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How to create a content plan for your B&B Marketing in 2022

how to market a bed and breakfast Jan 06, 2022

Would you like more guests to book direct at your bed and breakfast rather than booking through the online travel agencies such as booking.com? But whenever you come to do your own marketing you get stuck for ideas?

It is possible, with a little time and effort, to attract more guests booking with you directly. And the advantages are that:

  • you'll save on the large commissions and
  • attract more of your ideal B&B guests - the ones you probably dreamed of hosting when you first decided you wanted to run your B&B

Content planning involves planning the content you are going to publish in your blog, in your newsletters to guests and posting on social media. You decide what content is most useful, relevant and entertaining for your guests. Then you plan what you content you will create, when and where.

Many B&B owners don't really do any content planning. They'll get to halfway through the year and realise they haven't sent out a newsletter or written a blog for 3 months. Or go back onto Instagram or Facebook and post a flurry of posts, before abandoning it again.

The most effective type of marketing is that which is done consistently and with purpose.

By consistently, I don't mean posting on social media every day or sending an email newsletter once a week. It may be posting on Instagram just 2 or 3 times a week or sending an email each month. But deciding on a regular posting schedule is key.

And what do I mean with purpose?

This comes down to creating content - blog posts, newsletters and social media posts - that your existing and potential B&B guests are interested in reading. Content that will make them more likely to want to come and book a stay with you!

In this blog post I'm going to talk you through how to find content for your blog posts, newsletters and social media.

STEP 1: SCHEDULE TIME FOR CREATING YOUR CONTENT PLAN

As a B&B owner you have to be very organised.  When your guest arrive at check in time, you can't apologise and say "I'm sorry your room isn't ready yet, I haven't got round to it" Or "I'm afraid it's cornflakes for breakfast, I've run out of sausages and bacon"

And if you want to attract more guests booking directly, you'll need to schedule time in for your marketing.

This time of year, when many B&Bs are in the quieter season, is the ideal time to book a few hours in your diary and sit down to produce a plan.

STEP 2: REVIEW THE YEAR JUST GONE

This is the step a lot of people miss out when they're planning their marketing content. 

Just as when we set our new year goals, it can be really tempting just to dive straight in create new plans for the year ahead without reviewing the year just gone.

But looking back over the last year will provide you with lots of useful information about what your audience want to hear about.

REVIEW ( OR CREATE ) YOUR SMILE FILE

What's a smile file, Karen? A smile file is a document you create containing all of the lovely feedback you've received from your B&B guests.

Everytime a guest leaves you a review, says something nice to you over breakfast or as they're leaving, sends you an email or writes in the guest book, pop this into your smile file.

I like a Google Doc or a Trello board, but you could use whatever software you like or even hand write it and stick in a box!

The purpose of the smile file is twofold:

  • If you're ever having a bad day and you need a boost, then open your smile file and read all of the lovely things your guests have said about you
  • it's a wealth of information about what your guests like about your B&B and what they do when they come and stay

This information can help you decide what goes in your content plan.

For example, if guests are ALWAYS commenting on the view or the lemon drizzle cake or the attention to detail, then these definitely need to go into your content plan.

You could write up the lemon drizzle recipe on your blog, then use that content in multiple different ways in your social media.

REVIEW YOUR FAQ FILE

An FAQ file is one that contains all of the questions that your guests are always asking you. 

Whenever a guest asks you a question - by email, on a phone call or in person, write it down in your FAQ file.

A question could be a worry, a concern or an objection that your guest has. By writing a blog post, newsletter or social media post addressing that concern it will make it easier for your guests to book with you.

For example, your guests might have a lot of questions about getting to your local town to explore. These are some of things I've been asked before about a visit to Ludlow:

  • How long does it take to get to Ludlow?
  • How easy it to park and how much does it cost?
  • How do we get to the best parking from here?
  • Are there any dog friendly pubs?
  • Is there a walk we can do round Ludlow?
  • Where are the public loos and are they free?

So you could write a blog post which is something 10 Practical Tips for a Day Out in Ludlow which answers all of their questions.

REVIEW YOUR GRUMPY CHIMP FILE

Your grumpy chimp file is where you keep all the less constructive feedback.

If you don't know what I'm talking about when I refer to your chimp, I recommend A Path Through the Jungle, which is Professor Steve Peters' excellent sequel to the Chimp Paradox >> Read more about it here

Whilst none of us like to dwell on negative feedback, it can also be a really useful source of information for us when we're planning content.

For example, if someone complains that you don't take children at your B&B. Then you could write a blog post/social media posts about how you're creating a restful, adult only B&B.

Or you could even write a blog post recommending the 5 local B&Bs that you recommend that are child friendly!

REVIEW YOUR STATISTICS

If you're already blogging, sending newsletters or posting on social media, then make sure you look back at your previous posts or Google Analytics. 

When a post or blog has done particularly well or is bringing a lot of traffic to your website, then look at repeating it. 

Of my Top 9 posts on Instagram for 2021, 4 of them had been used more than once!

LOOK TO SEE WHAT OTHER B&BS ARE DOING

Whilst I would never recommend that you copy another B&B's marketing. You can learn a lot from what other businesses are doing.  

And you could even look through their reviews for marketing ideas. What do their guests love about them?

This is a really useful approach if you're quite news to the business and don't have much data of your own to look back on.

STEP 3: OTHER IDEAS FOR GENERATING CONTENT IDEAS

DO A BRAINSTORM

Just sit down with a piece of paper and pen, or a pile of post it notes, or a Google doc or trello board and get out as many ideas as you.

Don't analyse, don't cross out. Just keep writing. Brainstorming one idea can lead to another!

LOOK AT YOUR CALENDAR

Get all of the national holidays in your content plan. I'm thinking Christmas, Easter, the equinoxes etc.

Check out a website such as the National Today site that lists all of the National Days. As I write this today it's #nationalshortbreadday and #nationalsoupmonth! >> National Days

STEP 4: CREATE / UPDATE YOUR CONTENT BUCKETS

By now you should have a few ideas at least. But they’re probably a bit jumbled, so we need to get them organised into content buckets or themes.

Your buckets could be days out, breakfasts, rooms, walks, events etc. And are a way of putting a bit of structure to your content.

Having your content structured like this into buckets/themes means you can provide varied interesting content to your audience and they can be inspiration for when you get stuck for ideas.

Look through all the work you’ve done so far and create your buckets. Don’t worry about getting them perfect, you can always come along and update them later.

STEP 5: CREATE A CONTENT PLAN

I recommend you create a table in an online document split into 12 months of the year for this or use a Trello Board >> He's an example of a Trello Board you could use

In here you'll write down your main content for each month.

Your marketing backbone

I believe that a blog post is the backbone of your marketing. If you don't have a blog then you can still use this content planning process for your social media.

But there are many good reasons to write a blog - this blog post here is a reminder of the main reasons >> https://www.bandbacademy.co.uk/blog/reasons-to-write-a-blog-for-your-bed-and-breakfast

How many blog posts should you write?

The more the better for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned in the blog post above, but you also want to focus on quality over quantity, writing a well structured blog that appeals to your guests and works well for your SEO.

I think one a month is a good goal to aim for, but if you could do more that’s great. You could always do mini blog posts - repurposing a popular instagram or facebook post for example.

Using the ideas and themes you’ve come up with so far, brainstorm your blog topics for each month of the year. 

I hope you found this post useful.

If you're interested in taking greater control of your own marketing you can found out about our B&B Marketing Membership here >>  B&B Marketing Membership

 

 

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