Many moons ago, when I first started writing professionally, I had a surf and travel blog called The Barefoot Vagabond.
By my standards today, it was pretty shitty. But after chipping away for a few years and posting useful content on the reg, I was able to generate a small income and even be ranked as one of the top 100 travel blogs in the world (number 98… but still).
Sadly, that blog page went the way of boardshorts that dropped below your knees, cast aside and never to be used again.
I did learn a lot during that process though, and have since poured all of that knowledge into getting The Surfing Copywriter blog on its feet.
Admittedly, I still have a long, long, looong way to go. But the process has been much faster this time around purely because I already knew what I had to do… and now I want to share some of that knowledge in the hope it helps you.
So here they are – my top 15 most practical tips for surf biz owners who want to start reaching more people, booking more beds or selling more products with a little help from blogs.
Tip #1: Start small and build a blogging habit
The most important thing to remember when it comes to getting into blogging is that you don’t have to go big straight away. In fact, starting small is the best way forward.
Pick a realistic number of achievable posts per month, maybe just 1 or 2. Then, once you hit that goal, increase it by one every month.
Doing this will help you build a habit of consistent blogging and slowly but surely add more value to your readers.
Plus, blogs are hard work, with most 1,000+ word articles taking 2 hours or more of solid screen time. By starting small and building up, you can avoid burning out and swearing off this epic means of communication prematurely!
(Pssttt… learn how to create killer content for your surf blog by downloading my e-book here).
Tip #2: Be honest, be vulnerable
My dad was a real estate and stock agent, which means he sold farms and cattle. His dad did the same thing (my grandfather) and so did his dad (my great-grandfather).
Honest Jim or Gentleman Jim is what they called my great-grandfather, and I hope that I’ve carried on his legacy by also being a straight shooter when it comes to all areas of my life, including blog writing.
It’s a powerful place to come from, after all, and being honest and vulnerable will help you create content that resonates with readers. Talk about your failures, frustrations and successes – anything that makes you, you.
I guarantee that any trepidation you may have about sharing personal stories will be forgotten when you see the results your honest and vulnerable posts have on readers.
Tip #3: Write about topics that interest you
There’s no point in writing about topics that have nothing to do with your business or interests. Doing this will make the content creation process more difficult, less fun and likely reduce the quality of your posts.
Instead, write about topics that interest you – both personally and professionally. Not only does it become easier for you to create content in this way, but people tend to read articles more if they feel that the writer is genuinely passionate about the subject.
An added bonus – it’s a great way to build relationships with experts in your industry and share knowledge with those who already have an interest in what you bring to the table.
Tip #4: Turn common questions into full-length articles
Do you find that people always ask the same questions again and again? Like, where is the closest beach? What thickness wetsuit will I need? How good is the wi-fi in your surf camp?
It can feel like groundhog day when the season rolls around, but instead of sticking your head in the sand or copy-pasting responses, why not provide potential guests with a detailed answer?
Write a blog post that answers all of your most commonly asked questions and link back to it whenever someone enquires. Not only will the person receive an amazing in-depth response, but you’ll also save time for yourself and anyone else who has to answer those same queries.
Tip #5: Write a mix of topical and evergreen content
Balancing your blog with a mix of topical and evergreen content is key to maintaining reader interest.
Topical content refers to posts that tap into current trends, events or seasons in the surfing world. This could include coverage of surfing competitions, interviews with popular surfers or articles on new surfboard technology.
On the other hand, evergreen content is timeless and continues to be relevant long after publication. Examples might be “How to Wax a Surfboard”, “Top Exercises for Surfers” or “The History of Surfing in Portugal”.
This blend of content ensures that while your blog stays relevant to trending topics, it also builds a repository of trustworthy, long-lasting information that readers can return to again and again.
Tip #6: Focus on consistency
Consistency is king when it comes to posting. Trust me when I say that every gap between posts on a blog page is a small hit to your reputation.
With that in mind, keep posting no matter what! Some days you’ll be keen to write over a thousand words, other days you’ll be stuck at 200.
The trick is to just keep producing content, even if it’s short and sweet. This will ensure that your blog page remains active and search engine friendly – two key ingredients for success in the world of blogging!
Tip #7: Write for people, not algorithms
Something that I’m a big fan of is making sure that your content is relevant, useful and easy to read. You’re not just writing to satiate the SEO gods and goddesses – you’re actually helping people out by providing them with information.
So when writing articles, don’t get too stuck on optimizing for search engines – instead focus on creating the best content you can to help your readers. If it’s good enough, then people will share it and search engines will take notice of that!
