Marketing for Hospitality Professionals : Blogging

Blogging is more relevant today than ever before! Yes, other social channels are exciting and can certainly be more engaging, but I want you to own the platforms that you are spending your time and talent on! Can you imagine building a following on your blog and then deciding that only 6% of your followers are allowed to see that content? Well, that is exactly what Facebook has done! You spent your time, energy and, in some cases, money building a following there and now Facebook wants more money to give you access to the people who have already “Liked” your page.  You can shake your fist at Mark Zuckerburg all you want, but the reality of the situation is that he owns the Facebook platform and can change the settings and advertising requirements as much as he needs to in order to have a successful business.

Instead of getting mad, simply refocus your attention on the platforms YOU own.

I want to encourage you to make your blog the center of your marketing because you own it. You control how the content is distributed, who your marketing reaches and when. You can update the design and functionality as trends change, and you aren’t at the mercy of another business who is trying to make money off of your user engagement. Your followers and clients have as much or as little access to your brand as you want.

Trust is a marketing tool that can’t be bought. When booking a night in your hotel, hiring a wedding vendor for a wedding, or booking an event professional, most people are flying blind. They know a little about what you do and your style, but they want proof in order to feel comfortable trusting you with their hard earned money. This trust can be built from the ground up with a successful blog.

1. START A BLOG: Many hospitality businesses are leery to start a blog, thinking that the time commitment is not worth the value they receive and at first that certainly seems so. As I speak to hospitality professionals about blogging, one of my favorite sayings is that it is a marathon, not a sprint (yes, this pertains to SEO as well). Blogging is about consistency and producing quality content that builds on itself over time. I would suggest 1-2 posts a week to get the most bang for the buck. There are a number of platforms, but Squrespace & WordPress are the easiest to use and customizable, so your site will reflect your brand.

2. CONTENT CREATION: Another concern that I hear a lot is that businesses don’t have anything to blog about. Once you get started you may have a hard time deciding what to blog first! We like blog series as they allow you to concentrate on a subject for multiple posts and they keep your readers coming back.

Creating great content for your blog also allows you to spread that content to other places, including Facebook, Instagram, and your newsletter. A blog also allows your ambassadors to help easily promote you through social media as well.

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED:

•    What are the most frequently asked questions that you get from prospective clients?

•    What are some things to do in the area?

•    Do you have recommended vendors?

•    Has your business been featured in any magazines or popular blogs?

•    Feature some images of past events you’ve participated in

•    A what makes your business unique blog post series?

•    Is your business offering any promotions?

Need more?… just reach out to us and we can help!

3. SEO: Blogging will have the added effect of drawing people to your brand through search engine optimization. Creating content that is specific to your wedding business niche and your geographic location will add to your PageRank with Google. This brings your site to the top of search engines when people search for terms related to you and your business. The title of the post and the first few sentences of the first paragraph are particularly indexable, so make sure to call out some key terms in these places.

4. PHOTOGRAPHY: Nothing is shared online more than images, so make sure to include an image in each and every blog post. To improve your chance of the image being found in a search, name the photo file with relevant keywords (yes, that means the .jpeg). Images draw a visitor’s attention and should be highlighting your unique style.

Make sure to feature all the events that you take part in and keep lists of the professionals that participated in each event. Photographers, be sure to share your events in a timely manner with the other vendors, particularly the hotel/venue. That way, they can post your images on their blogs and social media (with your logo of course). Use LulaWed to share your images with those vendors, and they’ll do the heavy lifting for you!

5. SOCIAL MEDIA: You’re producing content and pushing it out into the world; make certain that it is extremely easy for your site’s visitors to share your content with their friends and fans! We’ve used Shareaholic on a number of blogs and have found it easy to install and effective. Make certain there is a link on your blog to your other social media properties like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Need help with your Marketing Strategy, reach out!

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Maine Barn Venue Linnell Farm Hosts Barn Warming

Recently, our client Linnell Farm, hosted their barn warming opening the doors for the first time to family, friends, couples, and the industry. Fire & Co. provide pizza and drinks for the crowd, thanks for your hard work Richard and crew!  We couldn't be more excited for Tammy and Steve as they bring their vision to life at this beautiful farm. Since announcing the property in early summer they have pretty much booked up 2017 and are now getting inquires for 2018! So many great things in store for this property and the couples getting married there!

