Upcoming SCORE Workshops

Some of the SCORE Workshops I will be teaching this coming February: (these are free workshops, please take advantage of them!)

If you are a new business starting out or even been in business for a long time and need help, please request a SCORE mentor! SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. … SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SCORE’s mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. With the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs since 1964. SCORE mentoring is FREE! My chapter in New Hampshire has over 100 mentors!

Being a SCORE mentor is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have, to give back and help people is truly an amazing experience. SCORE mentors are not paid, we volunteer our time to help other business owners. 

How to Up Your Marketing Game Using Social Media
Monday, January 4, 2021, two sessions at 10:00am EST and 2:00pm EST
With the proliferation of social media platforms, it’s essential that you identify and master the right ones to reach your potential customers. In this first in a series of workshops, we’ll provide you with an overview of many of the major platforms, followed over the next few weeks by in-depth workshops on how to use them to get the best results. In this workshop you’ll learn what social media is and how to use it, what you can and can’t do with each platform, as well as the uses for each one. Terrific for companies that want to get their feet wet in social media but don’t know which platforms to use. Includes the pros and cons of each one and which ones work best for what kind of markets, B2B and B2C. You’ll learn what’s new, what’s hot and what has changed in the past year and the importance of using and creating a content calendar.

10:00am EST
Register at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/how-your-marketing-game-using-social-media%C2%A0-0

2:00pm EST
Register at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/how-your-marketing-game-using-social-media%C2%A0

Using Twitter and YouTube for Your Business
Friday, January 8, 2021, 2:00pm EST
In this free online workshop, you’ll learn a step by step plan to get your Twitter account as maximized for marketing and how to use the free Twitter tools that can make updates less time consuming to post and easier to manage.
We’ll cover
-Twitter etiquette and the art of the DM (Direct message)
– How to find and source contacts and potential customers
-What not to do to market your business on Twitter
– Tips, tricks and techniques to leverage your posts for maximum exposure to potential clients and customers.
You’ll also learn how to customize your Youtube channel and tie it into your other marketing and social media marketing including Pinterest, Facebook, Blogs and websites: how to optimize your channel and videos and promote them; and learn about the new offerings Youtube is rolling out. We’ll l touch on some of the advertising options Youtube offers as well.
Register at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/using-twitter-and-youtube-your-business

Introduction to Pinterest for Your Business
Monday, January 11, 2021, 2:00pm EST
In this free online workshop you’ll learn how to use one of the fastest growing social media network to promote your business.
What is Pinterest? A Virtual Pinboard. It lets you organize and share all the things you find on the web, plus it lets you upload your own photos, and pin photos and images directly from your website and blog. You’ll learn how to use your pinboards and utilize the pinboards of others to enhance your marketing.
Some of the reasons to use Pinterest:
-It can help drive traffic to your website and other media.
– Pinterest is addictive, which is great for getting people to focus on your business or properties,
– Pinterest integrates with your website, as well as other social media channels to help push your brand further out into the world of online marketing and branding.
Register at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/introduction-pinterest-your-business

Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest Advertising
Friday, January 15, 2021, 2:00pm EST
Learn about the different advertising options that Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest offers. We will be covering best practices, ad options, targeting options (for Twitter and Pinterest) as well as what audiences are best reached using these channels. We will also give some statistics on business advertising and ad pricing for these channels.
Register at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/twitter-youtube-and-pinterest-advertising

The Basics of Blogging
Monday, January 18, 2021, 2:00pm EST
In this free online workshops, you learn blogging tactics for marketing your business and some tips, tricks and techniques to leverage your posts for maximum exposure to potential clients and customers.
We’ll cover Guest Posting and how to integrate your other social media marketing and offline marketing with your blog and help you develop a marketing plan utilizing a blog including a blogging schedule.
You’ll find out how to best integrate your blog into your overall social media strategy and why blogging is one of the best platforms out there for long term search engine optimization.
Register at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/basics-blogging

Content Curation For Business
Monday, January 25, 2021, 2:00pm EST
What is Content Curation and why is it important for Businesses? Content Curation is done to make life easier for businesses and their marketing, to help with SEO, and using the free tools that Facebook, Twitter and others offer, to aggregate content, posting and utilizing social media to promote their business becomes in less time.
Register at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/content-curation-business