Keep this in mind whenever you’re doubting yourself or tempted to cut corners.
Tip #8: Put your interns to work
Heaps of surf hospitality brands have interns. They cook dinner, ferry people to and from the surf and generally help out with the day-to-day running of things.
If you have interns on your books, why not give them a little extra responsibility in the form of content creation? After all, they’re usually digital natives who know their way around social media platforms and websites.
Or, take it one step further and advertise blog writing as part of an intern’s responsibilities. With a few guidelines and tips from you, they’ll soon be creating posts that help spread the word about your brand.
Just remember to give credit where it’s due – link back to their social media accounts or even their website if they have one! This will incentivise them to do a good job and bring more interns in if needed.
Learn more about putting your interns to work here.
Tip #9: Repurpose old content
When it comes to wetsuits, making the old new again is a time-consuming and costly process. When it comes to your blog content though, it’s easier than you think.
Don’t be afraid to repurpose old content – it’s a great way to save time and give your readers something new. Take an article that you wrote in the past, update it with current information and then publish it again.
You can also take snippets from old blog posts and turn them into social media posts or even infographics. The possibilities are really endless – you just need to get creative!
Tip #10: Find a niche within a niche
Finding your niche will ensure you have an endless supply of ideas spilling out of your brilliant mind whenever it comes time to brainstorm new topic ideas, but finding a niche within a niche is where the real gold lies.
For example, you could write about surfing in general or you could be ultra-specific and focus on female surfers in their 60s who are learning how to surf for the first time.
This kind of topic will really help your blog stand out from the crowd as it provides something that people can’t find anywhere else.
Tip #11: Know your audience
I should probably put this one as number one. The only reason I didn’t is because I’m optimistic that you already know how important this point is.
Seriously, knowing your audience is key if you want to create content that resonates. Take the time to really get to know who your readers are, what they’re looking for and how you can help them.
This will ensure you don’t waste countless hours banging away at the keyboard without any return (in terms of page views or shares). It also means that you won’t be veering off in the wrong direction and creating content that does nothing to entice people to your blog.
Tip #12: Plan your article ideas in advance
Planning your article ideas in advance is a game-changer in the world of blogging. Think of it as drawing a map to guide your writing journey.
This approach allows you to strategically schedule content, ensuring a steady flow of fresh posts to engage your readers. It also helps in maintaining consistency, a crucial element for successful blogging.
A content calendar comes in handy, acting as a visual tool to track your posting schedule. So embrace the proactivity of planning, and watch your blog flourish.
With some forethought, you can transform your blogging strategy from chaotic to streamlined, keeping your audience hooked and your content game strong.
Tip #13: Ask past customers to guest post
A stoked guest or customer is a person who will sing your praises to everyone they meet. If only there was a way to bottle all their enthusiasm and use it as a marketing tool?
Oh, there is…
That’s right – provide a platform for past guests to share their stories, experiences, photos and more by asking them to write a blog post for you
This is great content for your readers to enjoy, but it’s also an opportunity to get some social proof of the stoke that happens on your premises (or in your online store). Plus, let’s not forget that it’s also a fantastic way to build relationships and thank past customers for their business.
Tip #14: Remember… CTAs matter!
Call-to-action (CTA) components are crucial for any blog, including those focusing on surfing.
A well-crafted CTA can guide your readers through the buyer’s journey, encourage user engagement and help achieve your blog’s goals. Whether you’re asking readers to subscribe to your newsletter, share your content or purchase your surf-related products, the CTA should be compelling and clear.
Remember, a powerful CTA can make the difference between a passive reader and an active participant in your surfing business, so make sure to include them.
Tip #15: Don’t get hung up on being perfect
Perfection is the enemy of progress, especially in the dynamic world of surfing and blogging.
In your quest for the perfect blog post, you might find yourself stuck in an endless loop of revisions and refinements, never reaching the finish line. But remember, even the most skilled surfers don’t ride the perfect wave every time. Instead, they learn from each wave, each fall.
It’s the same with blogging.
Every post you write won’t be a masterpiece, but each one provides a learning opportunity. So don’t be paralyzed by perfection.
Write the best content you can, hit publish and learn from your mistakes.
That’s exactly what I’ve done and continue to do day in, day out.
In conclusion, blogging is not just about writing, but also about creating an engaging, informative and unique space for your readers.
By being authentic, repurposing old content, honing in on a particular niche, understanding your audience and planning ahead, you can create compelling blog posts that resonate with your readers.
Remember, it’s not about striving for perfection, but about learning and growing with each post you publish.
So give it a crack and let me know how you go – I’m keen to see you flex your writing skills!