Thanks for Kate and Keith Photography for their time and talent!

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See more of this event and beautiful property here.

New Social Stream Recently Launched and 10 Stats on User Generated Content

We all love when someone talks about our brand online, but are you harnessing the power of User Generated Content? Here, 10 stats that might persuade you to consider infusing user-generated content into your own marketing strategies.

1. Fifty-nine percent of millennials say they use UGC to inform their purchase decisions about major electronics. That's followed by cars (54%), major appliances (53%), mobile phones (46%), hotels (45%), and travel plans (40%). (Crowdtap)

2. Eighty-six percent of businesses use content marketing; of those, 70% are creating more content than they did a year ago. (Content Marketing Institute)

3. Seventy percent of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content. (Reevo)

4. Web content increasingly is dominated by user-generated content as Pinterest pin creation is up 75%, Twitch video broadcasts are up 83%, Wattpad stories are up 140%, and Airbnb reviews are up 140% year-over-year. (Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers)

5. Sixty-five percent of social media users from ages 18 to 24 consider information that's shared on social networks when making a purchasing decision. (eMarketer)

6. Consumers who are between the ages of 25 and 54 are the biggest content drivers—contributing 70% of all UGC. (SparkReel)

7. Twenty-five percent of search results for the world's 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. (Kissmetrics)

8. Eighty-four percent of millennials report that UGC on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy. (Bazaarvoice)

9. Eighty-six percent of millennials say that user-generated content is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand or service. (Bazaarvoice)

10. Brand engagements rise by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product video. (comScore)

Recently we launched one for our client Beech Hill Barn, a Maine Barn Wedding Venue in Pittston.

user generated content for wedding venues

Contact us to get the inside scoop on creating a social stream for your brands #.

 

*stats pulled from article on http://www.dmnews.com/dmnotes/10-stats-that-show-why-user-generated-content-works/article/444872/

Does Your Brand Need A Style Guide

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With branding, consistency is key. Establishing a visual brand identity gives your company a voice in the world. That voice should sound (and look) consistent across all media platforms, not only to make your brand easily identifiable, but to also to build up trust between your business and the consumer. The easiest way to keep things visually consistent, especially as your business grows, is having a brand style guide. Listing all of your basic brand elements and acting as the singular point of reference for any future design projects and the designers that might be work on them. Having a style guide can save everyone time, money and frustration.

What’s included in a branding style guide can vary a lot depending on the size of the company. Most small businesses can benefit greatly from just having a simple, visual one-page reference, while larger companies require more robust corporate identity guidelines.

At the most basic level a style guide should include these elements:

Your Logo & Tagline/Slogan

Include all versions of your logo: color, reversed, black and white. Also include any approved alternate logo arrangements such as stacked vs. one line, or a shortened or iconic version used for social media perhaps.

Color Scheme

The colors used by a brand should be spelled out with as much detail as possible. That means offering up not only hex codes for web use, but also equivalent CMYK and even Pantone color values for print projects.

Fonts

Every brand should have a consistent set of fonts being used in all of their marketing materials, online and off. Listing out these fonts, with examples and character sets, is hugely important. This should include the fonts used in your logo, font’s that should be used as header/body copy and any suggested web fonts.

Photos, Textures/Patterns, Icons, and Other Imagery

Here you will want to include any custom textures, patterns or graphic elements that have been designed to be used in association with your brand as backgrounds or highlights through places on your website and/or marketing materials. You could also include any specifics about the style of photos and imagery that you would like associated with your brand. That way if any stock imagery is needed for marketing down the road it will have the same look and feel as the rest of your imagery does. We are happy to give your existing brand a style guide of it’s own or help you with a whole new branding package! Take a look at our work and contact us today!

Rustic Wedding Showcase

We just held our annual showcase for our client Hardy Farm! We had an amazing turnout of terrific vendors, booked couples and potential couples. THANK YOU to all the wonderful vendors, couples and their guests that made the Summer 2016 Maine Wedding Showcase simply incredible.

