BLOGGING TIPS 101

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Kaila O’ Neill Founder & Owner of: Makeup by Kaila Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Beauty and Lifestyle Writer Here are five amazing ways to increase blog trafficking, engage your readers, and enjoy blogging even more! Social Media! Join every social media available! Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Bloglovin, Facebook, Pinterest, everything! Connect with […]

via 5 Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed! (2 min read) — The Millionaire’s Digest

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Grow Your Blog By Connecting With Others On Social Media — DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN

Connecting via social media is a great way to grow you blog. Many don’t utilize social media and in my opinion that is a mistake. Take a few minutes and research the effectiveness of social media! Social media benefits your blog in several ways: Adds legitimacy to your page in the eyes of search […]

via Grow Your Blog By Connecting With Others On Social Media — DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN

HOW TO WRITE FOR THE PET INDUSTRY

pets-group-photo

Us Brits are barking mad about our furry friends, with over 24% of us owning a dog closely followed by 17% being ‘owned by a feline’. Therefore, it’s no surprise the market for freelance writing in the pet industry is huge. New products are being launched every day and pet lovers are constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of their beloved furbabies.

The bonus, for a freelancer and pet owner like myself, is that it’s enjoyable writing about something you love and usually doesn’t involve too much research. Here are some tips if you’d like to write for one of the largest and most profitable markets out there:

Firstly, unless you have a dog like Marley or a moggy who’s changed your life similar to Street Cat Bob, nobody wants to hear about the antics of your pets in great detail, especially if – as a lot of people tend to do on Social Media – you give them language skills and weird accents. Dogs having a ‘wuffly barkday’ and cats being ‘purrfectly groomed’ are a big no-no! If you really feel the need to  turn your pet into a celebrity, stick to YouTube or Instagram. By all means, write about your experiences with a health problem, training tip or new product, but from your point of view, not Fido’s.

There are always new and innovative products for pets, so check out the upcoming trends. For example, this year has seen an increase in organic, and handmade treats and breed-specific diet foods. The popularity of teacup breeds has seen an increase in the sale of dog clothes and trendy designer bags for transport. All these products need descriptions, reviews, web content and blogs to make them successful in a competitive market.

Training is something every responsible dog owner should do. You don’t have to be Cesar Milan to write about it. Write about your own experiences or interview a local rescue centre employee to get their tips. There is a world of information on the net – try writing from a different angle. Consider different environments, seasonal aspects or situations that require special training:

  • ‘Training tips that could save your dog’s life in the city’;
  • ‘Dog Etiquette at the beach’; and
  • ‘How to train a Gun Dog’

There are also options here to write about the various methods of horse training for different sports – polo, dressage etc.

Healthcare is one of the most popular searches about pets, and, as mentioned, you don’t have to be an expert to produce work on a vast range of topics on every pet imaginable. From how to check a horse’s hooves, to why snakes shed their skin. Breed, or species-specific health issues, are always popular. Once again, try to approach things from a different angle in order to make your articles or blog posts stand out from the crowd.

Most owners have a profound interest in providing the best basic care for their pets, whether it’s how to clip your cockatoo’s claws without getting injured, how to build a playground for guinea pigs or how your pony benefits from a massage. Articles of this kind are unique – the writer explains what has worked for them. These are the tips that everyone is looking for to enhance the pet owner experience.

People love to spend time with their animals. Writing about activities and pet-friendly holidays can be a great income booster. Once again, try to mix it up, don’t just concentrate on local agility classes or cat-friendly hotels. What about, ‘How to Teach your Dog to Surf’, ‘Dog Dancing Classes’, ‘Rabbit Racing’ or ‘Yoga with Cats‘? (I kid you not!)

You can also integrate writing about equipment into this one. For instance, ‘The Top Ten Dog Sledding Harnesses’ or ‘Five Essential Items of Dog Equipment to take on your Camping Trip’.

In contradiction to my earlier comment, about nobody wanting to read the day-to-day antics of Floppy the rabbit or Fifi, the neurotic poodle. This changes when an exceptional event occurs or the human/pet relationship is extra special. There are numerous heroic pets that have a story to tell, working as military or search and rescue dogs. There are even ‘Therapy pigs and ferrets‘. (Once again, I know, unbelievable … right?)

Pets have amazing senses and can often recognise illness early and prevent seizures, actually saving lives. These stories are the ones readers are interested in.

Whatever you choose, be it a breed profile or the story of a puppy adopted by a lion, the possibilities are endless. You can overlap the topics, write seasonal articles or interview experts. Not only will you find the writing enjoyable, but, because we all love our pets, you can be sure that someone out there wants to read it.

© Donna Hepburn 2016

 

 

 

 

HOTELS: BASICS OF ONLINE MARKETING

cmsimg_1333123142The hospitality industry is one of the most competitive, therefore, marketing your hotel can be a minefield if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s worth building an extensive database along with a comprehensive marketing strategy to maximise conversion rates. There are hundreds of options, but understanding these basics will get you started.

Before embarking on a complicated marketing campaign, you should have a conversation with your current customers, and ask these questions:

Who are the people who book your hotel? Businessmen, families, young couples? It’s no good using targeted marketing if you don’t know your target.

