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Makeover Session 2.0: The Clever Blog Post That Everyone Should (And Can) Publish Tomorrow

If you haven’t heard, I am working to totally makeover one lucky vacation rental owner’s marketing portfolio live (and step-by-step) for my subscribers to follow. You can read all the prior posts here.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.51.11 PMThere are four types of vacation rental owners/managers that I tend to interact with on a regular basis:

1. Those who don’t have a blog but know they need one

2. Those who have a blog but don’t like to write

3. Those who have a blog but don’t know what to write about

4. Those who have a blog and are constantly on the lookout for better things to write about

Amy Firmani (my makeover contest winner) fit into groups #2, #3, and #4.

We built her a website but she was having trouble really getting her blog started.

So we had to come up with a killer blog post formula that was foolproof: a way for anyone of any age in any destination in the world to sit down and put together a golden nugget blog post.

The result?

We created something so clever that ideally it will inspire you all into action (there’s a reason this episode of the makeover is 2.0!!!)

Literally, my aim is for you to read this article and want to begin this procedure…immediately!

What Makes A Good Vacation Rental Blog Post?

Your blog is your window to the world: it’s where you distinguish yourself from the competition…

Where you educate potential visitors…

Where you build reputation and authority through Helping, Not Selling.

And assuming you already have these 20 easy peasy posts live on your blog, your new posts should always be created with the following goals in mind:

> Generate quality web traffic

> Establish expertise

> Add value to vacation planning

> Be authentic

Good vacation rental blogs get shared on social media. They are leveraged in newsletters. And they improve the awareness or exposure of your vacation rental brand…which in turn, means bookings down the line.

But although these things may seem obvious, most owners or managers slack a bit when it comes to posting.

So Here Is Something Everyone Can Do…

For anyone who comes up with excuses whenever it’s time to post to their blog, I want to share with you this seemingly invincible blog technique that I originally saw done on Pat Flynn’s Food Trucker Blog.

It’s perfect for anyone who says, “But I don’t live in my rental’s destination and so I don’t have daily insight” or “Buy I don’t actually have any expertise” or “But I don’t know how to write!”

Basically the clever blog post formula goes something like this:

> First, you do an elaborate Google search and document (it could be literally copy/paste) a unique or special travel tip about your destination found on any given website.

Ideally, the travel tip is something even you didn’t know! Maybe a secret back entrance to a local pub or a place where tipping the waitress means free drinks all night. The more impactful the tip, the your impactful result. So spend some time finding really good ones.

> Second, aggregate 15 or 20 of these tips in an MSWord or Excel document, and be sure to write down the author’s name, plus the source it came from along with a link.

> Third, compile all your awesome tips in one place…as one blog post…for the world to see along with an introduction and some complimentary text.

This methodology does a few really amazing things: it generates lots of backlinks from the actual authors (who doesn’t like to see their tip featured in the headlights of a blog?), it generates social shares (Top 10 lists are always a crowd favorite), it shares the crème of the crop (in terms of travel advice) on your own platform, and lastly, it gives you something to share with competitors’ and regional websites (sharing a page full of amazing tips is totally different from sharing your homepage).

The Clever Blog Post Formula In Action

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.23.00 PMWanna see what it looks like?

Check out Amy Firmani’s 15 Top Secret Las Vegas Travel Tips.

If you’re not feelin’ like doing this job yourself, neither were we!

We hired Jessica Vozel (a professional travel copywriter who kinda specializes in the vacation rental field) to do this blog post for less than the price of one night booked and the resulting product turned out GREAT!

But the best part about this formula is that pretty much anyone can do it (if they wish) with zero money spent.

Now all that’s left is sharing this golden blog post with the masses (and getting a graphic designer to make a cover image that’s better than my ghetto version).

To be continued…

So, did we inspire you to use this easy yet ingenious compilation technique on your blog? Please share your feedback below!

About the Author Matt Landau

Matt Landau is the Founder of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings. Google+ | More Posts (230)

  • Matt Landau

    P.S. When I asked Amy a question about this particular blog post, she happened to be on vacation in Costa Rica. Her response, verbatim, was “I am gonna get a house here and another one in LV I think 🙂 my house in Vegas is now full until August 2015 and I keep turning people away!!”