Participating vendors that lent their time and talent to our event: Sea Bags, The Knot, White Mountain Cupcakery, Black Bow Events, Cakes for All Seasons, Dionne Entertainment, Dutch Bloemen Winkel, Moonset Floral, Fresh Pickins Farm, Dutch Bloemen Winkel, 302 Smokehouse West, BP’s Shuck Shack , White Mountain Cider Company, Fire & Co Catering, Ben & Jerry’s, Gelato Fiasco, Pie Tree Orchards, Vivo, Urban Farm Fermentory, Vena's Fizz House, Inspirations Bridal and Formalwear, Debony Salon, Julie Sargent, Wolfeboro Trolley, Dan Walker Band, Judy Saiki Harpist, Susie Pepper Band, Kathleen Johnson, Riverstones Bakery, Lauren Rachel Custom Invitation Design, El's Cards - Original Watercolor & Calligraphy Design, Anne Skidmore Photography, Emily Delamater Photography, Eric McCallister Photography, Maine Photo Camper, Spring Smith Studios, Kivalo Photography, Kim Chapman Photography, Dragonfly Services - Day of Coordinator, Nicole Mower Events, Seacoast Harbor Events, Ashley Link Events, A Family Affair of Maine, Wedding Daze, Showcase Rentals, Savvy Event Rentals, Maine Snapshot Studio, LA Design Lab, Maine Event Design and Mountain Love Films.

Thank you Rachel Buckley Weddings for sharing these photos with us!

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Congrats to Hardy Farm for their 100th wedding!

We have been working with our client, Hardy Farm, for the past 3 years. We are really excited that they are celebrating their 100th hosted wedding in just two weeks! The owners, Deborah and Greg Link, have done an amazing job of making capital improvements and continuing to move the vision of the property forward. The farm has received national recognition from Martha Stewart, Country Living, The Venue Report, 100 Layer Cake and many more, which speaks to the quality of experience that couples have when getting married there.

The first 100 wedding events is just the start, 2017 is already booked out and couples are already securing prime 2018 dates. Hardy Farm has a bright future and we are looking forward to continuing our valued relationship!

Fun to look at our case study with them that we put out 2 1/2 years ago!

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Hardy Farm is nationally ranked among the top 11 rustic wedding venues by Martha Stewart Weddings:  Martha Stewart 11 Rustic Wedding Venues to Book

Hardy Farm is nationally ranked by Country Living magazine among the top 30 most beautiful barns for weddings:  Country Living's 30 of the Country's Most Beautiful Barns for Weddings 

Hardy Farm is nationally ranked among the top 22 barn wedding venues by The Venue Report:  22 Incredible Barn Venues

Hardy Farm is nationally ranked among the top 10 Barn Wedding Venues by 100 Layer Cake: Top 10 Barn Wedding Venues 

Beech Hill Barn Intimate Barn Warming

We are super excited for our clients, Jay and Priscilla, at Beech Hill Barn! Last night they opened their doors for the first time with an intimate barn warming for select industry folks and couples. It was a huge hit and just confirmed what we have known all along, this place is unique and is going to be a hit! maine barn wedding

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We love Maine Barns!

Over the years we have worked with a good number of Maine Wedding Venues and included in those are a number of barns! We love the authentic nature of barn weddings and try to bring that feel to the brands that we create for them. Couples are looking to create an experience for their couples and having a gorgeous barn as a backdrop is becoming increasingly popular. We put together a list of barns in Maine for our Love & Lobster blog- Maine Barn Wedding Venue, but wanted to showcase some of those here as well. So many beautiful options!  If you know of more or would like us to add yours, please comment on the blog post on L&L!Beech Hill Barn

Beech Hill Barn - The magnificent Event Barn can accommodate 240 standing room and 140 for a seated dinner. The Country House can accommodate up to 12 guests and there are local amenities in the near-by village of Wiscasset and the cities of Gardiner, Hallowell, and Augusta. Some of the additional property features include a pool with a sculpted breath-taking view, a retro-modern stone firepit, and of course, the panorama view of Maine countryside.

Hardy Farm

Hardy Farm - The c. 1835 barn is the perfect place to host your inspired wedding reception or event. The space features beautifully white-washed walls and elegant chandeliers. The property also includes a woodland chapel and an amazing 103 foot sail cloth tent, making this barn a great value.

The Barn at Flanagan Farm

The Barn at Flanagan Farm -The post and beam barn, built in the late nineteenth century and meticulously restored in 2012 to preserve the original structure’s authentic charm, offers 2,400 square feet of entertaining space. Three whimsically sophisticated chandeliers designed and crafted by local sculptor, Joe Lops, and dragonfly-etched sconces radiate a warm elegance throughout.

