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Friday Mail Bag: Does your ski area/resort need to have a blog?

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Every few months this question pops up again. In a sentence:

“Does our ski area/resort need to have a blog?”

It’s a great question partly because it shows me that the marketer I’m talking to is looking beyond the buzz. Blogs don’t get a lot of love on the conference stage or in the tech headlines, but rarely do I ever start a side project or work for a company where I don’t implement some form of a consistent, written content.

That said, the answer isn’t a simple YES or NO. Here’s my take.

Short Answer…
The short answer is, of course, NO you don’t NEED a blog just like you don’t need a Twitter account or a TV commercial or a partnership with that hardgoods brand.

But a well-executed blog, just like those other examples, can be a powerful ally.

To answer this question for yourself I’d actually ask a few more questions about your content, your team, and your goals.

Question #1) Can you commit to it?
Blogging is something that you’ll need to commit to for not just a couple months but a couple years in order to see the fruit of your labors. Yes, you’ll see short term gains for a handful of pageviews garnered with each new post that’s shared to your networks, but the real gains come from a consistent effort over time.

This is partly due to what I sometimes call the “home run principle.” This simply says that home runs win games, but home runs are rare. The best chance to get a home run is to step to the plate over and over and over and keep swinging. Same thing with blogging. The best way to hit a content home run is to consistently step to the plate and churn out content.

This also important because it takes a few months to find your stride. If you judge success by your 10 posts, you’ll likely be judging success against your worst content.

Question #2) Do you have an angle?
This is a really, really important one. If you are just going to “blog”, don’t. But if you have an angle – like giving skiers a behind-the-scenes look through the GM’s eyes like Arapahoe Basin or Mount Snow – go for it.

A theme that ties your content together will do two things. First, it will help you develop a following because if the reader liked this post and another one like it is coming in a few days, you have leverage to ask for an email. But also because focused content helps increase relevance and stand out from generic treatments of similar topics.

Question #3) Do you have the time?
If you’re going to do something really, really consistently, you have to plan time consistently as well. So if you commit to two posts a week, you have to look forward and see those busy times of year and have a plan for what to do when you’re bumping chairs all morning instead of at a computer logging into WordPress Admin.

Blogging takes time. You’ll get better and faster at it as you go, but it still takes time.

Question #4) Do you have the time (part 2)?
If you have any goals or hopes to build a community of bloggers to create content for you, you need to have even more time than that. Seriously, guest bloggers DO NOT save you time. On the contrary, they often double or triple the hours you spend on any one post.

Coordinating topics, proofing, editing, checking in, etc. add up really, really quickly and even though other people writing your content for you seems like it should give you more ours of the day, it does the exact opposite. It’s great content, but it comes at a cost.

Question #5) Do you believe in the long tail of search (or search in general?
Much of the value of a consistent blogging effort comes from hitting a handful of homeruns on the SEO side of things. You can research keywords, plan perfectly, write great content, and still not rank. Sometimes, as frustrating as it is, big wins in the organic search depertment come mostly from luck.

That said, if you don’t believe in the value of long tail search or haven’t seen it firsthand and won’t commit to two years of blogging before you see big results in that arena, you probably won’t see enough value in other areas alone to keep your blog going.

Question #6) Is evergreen content part of your strategy?
I mean this in two ways. First, are you trying to create content that you can offer up over and over again? Topics that will be as relevant in 10 years as they are today and were a decade in the rearview. If so, good. Blog posts have very, very long shelf lives.

But I also mean with your other content. You know all those photos you shared or videos you posted? Want to get them new life? Embed them in a blog post and share that now, a year from now, whenever. It’s a great channel to give short shelf life content (like social posts/photos) more legs.

If Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes?
If you can answer yes to all of those questions? Go for it.

I am a huge believer in blogging. Or, said another way, I am a huge believer in consistently creating great content that can build it’s own following and scatter seeds across Google’s turf so as many as possible sprout into long-term traffic sources.

If you’ve got a good theme and if you’ve got time to commit to it for a couple of seasons, there are few things better for your brand that a simple, consistently-updated, well-executed blog.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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