    You go Amy! (Hope you don’t mind me sharing your claim!)

    • Amy T. Firmani

      Share our story anytime… I have told two families that own places here and rent on VRBO to find you on the internet and follow your instructions. They are barely breaking even and this is one of the nicest places I have ever seen! They need a little Matt inspiration!

    • tokillamockingbirdfromtexas

      Amy’s goal of buying more VR’s is mine as well as I am having to reinvent myself after overcoming a rare disease caused by a brain tumor and a husband (x) wiping me out at same time. I know I cannot buy more until the one I have is performing at its peak and that will not happen until I implement these amazing tips. Thank you for putting so much thought and effort into each tip.

      Best wishes to Amy!

  • Ralph M

    Been struggling with this conundrum, Items 1,2,3. Would probably still be sitting on the fence wondering what I should do to get off until with the combination of your FB page.blog and Jessica Vozel’s skills, I am poised to do my 1st blog post. Jessica has been rewording our website [brilliantly I may say and we are already reaping the benefits]. Then I asked her to help with my blog. I can only say that the result is amazing. We chose as a subject “off the beaten path” in Paris [where we have a VR apartment] _ I gave her the subject and some references and let her go at it. She sent me the draft today – it is so compelling that I absolutely want to go check out what she has written. Can’t wait to get it live and start building subscribers. Many thanks to two incredible people!!

    • Matt Landau

      Love this Ralph! PLEASE share your progress in the Inner Circle!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Ralph!

  • Amy T. Firmani

    It is very important that everyone stop and re-read the information so kindly provided by Matt and those around him. I cannot say this enough. What he has taught us and helped us and guided us … has left me utter speechless. Yes – my house is now booked in Vegas until mid-August. My little piece of the world is full!!! HOW!?!? Listen carefully — these bookings did NOT come to me from VRBO but directly from my website and people calling me after seeing our house on-line. His system works. It works so good that my goal for another house has just moved to NOW and I am starting to think about other places (Yes, Costa RIca is quite lovely!). Now I will have to chat with Jessica for more inspiration! I cannot let me peeps down!! I have followers to impress and guide! Again and forever – Matt you truly have made such a difference for us. Thank you for your patience, brilliance and fabulous ideas. 🙂

    • Matt Landau

      So kind Amy! I think it’s important to note that a) the fundamentals do work but also that b) we kinda put your marketing into overdrive with the help of lots of specialists. Being full through 2015 (considering we started in January) is definitely not “typical results.” But this project was to show that it’s also not impossible.

    • Thrilled to hear about your successes, Amy. Congrats! And I’d love to have a chat sometime!

      • Amy T. Firmani

        I am back in the office – Jessica — I’ll contact you soon to get some things going! I have to fill up 2016!

  • Hey everyone! I wanted to offer some more insights into how I put the “15 Top Secret Las Vegas Travel Tips” post together, for those who plan to give it a shot. And I highly recommend it… I actually had a lot of fun with this, and it can give your blog a real boost.

    First, I did a search of Vegas businesses and bloggers in a range of subcategories (family-friendly Vegas, outdoor Vegas, etc.) and sent off a simple email, requesting a short travel tip in exchange for a link on Matt’s highly trafficked marketing blog and Amy’s rental website. It’s important to mention that perk! If you know SEO, you know links matter to people who write or do business online.

    I hit a snag early on: no one was responding to my emails. I sent dozens! Once August hit, the response picked up, thankfully. Still, I had a few gaps to fill to get 15 travel tips, and time was dwindling. If this happens to you, it may be tempting to fill in the gaps with your own tips, but the “insider” angle is really key to this project. Backup plan! I started gathering tips straight from blogs (with appropriate credit and a link back to them, of course!). No need to wait a month for a response, and I found a ton of great stuff from knowledgable Vegas insiders.