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Linnell Farm - Former florist opens new barn wedding venue perfect for couples who dream of a homey, comfortable, rustic barn wedding weekend. The history of Linnell Farm has always been a gathering place for life’s big events. It’s been the place that through the years brought people together for celebrations.

The Barn on Walnut Hill

The Barn on Walnut Hill - An exquisite 1887 Maine barn and farmhouse that marries rusticity with refinement, provides a setting for your guests that is at once simply elegant and elegantly simple. Located on four estate-like acres 20 minutes north of Portland in North Yarmouth, Maine, The Barn on Walnut Hill is a rare venue that incorporates an exceptional event space and gracious accommodations on one property.

shady lane farm

Shady Lane Farm - Just over 200 years old, Shady Lane Farm is a focal point in the historic district of New Gloucester, Maine. Its 60 plus acres of woods and walking paths adjoin other historic farms, making it a uniquely expansive and peaceful rural landscape.

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Wells Reserve at Laudholm - The Wells Reserve at Laudholm is filled with natural beauty and boasts a rich history. Hundreds of acres of protected land surround a hilltop barn with lots of character, so you have space to celebrate and room to roam. Book a weekend between May and October to ease your mind and wow your guests.

live well farm

Live Well Farm - Harpswell is a little known jewel with more coastline than any other town in the U.S. The waterfront is just through the woods with open ocean framing the famous “Crib Stone Bridge”. The water provides the perfect backdrop for memorable pictures.

1812 farm

1812 Farm - With broad sweeping lawns and gardens, a glittering pond with dancing fountain and the architecture of 18th century Maine, the stage is set for you and your guests and an unforgettable moment in time. Be it outdoors next to that glorious landscaped pond or inside one of the most spectacularly restored 18th century barns in the Midcoast with every luxury of the 21st century, we only wait for your ideas to craft the perfect setting.

maine lakeside cabin

Maine Lakeside Cabin & Events - The 5000 sf lodge has plenty of open room for your DJ to set up so you can dance the night away. Our outdoor dining hall allows you to have your catered event under cover.

1888

1888 Wedding Barn - The 1888 Wedding Barn is Western Maine's Wedding Ceremony and Reception Hall Venue located conveniently on Route 2 in Bethel, Maine close to all the Sunday River Valley Area attractions and amenities. It is simple, yet sophisticated, affordable, yet elegant.

Broadturn Farm

Broadturn Farm - Celebrate your love and connect it to your values here at Broadturn Farm. Getting married on an organic farm expresses individuality and a commitment to the beauty of local, organic food and flowers.

Marianmade Farm - Nestled on the banks of the Sheepscot River near historic Wiscasset is Marianmade Farm. As a working lavender and flower farm, the setting brings a piece of Provence to mid-coast Maine.

Granite Ridge Estate & Barn - Private 200 acre Maine Estate & Barn wedding and event venue.

William Allen Farm - Located in picturesque Pownal, Maine the farm offers an ideal spot for your rustic barn wedding or other special event

Wolfe's Neck Farm - The backdrop of Casco Bay is simply incredible, and they offer the rustic amenities that your outdoor event requires.

Maine Wedding Barn & Event Center at Fairview Farm - This beautifully landscaped ceremony site and large wedding lawn at the gazebo has so much to offer.

Harborfields Waterfront Vacation Cottages - The front lawn forms a natural amphitheater with an incredible panorama of the harbor as the backdrop.... A great spot for a beautiful waterfront wedding ceremony!

Two Coves Farm - Working farm venue in Maine that works with Lulu and Co Event Design to create your day.

Hitching Post of Maine - The Hitching Post is an idyllic New England barn built in 1830 situated on 100 acres along the Saco River in Dayton, Maine.

Pineland Farms - Located in a peaceful, rural setting easily accessible from Maine’s largest cities — Portland and Lewiston — and can accommodate groups of all sizes.

The Red Barn at Outlook Farm - The Red Barn offers a rustic feel with modern day amenities such as air conditioning, working fireplaces, a covered veranda, and handicapped accessible bathrooms.

The Farm at Webb Lake Woods - This classic red Maine barn’s interior can accommodate up to 180 seated guests for ceremonies, and 150 guests for receptions. We also have a lakefront lawn directly across the street for ceremonies, which can accommodate 275 seated guests.