Thursday, February 4, 10:00 AM
Leveraging Facebook Groups for Business
While businesses do still need to have Facebook Business Pages, learn how to leverage and optimize Facebook groups, both starting your own and taking advantage of local and targeted groups. Paying attention to group etiquette and rules as well as learn how to set that up in your own Facebook group and how best to moderate a group. If you are in need of employees, learn what groups out there that you can post help wanted on as well as business oriented networking groups where you can share your business promotions.
Registration will be up shortly at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/take-workshop-4

Tuesday February 9, 10:00 AM
The Art of the S.W.O.T.
S.W.O.T. Analysis is an approach that can be used to assess personal and business practice and progress: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It can be applied to a variety of strategic planning goals and evaluations for business, whether you are starting a business, trying to figure out a business name and more. If you are an established business owner, S.W.O.T. analysis can be used for evaluating your competitors, deciding on whether a new service or product offering is worth pursuing or whether or not now is the time to expand your business or hire more employees. S.W.O.T. Analysis is one of many strategic planning tools that businesses can use for decision making.
Registration will be up shortly at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/take-workshop-4

Friday, February 12, 10:00 AM
Questions to Ask When Evaluating Hiring a Website Developer
Are you a business owner considering hiring a website designer/developer to do or redo your business website? Do you know what questions to ask? Do you know how to research their business to evaluate if it is someone you feel comfortable hiring? Join us for this workshop where we will cover what questions you should be asking a website developer before signing a contract and what the questions mean and why they are important to your business. We will also provide you a handy RFP (Request For Proposal) that can be used and modified for your business. We will also touch on photo and image copyright, GDPR, ADA website accessibility liability and other privacy and accessibility laws that your website should be complying with and whether the website designer you hire will be liable or your business would be for non-compliance with any of these topics covered.
Registration will be up shortly at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/take-workshop-4

Thursday, February 18, 10:00 AM
Questions to Ask When Evaluating Hiring a Digital Advertising and Social Media Marketing Firm
Are you considering outsourcing your digital and social media marketing? Before you do, please join us for this informative workshop. Do you know what questions to ask when evaluating a digital marketing firm and how to evaluate their own marketing as well as their clients? It’s important to know what level of access to give to an outside firm as well as evaluate if your company even needs to outsource. We will cover what kind of reporting a digital marketing firm should be providing you as well as we will also provide you a handy RFP (Request For Proposal) that can be used and modified for your business plus we will go through the checklist to explain how and why these questions should be asked.
Registration will be up shortly at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/take-workshop-4

Friday, February 26, 10:00 AM
Google My Business and Bing Places for Business (with Robert Rustici)
Learn more on how to leverage the Google Business Listing for increasing both traffic to your website and customers to your business. Think of the Google Business Listing as a social media extension for when people are searching about what your business has to offer. This important online marketing channel can improve your SEO and expand your reach to new opportunities when used in conjunction with Google’s paid advertising. We will also review Bing Places for Business which is Bing’s version of Google My Business for the Bing Search Engine. Over 35% of web searches are using the Bing search engine.
Registration will be up shortly at https://merrimackvalley.score.org/take-workshop-4

Steps to Backing Up Your Personal and Business Facebook Pages

A common question I get from friends and clients is what happens if my business page or personal account gets deleted or I get locked out or banned from Facebook? Well in some cases it can be recovered, but in some, it can’t. Most of the concern understandably is about photos that might have been uploaded to a page or profile from a mobile phone and in many instances the copy on Facebook is the only copy.

From a business perspective, it’s not just photo loss, but what if you want to find a copy of a post from last year? Or two years ago? You can sit there for an hour plus and scroll back through all the posts in your insights, but having done that myself several times looking for past post information, set aside an extra hour (or two) to be able to find something, It’s ALOT of scrolling. Being able to download (and sort easily) that information can be very helpful.

Let’s start with the Facebook personal page, Facebook changed how you get to this option fairly recently for both profiles and pages. The last time I reviewed this was back about 3 years ago and there are some definite changes plus it’s always a good reminder.