    One last thing to address: what if your rental is in a small destination without hundreds of bloggers at your disposal? It’s not a dealbreaker. Just tap every resource you can. Talk to any friends or family you have in the area. Contact small business for tips and make sure to tell them you, too, are a small business in your community. The size of your destination may even work to your advantage, especially if you’re located in a tight-knit place.

    I wrote a more detailed breakdown of my process on my website, here: http://jessicavozel.com/2014/08/18/how-to-write-a-magic-blog-post/. If you have any questions about this blog or any aspect of copywriting for vacation rentals, please get in touch!

    • Matt Landau

      After experimenting, the “gathering tips straight from blogs” is the fastest/easiest way to go. Highly recommended.

      • For sure. I enjoyed getting in touch with new contacts, but gathering straight from blogs was easy as pie. Finished the blog in a day after that point!

        • Matt Landau

          I’ve always thought a cool post would be to ask all the town characters (the baker, the coffee shop owner, the tour guide and the candlestick maker…etc) for one tip. That way the tips can be linked to actual individuals and their specialties…this way also, the guest is likely to meet each of the characters while on vacation. For absentee owners, it’s a good project for when you visit your property once a year or whatever.

    • I feel like we are all singing praises of one another here BUT…if any of you readers doubt Jessica Vozel or Matt’s ideas and skill levels PLEASE phone me (603-356-5351) or email me (Teena@FourSeasonsLodge.com).

      My inquiry rate has gone from paltry to over 75 PER DAY (not counting phone calls) since changing up and modernizing my marketing with their work and ideas!

      Trust me, it’s worth the time, effort and money! 🙂

      Thank you Matt. Thank you Jessica!

      As a side note, I have been asked by several VR owners to manage their properties in the last few months. Serendipity? I think NOT!

      • Matt Landau

        Wait, for one rental you are getting 75 inquiries per day???

        • Yes says herself. Plus about 30 phone calls. Go figure. Teena NH has a popular VR.

          • Matt Landau

            Wow, that’s almost comical!

  • I can confirm that Jessica is a REAL treasure! She is very useful for my apartments and villas rentals in Marrakech. She is insightful and visionary.

    My English is perfectible, please consider that my comment is as short as his talent is huge!

    Agnès & Philippe-Alexis
    http://www.location-marrakech.info/en

  • Honestly Matt you never stop to amaze me with your ideas! This is a great idea of a blog post. As you probably already think, it could spurn into 15 more post as you write one about each step and how it “actually worked” or your time at that hidden restaurant / pub in the tips. Love the idea. Moving to top of list for a new blog! Thanks Matt!!

    • Matt Landau

      Right on Matt P! If you had to have just ONE post on your blog, I’d say this should be IT!

  • tokillamockingbirdfromtexas

    You’ve added to my ‘To Do’ list again, Mr Landau! lol.

    One thing I’ve been wanting to do is meet with local businesses and entice them to offer a perk to my guests and create ‘getaway packages’. Like a Girls Getaway package to include spa treatment, shopping discounts at stores x, y and z and dinner at fav local restaurant. Could also have Romantic Getaway, Guys Getaway that includes golf and/or shooting range, pubs, rafting, etc. Family Getaway…so many options.

    Has anyone done this? Any tips on how to entice local businesses to be involved?

    • Matt Landau

      I feature a tip very similar to this one in The Vault (https://www.vacationrentalmarketingblog.com/the-vault/). Probably best place to start is offering free nights to those local business owners so they know how awesome your rental is. Last minute works well here so you’re not losing out on bookings. From personal experience, staying at a place gives much more impetus to recommend it.

  • This is a great idea, what an easy way to get the creative juices flowing!

    • Matt Landau

      Joe, is this idea VR hack worthy?

  • Finally I created my Blog!!!!! Thanks Matt for your great articles about blogging and your video “how to create a blog in 5 minutes”. I still have to learn a lot about WordPress, but at least it has been created, Voilà if you want to have a look http://phoenixvacationcondos.wordpress.com/ and your comments are welcome!

    • Matt Landau

      Heyy!!! Congratulations! Very Very Very excited to see this from you Lucie!