Farm at Worthley Pond - Your family and guests will enjoy this remodeled yet rustic 1850 barn, located on 5 acres, nestled in a beautiful mountain valley surrounded by rolling hills

Clay Hill Farm - Clay Hill Farm is one of the Ogunquit area’s most beautiful selections of elegant indoor and outdoor locations.

King's Hill Inn & Barn- The staff at the King’s Hill Inn & Barn wish to make everything you are envisioning in your wedding not only a reality, but everything you imagine and more.

Josias River Farm - Josias River Farm is a classic 250-year-old Maine farm situated on 20 scenic acres of forests, open fields, pastures and an apple orchard.

Gisland Farm Audubon Center - Situated along the Presumpscot River estuary just five minutes from Portland, Maine Audubon’s headquarters features a modern environmental center and a 65-acre sanctuary with more than two miles of trails winding along a pond and through woods, meadow, orchard and salt marsh.

David's Folly Farm - Weddings David’s Folly Farm offers a rustic location for your wedding, anniversary or private celebration that speaks of beauty, the bounty of the seasons and cycles of life.

The Homestead at Rest & Be Thankful Farm - This wedding venue is a classic New England 18th century working farm in Lyman, Maine offering 65 private and peaceful acres for your special event.

Endicott Farm - Endicott Farm is a pictuersque and rustic horse farm located centrally in the Town of Belgrade.

Clark's Cove Farm & Inn - Their aim is to provide the wedding party and invited guests with an experience that exceeds all possible expectations.

Fox Field Farm - The farm has an unbeatable westward-facing ocean view, providing a rare and remarkable sunset in Maine.

Annabessacook Farm - The farm, one of the earliest in Winthrop, is set on 25 acres with lake frontage on Lake Annabessacook, one of the deep water lakes of the Winthrop Lakes Region.

Apple Acres Farm - Secret and serene, seemingly ancient, and rich with life... and at the center: you, your true love, delicious food and great friends... this is the Apple Acres Farm wedding experience.

Coolidge Family Farm - A perfect combination of rustic elegance.

Belgian Meadows Farm - Belgian Meadows Farm has a beautiful country setting for your special day, located in Lebanon on one of Maine's oldest farms.

Broken Acres Farm - Located in rural Jefferson, Maine, Broken Acres Family Retreat, LLC is a great place to enjoy the beauty of nature, while remaining close to civilization.

Caswell Farm - The Caswell Farm is a beautiful, authentic, rustic property that still produces and harvests organic vegetables and picturesque flowers.

Edgewood Farm - The property features a classic 13-room New England farmhouse, a renovated barn, fresh-water pond, enchanting meadows, rolling hay fields, and an orchard of mature fruit trees.

Harmony Hill - Our guests choose to have their special day on Harmony Hill because of its beauty and rich history.

Hilton Winn Farm - Over its 400+-year history, the Hilton-Winn Farm has been a witness to the changing cultural and environmental landscape of southern New England.

Little River Flower Farm - We are all about sharing our farm with people who want to share their special day in a natural setting

Morris Farm - A local farm and landscape that provides food, education, recreation, and pride in midcoast Maine for many generations.

Pittston Farm - With outdoor activities, lodging, delicious food and all the ambiance you could ask for, make a reservation today!

Raittt Homestead Farm Museum - When they acquired the 33 acre farm property from third generation Gerald Raitt in 2003 they kept the same mission of preserving farming history, but that became so much more as they now were preserving the late 1800’s former dairy farm property, buildings and equipment.

River Lily Farm - Set up a tent near our flower field, let us build you an arbor, and provide the flowers for your special day. Our farm is over 90 acres of diverse landscape, so take your wedding photos in some of the many picturesque areas we are proud to call home.

Rossport Farms - There are eighty plus private acres with a mile and a half of ocean frontage that hug the shoreline and provide an intimate relation with wildlife and fauna that are our backdrop for daily living.

Rowan Tree Farm - A natural sanctuary from which to explore mid-coast Maine.

Spiritwind Farm - Beautiful and private historic farm in southern Maine, 30 mins to ocean and 40 mins to mountains.

If you are a barn venue and want to be added to the list comment on the post or email amanda@tidecreative.com