Step one for a personal profile: Go to the top right of your Facebook account and click on the small downward-facing pyramid to “Settings & Privacy”
Facebook Screenshot of downloading and backing up information

Step 2: Go to “Settings”
Facebook Screenshot of downloading and backing up information

Step 3:**** Go to “Your Facebook Information” and than “Download Your Information”
Facebook Screenshot of downloading and backing up information
****Facebook frequently changes the options (and many of the settings) in the backend of accounts without letting anyone know, I highly recommend Facebook users go and review what the options are in here at least once quarterly if not more often.

Step 4:  if you have everything selected, be warned, it’s going to take a long time to process. So deselect all and than do the ones you have an interest in backing up.
Facebook Screenshot of downloading and backing up information

You will get two emails from Facebook, the first saying it’s processing, the second will come when your Zip file is ready to be downloaded. You will also get a red notification on the page above when it’s ready. If you get the second email saying it’s ready and you still had the above page open and it says “pending” refresh the page on your browser.
Email Screenshot of downloading and backing up information for Facebook

Email Screenshot of downloading and backing up information for Facebook

For a business page:

Step 1: On the left hand side of your Business page when you are on as an admin, go to “Settings”
Facebook Screenshot of downloading and backing up information for Business Page

Step 2: On the General tab, go to the middle of the page to “Download Page” and than “edit”. When you click on that there will be another option to hit “Download Page”.

Facebook Screenshot of downloading and backing up information for Business Page
Facebook Screenshot of downloading and backing up information for Business Page

Step 3: You will get a very similar looking page to the personal profile options, but it will say “Download Page” at the top to make sure it’s being differentiated from your personal account.
Facebook Screenshot of downloading and backing up information for Business Page
I’d recommend doing this at least once per year for both personal and business at the very minimum, I do this quarterly for any accounts I admin as the last thing you want to have is information that is not recoverable in any way.

I can’t stress enough the importance of backing up not just your social media information but all of the information on your computer on a consistent basis. I’ve talked to so many businesses who say they know they should be doing it and don’t and very much regret it when their computers fail, they have a break-in and their equipment gets stolen or there is a disaster like a fire or flood. If you are on of those people who know you should be doing it, but don’t, I would ask you to ask yourself, “Can my business function and how long will it take (and can I, and my business) recover, if my information is lost, maybe irretrievably forever.

The Smart Innkeepers Guide to Making Social Media Content Planning Manageable

Calendar Planner Planning Organizer Note ConceptAbout 4 years ago I had written a blog post about Planning Ahead for Your Bed and Breakfast Promotions and this ties into the new calendar I’ve put together (below) and your content scheduling, or you can adapt or just use one format or another. Here is the online spreadsheet from that post (don’t forget you can download it and it does have multiple tabs). Tips on downloading or copying if needed near the bottom of the post.

At the beginning of this year with Covid hitting and B&Bs being closed or having a limited business, the big question was what to post, so I had designed this campaign with posting ideas https://betterwaytostay.com/campaign/. And the idea can still be used at any time.

I’ve had several questions from friends and other B&Bs if I was going to do the annual National and other Days of interest list that I do once a year compiled from a bunch of sources around the web. Since I had just finished next year’s calendar I am happy to share, but I also added some other tips (in the additional documents in the post) that might make posting and figuring out when to post for specials and other events (like Holidays) a bit clearer and hopefully easier. 

It’s much easier to take about an hour at the beginning of the year, if not before, and develop at least a rough outline for your content calendar for the year and add to it (or subtract) as needed. Here are some content calendar ideas that I hope will help you start to develop a content calendar. The National Days is just a starter and I know every marketer under the sun pushes it, but it is admittedly a great “starting” point. I spent about 4 hours collating National, International Days and other Days of interest including as many food ones as I could find. This might be useful for restaurants as well looking for a few ideas to post. If you know of any I missed please let me know and I’ll add them in.

National and More Days for B&Bs (with some specific days as prompts)

National and More Days for B&Bs (no selections/prompts) 

Calendar Example for a B&B. This is an example of a property going through the list and leaving the ones they might be interested in using for potential posts or blog or video posts. It doesn’t mean a property will do them, it just means a property found something interesting in the list, something that speaks to them (military family), a love of fun (Soylent Green Day or UFO Day for those with a sense of humor and love of Sci-fi), particular food days that resonate with things the B&B serves for breakfast, etc. Note this list is 11 pages pared down from 17.

