How Do They Do It? Interview with Successful Business Blogger Hills of Africa Travel

by Michelle Salater on January 29, 2010

I few weeks ago, I promised to post case studies on business blogs. The purpose is to share with you, dear Reader, how small businesses successfully blog for business. There are quite a few of you out there who see business blogs as a burden, as a task that’s time consuming, overwhelming, and a pain in your butt.

If you’re like me, the best way to learn is through example. So, over the coming months, I will be posting more case studies and interviews from soloentrepreneurs to companies with staff on how they blog for business.

We’ve been working closely with Sandy Salle, co-owner of Hills of Africa Travel, to create a travel blog that showcases their company personality and mission, to grow their blog readership base, and to help with overall online exposure. Hills of Africa Travel blogs regularly for business and to be a resource for those interested in Africa’s people, landscape, and wildlife. Their blog, Live the Magic of Africa, explores exciting African destinations, safari and tour tips, and African travel trends and news.

Thanks to Sandy for taking the time to be interviewed. Below is the interview.

Q. How old is your blog?

We started a little over a year ago, to be exact 13 months ago, whilst we were in South Africa on business. I thought it would be a fun way of telling our clients about what properties we were visiting, new eco-tourism projects, how they could help the people of Africa, and new and yummy restaurants we were visiting.

Q. Why do you blog for business?

We blog for business because it’s the perfect way for us to express the Hills of Africa Travel story and a way for us to share with our readers our experiences in Africa. We also enjoy sharing tips, photos, and valuable information with our clients. Anyway we can engage our readers and encourage them to interact with us is always a plus.

Q. How important is your blog in attracting prospects?

We use our blog to project our business message of “Changing Lives, One Journey at a Time, Every Time.” It’s very important to us to promote sustainable tourism practices. Our blog is a way for our clients and potential clients to experience Africa before actually going, by showing them photos and video of the properties and destinations they will be visiting. We also inform them of safety tips, preparation tips, safari outlines, and more. Our goal is to educate our readers on the real Africa and why it is so special to all who visit.

Q. What results do you get from your blog?

Our blog has allowed us to significantly increase our online exposure. We have been able to build relationships with several travel bloggers due to the quality of our posts and its design and to share valuable information across the travel blogging community.

Thanks to our blog, we were spotted by Michael Theys, blogger for Africa Freak blog, who asked Hills of Africa Travel to contribute to his eBook, Expert Safari Advice for Newbies. We contributed an article titled “How to Plan Your Dream African Family Safari Vacation.” We have also been asked to guest blog on Isabelle’s Travel Guide where we contributed the article “Honeymoon in Botswana: Where Love Has No Boundaries.”

In addition to the above, we have also seen a large increase in comments on our blog from these travel bloggers—which shows they are reading our posts and compelled to respond to its valuable content.

Q. You’ve made some major changes to the format and design of your blog. What prompted you to do this?

We went through a total makeover about three months ago, where we changed the look of our blog to a much more organized and crisper design. We wanted our blog to have a similar feel to our website and better reflect our company’s brand image. We specialize in spectacular adventures and offer personalized service and thought our blog needed to speak to this.

We also changed the look and feel of our posts by adding larger photos to show the beauty of Africa, its people, landscapes, and animals. In addition to these changes, we have also tweaked our categories and tags to enable Internet users and search engines to find us easier. The current look of our blog truly connects prospects with our brand personality.

Q. What one tip would you offer businesses that are new to blogging?

I’ve spent a lot of time on my blog, and after watching it rise to the top, I know that not one minute I spent building it was a waste. It takes time to get where you want to be. My problem was I didn’t have enough time to work on it, but after reading more and more blogs, I realized just how important it was in projecting my brand message and connecting with prospects.

Hard work and dedication will pay off in the end. Posting at least three times a week is essential to keeping a steady flow of visitors, and encouraging your readers to interact and comment is also a great way to build readership and online exposure.

Hills of Africa Travel specializes in providing customized African safari tours. They offer spectacular adventures with personalized and customized service, guaranteed to provide you with the experience of a lifetime. Visit Live the Magic of Africa today.

Do you have a business blog you think is worthy of a case study, or would you like to nominate one? Please leave a comment in our comment section.

If you like this post, you might also like:

  1. Confessions of a Boring Blogger
  2. The Website Alternative: Creative Business Blogsites
  3. 7 Tips on How to Run a Successful Business and Feel Great Doing It
  4. Should You Stop Blogging?
  5. Experts Share PR Success Stories

{ 2 trackbacks }

Business Bloggers to Watch | botswana News Station
January 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm
Business Bloggers to Watch | botswana today
January 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy Salle January 29, 2010 at 9:03 am

Thank you Michelle for having me on your blog. I love blogging and sharing my experiences of Africa with everyone, being able to share through blogging is a great way for people that haven’t yet gone to Africa to share my love. Thank you!

Sarah January 29, 2010 at 9:20 am

Sandy – you are my blog-hero :) AWESOME blog and a truly relevant post Michelle.

sara kearns January 29, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Michele, a truly great story. Sandy is one helluva nice person. She & Meredith run a great company and I am a brand new solo preneur in the Travel business and am specializing in trips to Africa. In fact on my way there in a couple of weeks.
Thinking how I can blog too. Any suggestions??

Michelle Salater January 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Glad you all enjoyed the post. Sandy, thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions. You make an awesome successful blogger case study.

Sara, first of all, congrats on starting your new business venture. If you want suggestions for blogging, I have 3 for you: 1) Read blogs on a regular basis. Take note of what you like and what you don’t like. 2) Comment frequently and become involved in the blogging community. 3) Start blogging.

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