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It’s been said before, but a well-crafted blog post is “the gift that keeps on giving” – it enjoys an extended online life and delivers an endless stream of readers.  Perhaps great online content is the “new advertising”, and that’s why Content marketing is creating such a buzz in the advertising industry.

Here then are some useful tips for blogging success.

  • Your blog post should contain what travelers are searching for online – mainly sound advice and useful information.   They tend to use search terms like “Things to do in Knysna” or “The best place to see lions in Kenya” or “Lodges near Victoria Falls”.
  • Try to write concisely – 250 to 750 words in total.  Less is more.  Save the long-winded, waffly stories for that novel you are planning.
  • A blog post is not an advert, so don’t confuse the two. Avoid ‘brochure language’ and don’t push your product. When you write your next blog post, ask yourself three questions.  Firstly, is anybody important to you REALLY going to read that post?  Really?  Secondly, would a total stranger actually search online for this information?  And thirdly, would that same stranger share this with friends?  Consider the following two examples and ask yourself those questions.
    • Example one:  A blog post about the new room recently built onto Greyton Villa’s north wing, with plush new bedding and the best modern shower heads.
    • Example two:  A blog post about the top 5 restaurants in Greyton, brought to you by Greyton Villa.
  • Online and social media are very visual mediums so include visually inspiring, shareable images and video links. If you have a really unique picture to compliment the story your blog post will be shared more often than a plain text post.
  • Blog posts are often marketed via social media, with viral sharing potential, so always ask yourself if YOU would Like, Tweet or share it with your friends.
  • Here are a few blog styles that do well (don’t try all in one post):
    • Numbered, listed posts – “best of”, “top 10 reasons to go”, “5 unusual facts”.
    • Useful need-to-knows like “what to pack” and “How to get there”.
    • Opinion pieces. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion and to express how you feel.
    • Tell a story. People love a good story, and we know that Africa is not short of good stories.
    • Chatty, conversational style of writing. Blog posts tend to be a lot less formal than print, people like to see the ‘real you’.
    • You are responsible for providing the necessary copyright information for your content.  Google what’s required of you and don’t use other people’s copyrighted material without permission.

3 examples of excellent blog posts

© Vanessa Bristow
© Vanessa Bristow

1. The boy with the sapphire eyes

Huge social media viral sharing appeal because of the image and the story behind it.  Also because of multiple accusations of Photo-shopping – all denied and proven by the photographer.  Note the volumes of comments below the post.

Interesting stats:  This post has been viewed by 175,763 unique people to date, and the Facebook marketing campaigns for the post reached 67,142 people.

2. Tents, blood and Okavango lions, a family story

Everybody loves a good story and Rachel has a wonderfully nostalgic and personal style of story telling.

3. 15 Lion facts, brought to you by Porini Camps, Kenya

Lists work, and so does content that people often search for – facts about wildlife.  This promotional style of post works well – “Read my interesting content but also notice me”.  Marketing boffins sometimes call this “Native advertising”.

2 informative posts you should read:

1. How to create perfect posts on social platforms, an infographic


“Facebook:  Keep things positive.  Positivity breeds engagement and sharing”
“Twitter:  Call to action.  Let your readers know what you would like them to do next”

2.  7 Reasons your brand sucks at social media (much to do with content)


“No images attached to your posts”
“You never respond”

Web site review:

A subscriber to this blog series asked me what I thought of his web site.  One word:  super-awesome.  This is a classic example of an attractive, informative site with useful plug-ins.

Machangulo Beach Lodge


facebook-like This site ticks all the boxes in my blog post What makes a good hotel web site?.


facebook-dontlike  Nothing.  In fact my only advice was 2 minor suggestions – to add a bird checklist and offer beach & bush activity options.

My next post: 

How to get the most out of TripAdvisor

All posts in this series

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Simon Espley

I am a proud African, of the digital tribe, and honoured to be CEO of Africa Geographic. My travels in Africa are in search of wilderness, real people with interesting stories and elusive birds. I live in Hoedspruit, next to the Kruger National Park, with my wife Lizz and 2 Jack Russells. When not travelling or working I am usually on my mountain bike somewhere out there. I qualified as a chartered account, but found my calling sharing Africa's incredibleness with you. My motto is "Live for now, have fun, be good, tread lightly and respect others. And embrace change". Connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on Twitter.