love lists.  Examples: 10 Ways You Can Change Your Spouse, 20 Best Party Appetizers, Top 40 Bestselling Books About Fitness, etc.  You get the idea and they will too!

16. MEMORIES Often, we like to recall fond memories or retell funny situations.  We may even want to remember how we overcame a trauma for the sake of helping another person who finds themselves in the same emergency. When you blog about a memory, be sure to create a vivid picture in their minds of all the important details of your experience.

17. NEWS Did you know that sometimes bloggers are the first to break a news story? There have been cases where a blogger has gotten in trouble for sharing some kinds of sensitive information.  Keep your day job and don’t blog about company trade secrets. Another word of advice is to keep your love life private so no one tries to sue you for disclosing personal details.  However, if you are in attendance at an exclusive event that you have permission to be blogging about, then by all means SHARE!

18. OPINIONS If you loving sharing your opinions, then blogging is right up your alley!  As long as you are tactful and the topic is appropriate, it is alright to share what you think. You don’t have to have all positive comments from your readers.  In fact, it makes it more interesting when some of your readers do not agree with you.  Usually readers who do agree with you, will come to your defense when you are criticized by others.

19. PHOTOS If you took a great picture or want to share several incredible pictures, then you may want to have a photo blog post.  When your text is all about what is in your photo(s), then you have a photo blog post.  Whether your pictures are of smiling people, grand buildings, gorgeous nature, or something entirely different, there are others who would love to learn about how you managed to capture the photos and the techniques you used in getting it to look the way it does.

20. PREDICTIONS It is common at the end of the year (or the beginning of the new year) for people to come up with their predictions about some topic.  Examples: The Future of Technology, 10 Social Media Predictions, What is To Come in American Education, etc. Similar to the hypothetical “what if” posts, these are your thoughts as to what will come about in the next year (or whatever time frame you select) concerning a particular topic. Inquiring minds want to know!

21. PROBLEMS Life would not be nearly as exciting if there were no glitches.  Inevitably, snags come along.  You spill chocolate ice cream on your brand new white dress shirt.  You get a ticket for speeding on your way to work early one morning.  Your problem post could be written to be a funny look at everyday life or it could be a solution post in which you address how to solve a particular problem with a specific idea, product, or service. People are always looking for solutions!

22. QUIZZES Some people love taking quizzes for fun.  Why not write a blog post that is a quiz about something interesting?  Examples: 15 Questions to Discover the Vacation of Your Dreams, How Well Do You Know Yourself?, etc.  The point is to make your quiz blog post appealing enough to your audience, so that they want to take it.

23. REVIEW Everybody loves reading reviews.  You could blog a book review, a restaurant critique, or a movie screening.  Reviews help other people who, for example, were thinking about reading the same book, dining at the same restaurant, or watching the same movie; decide if they want to based on your review.  When you write a review blog post, you have the power to influence your readers to take action or avoid it.  Don’t let the power go to your head!

24. SECRETS This could mean quick shortcuts, little known facts, or juicy details.  Like news posts, people like finding out things they would not normally know had they not read your blog.  Same cautions apply!

25. STORIES People love reading fascinating stories.  A story blog post captures the attention of your audience yet is brief enough to be the length of a blog post. Stories with important lessons for your readers earn you loyal readers.

Try one (or a combination of several) of these types of blog posts the next time you write! Don’t be afraid to write CREATIVE blog posts. Most importantly, enjoy the process that blogging requires.  It always helps me to visualize my readers reading this.  Will they think this is funny?  Does that tell them everything they need to know?  etc.  Feel free to share your CREATIVE blog post ideas or to ask me a question related to this post.

How To Get Started Blogging

how to get started blogging

 

I recently received a comment from a reader asking about how they could get started blogging. As a professional blogger and librarian, the first thing I recommend to get started blogging is to read successful blogs and to read about blogging. I recommend the following resources:

 

 

Technorati is a website that lists the top 100 blogs.  Since it is updated daily, the list stays current.  By reading the top blogs, you can get a feel for different blogging styles and techniques as well as what is popularly read. You will have your own style of writing, but this is a great place to start. This website also offers a directory of blogs.

When you do read other blogs, ask yourself:

  • What do I like about this blog?  What do I dislike?
  • What sort of content does it provide?
  • Does the blogger put a unique spin on the topic and/or share their opinions?
  • Do the readers give comments?  Does the blogger respond to the comments?

Another cool website is ProBlogger.  On the home page, you can sign up for free blogging tips to be sent to your e-mail.  This website is run by Darren Rowse, co-author of the very informative book Problogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.

