Blogging. It’s favored by everyone, from the obsessed to the opinionated, and it’s the go-to tool for buzzword-obsessed marketers when it comes to content marketing. But does your restaurant really need one? Although running a blog for your restaurant might seem like a momentous task, the benefits are well worth the trouble.
First of all, search engines love relevant and recent content, so by providing a blog post on a relatively regular basis, you will rank higher in search results and produce more traffic. And what does that ultimately mean? More customers.
Then there’s the sought-after benefit of adding personality to your brand. With blogging, you have the opportunity to show off yourself, your staff, and the inner-workings of your operation. People love to know what goes on behind-the-scenes and what goes into running your restaurant, and a blog is the perfect platform to share this type of content on. Finally, it’s another great outlet for promotion, giving you a chance to go more in depth about your latest offers, upcoming events, and other newsworthy happenings around your business.
So, we’ve established that your restaurant might be better off with a blog, but where to start?
First things first, you need a choose a platform on which to blog on. Your options here are virtually endless, but sticking to an already established platform is your safest bet. Perhaps your website is built on a content management system such as Wordpress, Squarespace, or Wix. If so, blog functionality comes with it out-of-the box, will look like the rest of your existing site design, and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to set up. (If this seems daunting, just get in touch with the developer or designer who built it for you, and they should be able to set it up in no time.) Alternatively, you have a bunch of standalone blogging platforms, such as Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, or Ghost — all of which are free to use, although might be slightly more limited in terms of customization.
You’ve set up your blog and are sitting comfortably at your desk, ready to write your first post. Now, what should you be writing about? The type of content you’ll be writing will vary extensively depending on what kind of restaurant you operate, and most importantly, who your customers are. Having a comprehensive understanding about your customers and what type of content they enjoy is key here, so if you haven’t already created a customer avatar, this is the time to do so. If you’re still struggling to figure out what to write about, here are a few general areas that are applicable to most businesses.
Food. This can range from new menu announcements, in-depth articles about specific ingredients and their history, featured dishes, and educational posts on how to prepare them, along with recipes and features on local farmers market and producers. Another idea worth considering, which is especially beneficial for search rankings, is giving your opinion on the latest food trends and popular topics, such as diet-specific dishes and how different ingredients are used at your restaurant.
People and community. Content related to your local area is great for building customer loyalty in your community. Things worth blogging about might be you sponsoring a local event or your restaurant being involved in fundraising for a local cause. Also, featuring your customers and staff through customer or employee-of-the -month posts further engages with your audience and shows them you care about the people around you.
Promotions. News about your restaurant, whether the announcement of a new chef or location, special offers, upcoming events, or other newsworthy content, is perfect for your blog. Your blog is a great platform for giving more in-depth information about things happening in your business and serves as a fantastic way to communicate with your audience by welcoming feedback and input from them. Not only will you gain valuable insights from your customers, but this is also a great way to build trust.
Now that you have your blog up and running, and you’ve written your first blog post, it’s time to start promoting it. Start by sharing your blog through your social media channels, as well as your mailing list or newsletter. Adding a link to the latest blog post on the homepage of your website or a link to the blog on your tabletop marketing displays is an easy way to start getting traffic to your blog.
From here, the rest is up to you. One thing to keep in mind is that blogging is a commitment, especially if you are to use it as a marketing tool. You’ll want to write a new blog post at least once a week to make sure you’re staying relevant and post content on a regular basis. It doesn’t always have to be a full-length article (you could just give a rundown of the past week), but consistency is crucial.
Get out there and write, delight, entertain, and educate your customers and potential customers. Congratulations — you’re a blogger!