Calendar Example for B&Bs with Specials. This is an example of preplanning your yearly calendar for posts and promotions that can be used stand-alone or in conjunction with the spreadsheet mentioned at the beginning of the blog. I only did the first couple of months but hopefully, you can get a good idea of how to go about adding information both for notes for yourself and scheduling posts for any ongoing specials or holidays you want to promote. 

This is a PDF fillable calendar. (please download to fill) that you can fill in and print off or just print off and write in ideas (note please save it as a separate document or it may not save any inputted text). I would suggest making a checkmark next to the ones you’ve done, plus making any notes about engagement, likes, shares, and comments, these will help direct you in the following years if you want to do similar posts or promotions. 

Content Calendar Sample Format. If you prefer a calendar type format instead of a spreadsheet or word document for figuring out your posting schedule you can use a format like this. There is no wrong way to do this, you find the format that works the best (and easiest) for you and go from there.

Blank Calendar-Sample Tracking. (I like to track likes, comments and shares on a seperate sheet, but you can also handwrite if that works for you (see below example). It helps if you note what you started with for each channel and ended with for each channel. Facebook January 1-352 Likes, January 31-386 Likes, etc. this will help you track progress and you can review quarterly to see whether what you are doing is actually working or not.

Content Calendar with Handwritten Notes *note circles mean a link to the inn’s website main or sub-page or blog post on the website.

Something some B&Bs don’t do is link to their website or a specific page on their website in posts at least once a week. If you are wondering about conversions and clicks from social media (and why you are not getting many or any) it’s something you need to look at.

I was talking to an innkeeper earlier this week and she was complaining that while her posts on Facebook were getting a lot of engagement, she had not gotten a single click through from Facebook in more than 3 months according to her Google Analytics. Not one of her over 100 posts had a link to the website in the post body itself. People tend to forget once someone has liked a page, the only link (unless you remind them in the posts that show up in their Facebook personal feed) to your website is back “on” the business page itself. People will not double click to search for the link. 

This is How to make a copy or download a document (for reference if you want to use anything mentioned here offline or copied digitally)

I’d also recommend checking out You Need This 2021 Marketing Calendar [Free Templates] and his spreadsheet of helpful links and dates which does have things like the NHL Winter Classic, PGA Tournament of Champions, and the Grammy’s dates if these are things that you want to tie into your marketing but does not have the majority of the food dates that mine does. My calendar has most of the same information plus food but is missing sports and TV related events.

If you find any of the information above useful, we always appreciate a follow/like on our Facebook page (we don’t post a ton there as I personally prefer being able to chat with people but I am on FB pretty much all day during the week and your welcome to message me anytime) but would appreciate a page like and happy to reciprocate if you let us know your business page link, or you can connect on Linkedin or Twitter or just come say hello .

If you know someone that can use some social media help and would like to be able to learn it and manage it themselves (that’s what we do, we teach it) instead of paying an external company to manage it, please give me a call (860-326-0721) or email me, we are happy to help. Cheers and Happy Holidays. Please stay safe out there!

Upcoming SCORE Workshops

Road sign saying Road to Recovery AI Next ExitThese are some of the upcoming SCORE workshops I am teaching for Merrimack SCORE. All are welcome to attend, they are free 🙂 Just be warned you will have to listen to a short shameless sales pitch about how wonderful SCORE is and how everyone should sign up and take advantage of free SCORE mentoring.  Check out some of the other workshops our Chapter is also hosting this month. The podcasting one sounds really interesting! Find more information at: https://merrimackvalley.score.org/take-workshop-4.

In all seriousness though, if you are a business owner or starting a new business, even if you are not interested in getting a business mentor, I very much encourage you to check out the SCORE content library. With hundreds of recorded webinars, articles and resources for every stage of business it is truly a wealth of information. SCORE helped start my business in 2003 and for that I am eternally grateful. I love being a SCORE counselor and giving back to the business community (hint hint we are always looking for mentors…..) and I have really enjoyed mentoring small businesses so far.

June 2, 2020, 2:00 pm EDT: Online Reputation Management
Learn how to respond (and not respond) to Google My Business, Yelp, Tripadvisor (if applicable) and other review sites comments and reviews. Reputation Management is not just about reviews, social media comments are always a part of it: learn how to respond to Facebook, Twitter and blog or forum comments. Learn which sites have management responses enabled and what methods you can use to combat reviews by competition or by people who have never used your services or bought your products. Find out how to use negative feedback constructively and how to set up review and comment alerts. We will also review good techniques for responding to reviews including proper customer service oriented keywords to include.
Register at: https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/online-reputation-management

June 9, 2020, 2:00 pm EDT: Practical Steps to Recovery for Your Restaurant and Foodservice Establishment
Please join as we review some of the industry issues that are affecting and will continue to affect the foodservice industry for some time. We will be reviewing menus, industry shortages and projected shortages and the effect of an interrupted supply chain on the industry and what establishments can do to balance those issues. We will also address how to focus on the free and very low cost advertising venues that establishments can take advantage of and further leverage especially prior to a reopening or operating in limited capacity. Additionally we will touch on coop marketing and supply as well as further exploring food and menu re-purposing.
Register at: https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/practical-steps-recovery-your%C2%A0restaurant%C2%A0and-foodservice-establishment

June 16, 2020, 2:00 pm EDT: Leveraging Facebook Groups for Business
While businesses do need to have Facebook Business Pages, learn how to leverage and optimize Facebook groups, both starting your own and taking advantage of local and targeted groups. Paying attention to group etiquette and rules as well as learn how to set that up in your own Facebook group and how best to moderate a group.
Register at: https://merrimackvalley.score.org/event/leveraging-facebook-groups-business

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 2:00 PM EST: Social Media for Employers and Jobseekers
For employers, find out how to use social media and Google search to research job applicants the right way without violating privacy or hiring laws. For job seekers (and this is helpful information for employers to know as well) Find out which social networks can be used to enhance your online resume and portfolio, how to clean up your online reputation/profile and how to leverage connectors and search engine optimization to find your perfect job. We will be doing some in depth focus on using and customizing Linkedin, Twitter and Blogging for networking and job hunting. We will also be talking briefly about ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) that many employers use to organize and review job applicants and applications.
Registration Coming Soon

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 2:00 PM EST: ADA Website Compliance
We will cover what we know about ADA (America with Disabilities Act) website accessibility lawsuits, what is currently required for ADA compliance, the difference between state and federal ADA rules, why it matters that your website is accessible to people with disabilities, and how to help protect yourself from so-called “drive-by” or “surf-by” lawsuits. Even if your business is not required to comply with ADA physical standards, your website should be complying. ADA Website Compliance also ties into the basics of good search engine optimization and is also important in many ways not related to ADA for marketing your business online.
Registration Coming Soon

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 2:00 PM EST: A Social Media Strategic Plan for Online Crisis. An Outline for Businesses
Many businesses large and small don’t think about creating a social media crisis strategic plan until after the fact. Your business is in the news in a negative fashion or a customer decides to have a meltdown online aimed at your company. Planning ahead on how you would approach an online crisis before it happens is key to helping your business survive an incident.
Registration Coming Soon

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 2:00 PM EST: How to Up Your Marketing Game at Tradeshows and Events
This webinar is useful for any type of business. What goes into a good trade show booth and display? Business to Business Expos and other Trade or Event Gatherings are great places to market your business, whether you are a service provider or a business with products to sell. Learn what goes into making a good trade show booth, what types of literature and other items to bring including “just in case” items to plan for every eventuality. We will also touch on virtual marketplaces and virtual events.
Registration Coming Soon

 

Instagram from the Web, Web Hacks for Innkeepers

A highway with the Words "The easy way" and an arrow pointing upIf you just want the Instagram hack, skip to the bottom links 🙂

I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m not terribly fond of Instagram, one of the primary reasons being it’s smartphone-based, and I really don’t like my cell phone much. 