Some other blogging books I recommend:

Bloggers Boot Camp: learning how to build, write, and run a successful blog by Charlies White and John Biggs

Blogging for Creatives: how designers, artists, crafters, and writers can blog to make contacts, win business, and build success by Robin Houghton

Born To Blog: building your blog for personal and business success one post at a time by Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith

Creative Blogging: your first steps to a successful blog by Heather Wright-Porto

A couple more websites about blogging I recommend:

Daily Blog Tips, Daniel Scocco

CopyBlogger, Brian Clark

In upcoming blog posts, I plan to write about how to blog and why some blogs become very successful.  I appreciate your comments and questions below.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Encourage Yourself Every Day

encourage yourself every day

 

 

Bed and breakfast owners, do you want to know a good way to encourage yourself every day?  For the rest of the year you can write down something on a little piece of paper and fold it and put it in a jar.  Then, at the end of 2014, you can read all of your little notes!  You could write notes about:

 

 

 

  • Something funny a guest said
  • An unexpected good surprise
  • A compliment you were told
  • An unlikely happy coincidence
  • A blessing or favor from someone
  • Something that went smoother than you thought
  • A welcome phone call you received
  • A great breakfast guests loved
  • Something that made you laugh
  • Anything else you want to recall at the end of this year

You are giving yourself a present every day by adding to the jar.  At the end of the year, get ready for laughter, tears of joy, and fond memories! It is important to encourage yourself every day!

 

Maximizing Your Time

maximizing your time

We all have 24 hours in our day.  Since none of us can buy time, we must maximize (make the greatest and full use of) this limited resource. This means we must have a strategy (a plan for obtaining a specific goal or result).

So what are goals?  Goals are the results toward which our efforts are directed.  The best goals are SMART:

  • Specific–target a specific area for improvement
  • Measurable–quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
  • Action-oriented–state what action must be taken
  • Realistic–state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
  • Time-related–specify when the results can be achieved

As an innkeeper of a bed and breakfast, you may want to categorize your goals based on the different areas in your job. I have included an example of a smart goal for each category.

  • Cooking–I will learn at least one new breakfast recipe each week and serve it to my guests.
  • Decorating–I will consult with a professional painter and get an estimate on interior and exterior painting costs.
  • Events–I will host a local chamber of commerce meeting every week.
  • Finances–I will keep an organized record of my earnings and expenses.
  • Gardening–I will plant at least 3 trees and 5 bushes this month.
  • Housekeeping–I will hire a maid to clean our rooms regularly.
  • Laundry–I will arrange for a laundry service to clean our linens.
  • Marketing and Promotion–I will hire someone to write a blog for our website.
  • Shopping–I will stick to my list every time I buy groceries.

You may think of other categories or come up with different goals.  The point is to make the best use of your time. This will allow you, the busy innkeeper, to get everything done and still have a little down time to yourself.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Kristi’s Promise to You

Kristis promise to you

 

Kristi’s promise to you. I am 100% dedicated and committed to my clients.  I love writing and I love bed and breakfasts.  If I say that something will be completed by a particular date, it will be.  Honesty, integrity, and respect are important to me. I keep my word and always strive to exceed my clients’ expectations.

 

I love learning.  That is why I write blogs.  I get to investigate whatever I write about to make sure I have the best and most attention-grabbing information for my clients’ audiences. Bed and breakfast owners can count on me to discuss issues that are important to their potential guests and it can range from their area’s attractions to each bed and breakfast’s history to the delicious breakfast they serve to the decor and amenities of their inn’s rooms.

I make it my passion to be passionate about my clients’ bed and breakfasts.  When you succeed, I succeed.  I enjoy helping bed and breakfast owners reach new business goals such as increasing and consistently full occupancy rates! When you need a blog with regularly updated fresh content or a greater social media presence, I have the friendly personality and attention to detail you need to get it done right.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Top 5 Reasons to Stay at a B&B

 

reasons to stay at a B&B

Do you know that your blog is the perfect place to promote reasons to stay at a B&B? Bed and Breakfast Blogging will write a blog for your B&B that entices your website visitors to book rooms!

The following are excellent reasons why a potential guest should choose to stay at your bed and breakfast versus a hotel.

 

1. Bed and breakfasts treat all of their guests with special care and attention.  You may personalize their visits with little extras like flowers in their room and chocolate on their pillow.

2. B&B’s can be very romantic places to stay at. Several bed and breakfasts have honeymoon suites!  You may offer dessert and wine served to their room in the evening.

3. Your guests will enjoy the best home-cooked breakfast they ever have because you cook delicious gourmet food including Eggs Benedict and French toast!

4. Your visitors will be staying in the comforts of your bed and breakfast home and have the amenities of a hotel.  It is important to have pictures (even a video tour) of your bed and breakfast on your website for potential guests to see all your B&B has to offer.

5. Their special event is happening at your B&B.  Many bed and breakfasts specialize in doing weddings or hosting meetings–yours may be one of them.

Bed and breakfast owners, it is important for your blog to highlight what makes your particular bed and breakfast unique. Give them reasons to stay at a B&B. Bed and Breakfast Blogging can write you online content that is targeted to market to your ideal B&B guests.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography