I was just reading Forfeng's blog Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B's by Heather Turner which she promoted on her Twitter feed. Her advice is backed up by her knowledgeable S.E.O. techniques. The click-through rate you get if you do it "this way" and not "that way". She talks about the ratio of re-tweets when you include a URL in your tweet versus lazy idiots like me that just talk about stuff and don't bother to link to something really interesting which backs all that up. But after reading her ideas I did some rumination, casting my imagination one way and then another, leaning back in my chair, and a couple of seconds later, (actually I admit that it was before I finished reading her post), I realized in one word what happens when people follow this advice. That one word is, as my wise little granddaughter Taylor would say: "boring". I try to subscribe to every bed and breakfast inn's twitter feed and read as many fellow innkeeper's blogs as I can. And most of that material can be classed into three kinds of boring:
- Talking about the incredible local attractions, the beauty of the paintings in the nearby museums, the cool country walks and other local attractions over and over ad-nauseam (repeat those keywords and phrases for "the google" who cares about what happens when someone actually tries to read your copy).
- Listing room rates, descriptions of amenities and what's so great about your place (things that belong on your website and not your blog).
- Trying to be poetic and arty but not actually saying anything (or maybe I couldn't understand what those posters were saying but I couldn't take much more of some of them and had to un-follow their tweets and give up on that learning experience).
The average reader has the attention span of a hummingbird and the retentive powers of a clam (I went to journalism school too). But your blog is not for the average reader. So please try to forget about that copy writer's truth and write from the heart using new and interesting subject matter. The demographics of our guests at the rainforest inn is 85% professional -- doctors, hospital administrators, professors, scientists, lawyers -- people who can tell when your dumbing down your copy and trying to trick them with flash and repetitive messages. Remember that they found your blog and they're smart enough to find another one as soon as you annoy them with an ad about special holiday room rates or incredible access to nearby attractions. They already chose you because they know your inn is (in my case) deep in the heart of the El Yunque rainforest.
I also agree with Heather Turner about the importance of putting links in your twitter and blog posts. Don't worry about the fact that your readers will click those links and go off somewhere else because your readers will remember who sent them to that incredibly interesting post in the first place and come back to you for your next week's blog.
Please do your blogging and twitter posts about interesting subjects that you are passionate about. Forget about trying to increase your click-through rate or attracting more twitter followers. That will happen gradually as your friend "the google" leads people to copy they're interested in. And those people will be the same ones who want to stay in your inn (you'd be surprised how many of my guests are S.E.O. professionals and internet mavens - who do you think is teaching me this stuff?). If all you want is high search ratings and click-through rates then by all means start with a headline and link: "Candid photos of famous-pop-star-name nude here". But don't expect that to lead to more reservations at your bed and breakfast. If you want that then you will have to do the work. Wrack your brain for interesting copy. Talk over subjects for your next blog post with your guests at breakfast or with your spouse over dinner. Keep a notebook to write down ideas. Keep studying the competition and read as many informative blogs like that of Forfeng Design's to get new ideas for blog posts. Take advantage of the new social media. My twitter feed and the facebook page for the rainforest inn help as well as this blog and our podcast.