Where did they find out about your hotel? This information helps you gather information about which avenues are most lucrative and which need more work to improve conversion rate.

What do your guests value, and care about? Finding out this information can help you find your target audience and also help improve things if certain areas are lacking. Most hotels have guests complete a satisfaction questionnaire during their stay to collate this information. Always ask for an email address as you can update them regularly with news and special offers.

You now have information and it’s time to decide where to spend your marketing budget. Online marketing is profit-driven and, if done correctly, it works. However, you need to focus your strategy and budget on platforms that bring in profit. The CEO is not interested in how many shares you have on Facebook, likes on Twitter, or how many emails have been opened. They are interested in how many bookings the hotel receives.

More often than not, Google is the starting point for anyone looking for a hotel. In that respect, AdWords can work really well in the hospitality business. You pick certain keywords that people use when searching for a hotel then create an ad using these keywords. Some are expensive so concentrate on those that emphasise your USPs (Unique Selling Points). Google have recently added new features to enhance this service for best results:

  • Create a Google ‘My Business Page’ and make sure the hotel’s Google Maps is optimised.
  • Join Google’s Travel Blog for travel marketers. Keep ahead of your competitors by being first to know the new features and relevant travel news.
  • Highlight your features, special offers, and upcoming events. These should be highlighted in all your marketing but can be especially useful if, for example, someone is searching for a Christmas party or a naturist beach.
  • Sign up for a Google Business View which Google promise to set up in five working days.

Google also has an invaluable tool for marketers within its AdWords service, which allows you to build a user list through its remarketing tag. This list can include:

  • Visitors to your website made up of people who have clicked through.
  • Visitors who took specific actions, either enquired or booked through the website.
  • A similar user list can be automatically created by Google to target users with similar interests.
  • Customer match email address lists. Hotels with a comprehensive CRM can upload bulk emails to create logical user email lists.

Email marketing and AdWords can also be extremely effective on social media platforms. The best way to engage people is to run a competition – the bigger the better! You incentivise engagement, with the opportunity to win a prize, and can generate hundreds – if not thousands – of email addresses and phone numbers with an optimised entry form. This can also give you demographic information so you focus your marketing in certain areas and generate leads interested in your hotel.

Targeting your Facebook ads to existing contacts allows you to engage with people, by name, who are aware and have interacted with your brand. All you need to do is encourage them to do so again and you can reward them by offering tailored discounts and special offers.

These are some of the simplest ways of building an email database. You can add to the list over time enabling you to remarket to previous guests as well as new contacts. Please feel free to contact us if you need help with any of your marketing content, blogs or articles.

© Donna Hepburn 2016

FIVE TIPS ON HOW TO WRITE AN ARTICLE IN UNDER 30 MINUTES

dog-time-perception-2As a freelancer, I get paid for my time. Therefore, it makes sense to use that time efficiently. Whether I am writing an article for a client who has given me the topic or writing one on spec, I don’t want  to spend hours penning thousands of words. With a business to run, along with daily life, I try to keep an article or blog post to under 30 minutes including research. There’s no reason to sacrifice quality either. Following these tips will ensure you produce excellent content in as brief time as possible.

  • Keep it short 

Around 500 words is best. There are millions of articles and blog posts on the Internet and no matter how interesting the subject, it’s best to keep it brief. I recently wrote a 1,500-word piece for a client about Mountain Bike Tyres and believe me, even the most dedicated cyclist would have struggled to reach the end. I certainly struggled writing it. I mean, how much engaging content is there about a sphere of rubber? Keeping an article short and informative encourages a reader to read and also increases the chances of a swift call to action.

  • Bullet Points & Lists 

I love a list and, it’s been psychologically proven that most of us do, so use this to your advantage. Not only are they easier for the reader’s eye to follow but they are much simpler to write as you don’t have to connect one idea to the next. This type of article is especially good as a sales technique, as we feel comforted buying something we know is approved by others so are more likely to purchase.

  • Limit your research 

When I first started this writing malarkey, I would spend hours trawling the Internet trying to find relevant information on the subject matter. By the time I started writing, I had forgotten most of it. Give yourself a time limit and stick to it. It is tempting just to rewrite what is already out there, so I collect all the information I need in a word document, work on the structure of ideas, then close the document and write the piece in my own words.

  •  Idea List 

This is a great method if you write your own articles to submit to websites and magazines. Not only do I keep a list of whatever idea pops to mind, but I also spend five minutes researching and keep the information with the idea for later. When I’m pushed for time, I have the ideas to hand with no need for research and can churn out a quality article in around 15-20 minutes.

  • Don’t Force It 

You have an idea or a given subject matter and can’t find the right information or the words just won’t come. We’ve all been there – right? Leave it, make a cup of coffee, go for a walk, have a relaxing bath, work on something else. Let your head do the work instead of your fingers. Thinking about how to write something will give you different approaches and ideas making it much easier when you come back to it.

Following these tips will save you time without sacrificing content. You will work more efficiently and free up time, which every freelancer knows is precious.

PS I wrote this post in around 15 mins.

© Donna Hepburn 2016