To me it’s useful, it’s a tool I use for taking bad pictures (an iPhone 6 doesn’t take the best photos), getting texts from family and a few friends (mostly because I don’t give the number out much) and to check email in a pinch. Oh and I also use it a lot for Google maps and navigation.

What I don’t want is to be tied to it 24/7 like so many of my friends and family are, checking the damn thing several dozen times per hour. I am already on a computer working 12+ hours a day usually. Downtime is a good book, not checking Pinterest boards or scrolling through social media feeds. 

One of the other reasons I am not fond of Instagram and this from a purely marketing perspective as well as a time perspective, is most of the photos I have are desktop-based or I take photos with a digital SLR camera, which I love, and so most photos end up on my main computer. To post anything to Instagram by smartphone I would have to transfer them by connector cord or digitally and that seems like a waste of time, add in the fact that I have a million thumbs and it takes me 5 minutes to type in a text message in the first place, Instagram is not my fave rave.

About a year and half ago I came across a blog post talking about using Instagram from the web and was overjoyed, a way around having to post by phone! The hack was only for Google Chrome and I’ve been showing other people how to do it since then. It came up recently asking if I knew if you could post via computer with other browsers and I was not aware of how to but supposed you probably could.

With that in mind. I messed around online a bit and I found you can post with Firefox and Microsoft Edge. I would imagine you can with a Mac, but I don’t have one to test it on but did find this, if this is current enough and works, if anyone tries it please let me know. https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/12663/view-mobile-websites-in-windows-with-safari-4-developer-tools/ . I did not try it on Microsoft Explorer because quite frankly Explorer is not the safest browser and if you are still using it I’d encourage a switch to pretty much any other one out there.

Using Instagram from the web does have downsides, you can’t post videos, you can’t save drafts and you don’t have access to many of the bell and whistle options in the back-end of mobile-based Instagram and you can’t run ads on it unless you are doing it connected to Facebook. The plus side is you can set up an Instagram account this way, set up your profile, add a profile picture, follow people, comment and like posts and direct message people, PLUS you can post pictures directly to Instagram from a desktop/laptop-based browser. 

If you do want some options for scheduling Instagram posts and keep in mind I get biased by price (I prefer free) but I also don’t like software that glitches easily or often or customer support that is non-existent or takes forever to get back to you (Hello Facebook!). So with that in mind……

Buffer (Free and Paid)-I LOVE Buffer

Later (Free and Paid)-tried it more than a few times, glitched quite a bit

Hootsuite (Free and Paid)-tried it more than a few times, glitched quite a bit and I find the interface not the friendliest

Tailwind (Paid)-very good for Instagram and Pinterest

Posting cheat sheets in PDF:

Instagram from a web browser in Firefox

Instagram from a web browser in Google Chrome

Instagram from a web browser in Microsoft Edge

Have fun! And if you are a Bed and Breakfast reading this, don’t forget you can participate in the ALP Better Way to Stay Get Heads In Beds Initiative starting May 1, 2020. More information at https://betterwaytostay.com/campaign/

 

Resource Sites and Post Ideas for Bed and Breakfasts

Text on Paper says ResourceSo I think I’ve sent these links out including the post ideas several hundred times within the last few weeks so thought if anyone else might find them useful, have at it. 🙂

Resource Links for Social Media and other online tools I use quite a bit: 

Canva

Youtube

Pinterest

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Linkedin

Google Docs & Spreadsheets Tutorials

To reduce Image File Size

Remove Image Background 

CloudConvert File Converter 

Free PDF editor & form filler (use the free online version)

Stock Photo Information 

Model Releases (for adults and children) 

25 Blogging ideas for Inns and B&B’s (also useful for things to tweet about or blog about or use for other social media) plus more underneath crisis related as hard sell advertising is not recommended right now.

