Advertisments on blogs

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We've had threads before about keeping your blog fairly subtle in promoting your B&B. Maybe 'subtle' isn't the right word, but I guess a soft sell rather than a hard sell. How hard is hard? I like the idea of posting specials on a blog. Should they just be mentioned in a given post or is it okay to add them as items in the sidebars?

What about outside advertising, like google ads and affiliate ads that could possibly generate some revenue? Are these typical? Or are they not really expected on a business blog?

Thanks.

Morticia's picture
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I'm sorry, but I really, really want to see the outfit that goes with Limescale Man.

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swirt's picture
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Chrome spandex isn't as pretty as you think it would be Eye-wink

Limescale Man !!!

YellowSocks's picture
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Dh says, "I gotta get me one of those outfits!"  (He really likes the holster...)

=) Kk.

swirt's picture
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It's amazing what you can do with velcro and an old cocktail shaker Eye-wink

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YellowSocks's picture
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I've always wondered what you looked like...

=) Kk.

IvyLee's picture
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I think Estes Park does an amazing job of blogging both about running an inn, and how they interact with guests.  Certainly there is a fine line between telling a story and invading someone's privacy, but if people weren't interested in personal interaction with innkeepers in some way they would just stay at a chain hotel right?

 

http://www.bedandbreakfastinestespark.com/

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Certainly there is a fine line between telling a story and invading someone's privacy, but if people weren't interested in personal interaction with innkeepers in some way they would just stay at a chain hotel right?

I am confused, interaction with innkeepers is not posting info about guests. Yeah, I have plenty of fun guest stories, and I won't be sharing any on our blog.  I am here ANON for the most part to share these fun guest stories.  I think it is just asking for trouble mentioning any guest in a blog or any place. 

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swirt's picture
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IvyLee wrote:
...but if people weren't interested in personal interaction with innkeepers in some way they would just stay at a chain hotel right?

I think this is the tipping point for me.  People are interested in the interaction with the innkeeper.  Where does the innkeeper recommend we eat?  What does the innkeeper recomment we see?  As a traveler I'm interested in their intimate knowledge of the area, but I am not looking for them to know all about me or put photos of me on their blog.  As an innkeeper I might have some interest in the behind the scenes stuff, but I don't think most guests want that. 

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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As an innkeeper I might have some interest in the behind the scenes stuff, but I don't think most guests want that.

Example: Guests this morning love dogs, not all our guests love dogs, and in fact some hate dogs.  Our dog decided to push her way in to beg.  The guests asked about her and were told a few anectdotal stories - like when she came into the room covered in large colorful marker spots on her back and the felt pens were nowhere to be found (until later of course, in the garden).

Other guests do not want to hear about your dog, your kid, your job before innkeeping, how you make beds, how you run the business.  Some do, most don't.

I remember a B&B (now sold) where the innkeepers SAT WITH US at the table after we finally escaped our jobs for an anniversary getaway, and spewed - yes that is the word of choice - spewed all the details about their inn and how they run it.  They didn't know we owned one as well, and it was nauseating.  We wanted to be alone.  They are the type inns that SEND YOU RUNNING to a hotel for privacy.

swirt's picture
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Hi IvyLee.  I looked at your example.  I'm sorry but there is way tooo much info for my taste.  I love dogs, but I've been reading for 15 minutes and all I know is that the dog has seisures and it has been very tramatic for the owners and I am quite certain they are nice people...I am also quite certain I will not be first on their mind.

So then I keep reading....  stacking the woodpile?  prepping for a wedding that's coming?  I'm 5 posts in and I still know nothing of the area.  If it weren't for a faint orange on yellow tag line about life in the Rockies I would have no idea what part of the country we are in ... reading more....   I now know Steve and Pearl got married with a bunch of grandkids running around...and Andrea and Michael come every year to celebrate their anniversary and Andrea hates Obama.  I now know way too much about people who are not really of any interest to me.  I still know nothing of the area and little about the inn, other than the innkeepers likely have no regard for my privacy.  I even clicked the photo where it said "click the photo to learn about what to pack forwhen coming to Estes in the Spring and Summer" and was greeted with the larger version of the photo.

To my mind this is a great example of people who like to blog about anything and everything of interest to THEM.  There is no crime in that.  It just does nothing to interest me in staying with them.

Morticia's picture
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OK, I had a whole post in a similar vein (except I liked the little innkeeper stuff about the cast iron pans and 'Action Figure Innkeeper') and I must have deleted it without posting. Thanks for saying what I wanted to about the dog. My dog has seizures but it's not on the blog. And my guests like my dog, too.

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Your dog has seizures?  And you've never told us that?  My goodness!    (My first smiley, just for you!)  Hmmm... or maybe you did mention that once in passing...

Don't suppose you want to know about the boy who has to wear rubber pants....   

=)  Kk.

Morticia's picture
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First and last mention..yes, my dog has epilepsy. She had a violent seizure about 3 years ago and we thought she was going to die right in front of us. After a certain point, the drs said she had to have meds to control the seizures. (I've heard, to the contrary, that the seizures can be controlled thru diet not just meds but I don't even control my own health issues thru diet. )

So, if we're swapping dog stories at the breakfast table I will tell guests that the dog has seizures. They tell me their dog story, I share one of mine. We have a vet who stays with us and she always brings a toy for the dog. I do mention in the newsletter that the dog is alive and well. She's appeared in the blog when we go someplace that allows dogs so guests can see where they can take their dogs when they're here.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned this elsewhere, but it's here now for those who don't know. I usually don't tell dog stories, I cry.

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Bree wrote:

 I usually don't tell dog stories, I cry.

