Over the course of any week I receive a number of SEO/Webmaster newsletter emails. I try to read through them for hints, myths, SEO/SMO news in general. This past week one of these newsletters had a link to a video in which Sally Falkow was discussing Internet marketing. I don't know Sally Falkow but I found what she had to say very intriguing. She sited an old mantra "Tell, don't sell", which I believe applies to blogs, in that blogs should tell a good story.
Now you are probably wondering where I am going with this idea. After all it is Saturday morning and you no doubt, if you are reading this at all, are thinking to yourself with a sigh, "doesn't Judy always tell a story in her blog post?"
It is very easy for the Webconsuls' team to suggest to a client that the client should have a blog, but most clients go into panic mode because they don't trust themselves to be able to write. What our clients sometimes forget is that every business has a story to tell and all they have to do is relate the story for their guests, customers, or clients to read. Just tell a good story.
Finding your niche in storytelling can take some time. Let me give you an example. In June 2007 Webconsuls built a blog for Alice and Len Schiller, owners/innkeepers of The Inn at Stockbridge. Darin McClure coached Alice on how to do blog posts and she did a nice job. She frequently would write about events and attractions in the Berkshires. All very interesting, but might have served the local attractions more than the inn.
On December 29, 2008, Alice came up with a clever idea and she posted it: "The Inn at Stockbridge blog is going to put a new spin on things. Alice Schiller feels that she is fortunate enough to have owned and run the inn for over fourteen years. Over the years we have had a great variety of guests visit us and each one has a wonderful story to share. We are now going to share their stories. Guests who visit the Inn come from all walks of life, are a varied age group and have met in a myriad of ways and have wonderful tidbits to share with you the readers of this blog. We are fortunate enough to have them share their experiences at the Inn as well as their stories with you."
Wonderful...the stories have begun, complete with photos, so interesting to read and the best part is Alice and Len are involving their guests (read customers). As a former innkeeper I know that relating stories about your guests is a great marketing tool. People love to be part of something and future guests secretly hope that they will also be featured at some later date.
You may recall, on September 20, 2008, I wrote a blog post called "The benefit of being a 'blogger-in-chief'?" In that blog I talked about how I wrote a newsletter for our inn, Cranmore Mountain Lodge. This was the old fashion way of staying in touch with our customers. Just this past week I came across a copy of the last issue of Inn-Ovations that I wrote in the Fall of 1997. You might enjoy reading the front page. Click on the image and it will get bigger!
Today I hope you will check the Inn at Stockbridge's blog. Read the stories about their guests. Leave a comment. And if you want to preview the inn, here is a video that tells the Inn's story in another way.
I have a feeling Sally Falkow has not come up with something unique. Storytelling is as old as mankind ~ it is the fabric that keeps our cultures, our families, our nations moving through time.