  • Recipes: recipes you use, recipes you’ve come across that sounded good that the inn is going to try at some point, recipes given to you by guests or friends (including other innkeepers).*caveat: No poaching of Google images, take the photos yourself or buy from a stock photo source or guests may have pictures to share with you (always credit them) Good images can be obtained for around a buck from stock photo sources. If the recipe is something you serve on a regular basis, highly recommended you take an actual photo or use stock that comes very very close to the real thing. I hope I don’t have to explain why ?
  • Recipe failures with a funny story.
  • Guest Comments.
  • Your Inn in the News.
  • Area attractions in the news.
  • A frequent and Loyal Guest in the News.
  • Specials and Packages at your inn. (wait until things are closer to opening up, but mention them as reminders)
  • Area Attractions with contact information about the attraction, a weblink, directions and why its interesting.
  • Area attractions reviews (including dining).*caveat: especially if its dining, make sure it’s a review that a recent guest or guests had and not your personal point of view, i.e. don’t piss off the locals that might refer you.
  • Trip Itineraries for Guests, make a custom Google map pined with locations (this is free by the way and easy to use)
  • Pictures of the inn: if it’s food give a title to it if it’s not accompanied by a recipe, if it’s a particular location in or around the inn, describe it.
  • Pictures of happy guests, with their permission and preferably in writing. Customizable Model Releases in MS word. (link below)
  • Area Events going on, you can also tie this into area restaurants having specialty diners or wine tastings.
  • A brief, “we get frequent questions “about” and put in answers.
  • What does your inn do to differentiate itself from the others.
  • You just found a new product you are using it and love, be it food or a new fabric softener, describe it and explain why you love it.
  • Funny guest stories. *caveat: make them funny and only funny, proof heavily to make sure they are not negative in any way. While a wife may go into the wrong room by mistake in the middle of the night may have very amusing consequences, it raises things like don’t they have locks on the doors? (even if you do and point out they didn’t lock them)  etc. etc.
  • Do some food specific reviews. You have a couple of apple orchards nearby. Do some write-ups on the apples, do some research on types of apples, link to sources.
  • Research and write about area birds that come to and hang around the inns, pictures are always a plus.
  • Research and do some write-ups about the area plants and trees in the area. You have a historic stand of black birches in the area, some history, background (and pictures) you grow opal basil in your inn garden, tie it into some recipes you use and write about the difference in taste and appearance between that and regular basil.
  • Ask for feedback, from blog readers and from prior guests. You just went from goose down pillows to memory foam pillows. Ask for some thoughts from people; don’t forget to include the link to this blog article when you do your next email blast.
  • A bio of yourselves and/or your staff.
  • A book review or commentary about a local author.
  • Suggestions for weather/time of year guests. i.e. August is prime season for ticks in New England, add tick repellent tips, wear white, use a good repellent (which we also keep extra of the at inn by the way) etc. etc. On hot muggy days our guests like to go to a cool shaded out of the way place to dip and bring a picnic (provided by the inn as an amenity of course).
  • Targeted things to do, coming with an elder relative, they might like…. Coming with young children, they might like….Bringing your dog, you and your pup might like……

Originally on: 25 Blogging Ideas for Inns and B&Bs (and other posting channels)

Some Additional ones from recent blog posts (Covid Crisis)

  • What you are doing or going to do in the community to help. 
  • Testimonials and reviews from past guests.
  • Recipes you make normally (with lots of pictures) tie some quotes from past reviews in there too.
  • If you are learning a new skill or more “about “something (highly recommended) write about it!
  • Tips on recipes substitutions and also cooking recipes or tips that people can do with limited ingredients.
  • Local news (and other news) of people reaching out and doing something nice for others. Everyone needs the positive right now.
  • Photos of things in the inn, not necessarily rooms, but closeups and write a story about them.
  • Photos of outside the inn, wide shots and closeups too, as Spring comes, flowers and other plants are going to be coming up and blooming, sharing beauty is always a positive. People need it and will continue to need it.
  • Test recipes (if you are going to or can play with new ones) ask for feedback on posts, what do people think? Or just post the link and add some text.
  • Do online cooking tutorials or demonstrations. Live stream it if you are up for it.
  • Other skills or other hobbies you can share online
  • If you have dogs or cats (or other animals) at your inn and you are not already using them for marketing, now is the time.
  • Talk about some of the things you have in the inn and WHY you like them and use them. 

Originally on Working towards future heads in beds and Restore, Engage, Aggregate, De-stress and You for Innkeepers

And ALP (Association of Lodging Professionals) will have something hopefully useful to help Innkeepers, stay tuned for an announcement on Wednesday afternoon……..