You cry instead of telling stories?  You cry because you told the story?  You cry because the story is so sad/happy?  Frankly, crying sounds more interesting than dog stories....

=) Kk.

Morticia's picture
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YellowSocks wrote:

Bree wrote:

 I usually don't tell dog stories, I cry.

You cry instead of telling stories?  You cry because you told the story?  You cry because the story is so sad/happy?  Frankly, crying sounds more interesting than dog stories....

=) Kk.

"Because dog stories make me cry, I don't usually tell them."

Picky, picky grammarian... You're as bad as I am some days...

swirt's picture
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I am sure the dog saga on the blog has attracted a few guests, but I am also sure it scared off more than it attracted.  I liked the cast iron and action figure innkeeper too, but that is probably because we are innkeepers .... if we weren't, I'm certain it wouldn't interest me.    But perhaps there is room for Limescale Man and Plunger Boy on my blog....NOT.

IvyLee's picture
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It's important to remember that for a blog to succesfully promote your inn it needs readers, and readers aren't interested in reading thinly veiled ads, they are more sophisticated than that.  Posting interesting stories about your area, or anectdotes about fun guests and out of the ordinary events in the neighborhood will get you readers.  I think the number of 'abandoned' B&B blogs around the web speaks for itself.

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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anectdotes about fun guests

I would never write about any of our guests.  Can you give us an example of how this could be done in a positive way?  We have many fun guest stories, even this weekend I can add a couple, but I want to provide confidentiality to the guests and privacy.  Thanks.

swirt's picture
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I definitely agree about the use of thinly veiled ads.   I think abandoned blogs and readers are unrelated.  There are lots of abandoned blogs that still get plenty of readers....they just don't get lots of repeat readers (which is not completely a requirement for our niche).

My recommendation is that writing annecdotes about fun guests should be generally avoided.  Loose lips sink ships still applies.  Guest privacy should always be a concern.  Some are talented enough to take that into account in their bloggings, some aren't.

Morticia's picture
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How would you locate abandoned B&B blogs? That's an interesting phenomena.

Generally I use the blog to highlight things to do, but I make sure there's a link to the website somewhere in the text. 'We're 2 miles from this great park.' And I link that text line back to the inn.

Just got a booking from someone looking for the date of event and she found my blog. Then she kept finding my inn on all the directories and figured, as she said, 'It's fate that we stay there.'

muirford's picture
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I put the Google ads and the Amazon ads on my blog a little while ago, mostly so I could make sure I put the right links on this forum.  I changed the Amazon ads to the side under the other links and took out the Google ads which were at the bottom of the page.  Maybe it's just me, since I have been a heavy user of Amazon in the past, but I don't mind those ads as much.  Plus, they aren't for other b&bs.

I noticed one of my local competitor hotels shows up in the google ads here.

Jeanne

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I noticed one of my local competitor hotels shows up in the google ads here.

One of the other B&Bs here is showing up.....

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JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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It's your B&B blog post whatever you want to on it.  It is an extension of your website.

Google ads will quickly bring up your competitor's B&B's and people can click on them and go book them. 

swirt's picture
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I think it depends greatly on the style of blog you have.  Some are blogs specifically about your inn, while others are more of a regional travel guide.  In either case though I think a post about a special, or teaming a "romantic special" with a post about a local chocolate maker or something that is connected can be very good.  The caveat is to keep them separate enough so you can remove the special when you no longer want to offer it.  FOr example if you wrote an article about a local chocolate maker and every other sentence was a plug for your Feb 10-Mar 25th romantic getaway special then when it gets to be March 26th do you want to have to rewrite the article about the chocolate maker.  SO a little ad block for yourself within the post might be the best way to approach it because you can remove it when the special is over.  Also from a reader's pont of view, it does not "cheapen" or reduce the value of the article the way clubbing them over the head every third sentence that you own an inn...

Ads like google ads on a blog are usually not a great idea.  For one to make any appreciable money with google ads, you need lots and lots of pages and lots and lots of visitors Google ads depend greatly upon volume.  The other reason why they may not be a great choice for your blog is that if you are writing about travel in your area, then you are very likely to get   ads from travel companies in your area....namely hotels, and other B&B's.  If you are as full as you want to be, then this may not be an issue.  However, if your hope for you blog is to bring YOU more guests then google ads may not be the best choice.  You can block certain companies from being displayed in Google ads, but if there are a lot of hotels and B&B's in your area it could become difficult to block them all.

A more effective approach might be to set up some ad blocks on the side where they are actaully ads you control 100%  Meaning you talk to the local restaurant that you always send guests to and you ask them if they's like to purchase some ad space (that can be kind of awkward though).  Or better yet, find someone in your area that blogs about some related topic and contact them to see if you give them an ad block will they give you an ad block.

I'll use a wine example.  My B&B is in a wine region and most of  our guests are here for that reason.  If I had a local travel blog, I might look for a local wine blogger and prepare a sample ad and put it in place on my travel blog.  Then I'd contact that blogger and explain the logistics of advertising each other.  Then ask if they'd be interested in putting an ad block back to you (which of course you'd already have the graphic prepared).  IT is also quite likely if your blog is successful that other local companies may contact you for an ad.  You can decide whether you want to exchange ads or whether you just want to give them an ad if they give you money.  Each situation is different, but it is all in your control.

Morticia's picture
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I've had a couple of places contact me for a link swap. One of them was another B&B in another town and the other was a foodie blog.

Morticia's picture
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I stopped being subtle. I mention the inn somewhere in almost every post. 'We're so far from this or that,' that sort of thing and then a link back to the website.

I don't do ads, tho. I want to keep this 'in the family' so to speak. No distractions from the main event.

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