In an earlier post, we discussed how to stand out a small business blog. Blog posts are a valuable tool to bring visitors to your website, improve your search engine rankings, and multiply your fan base. A restaurant business too can use blogging to expand its reach and build a unique relationship with existing customers. In fact, your restaurant blog can serve as an information hub where people can get to know you better, find menus, special deals and your achievements – all at one place.
But when there’s social media to do just that, why take the additional responsibility of maintaining a blog!
For one, social media posts are fleeting conversations where you can share only so much. A blog provides the platform to connect with your fans, share stories, tips, recipes, team bios, news, offers and updates. It can serve as a virtual tour of your restaurant where, unlike your fan page, a curious reader won’t have to scroll down endlessly to know what you are all about.
By planning and thinking ahead, you can chalk out a blogging schedule which won’t require a lot of your time. This way, you will have more control over the content and the quality of your blog posts.
Use these 7 tips to create engaging content for your blog so that you can grow your restaurant business, day in and day out.
1. Food Items
It has to begin with food! So, pick an item from your restaurant’s Menu and make it the spotlight of your blog post. Share its story, how it got its name, how it has evolved over the years, why something is the most ordered item on your breakfast menu – the list is endless. All you need to do is to bring your own love for food out and share it with people.
> Why Customers Love Our Seattle Steak
> How Our Beyonce Burger Got Its Name
> Celebrating 100 Orders of Susanne’s Special Asian Style Pork
The bottom line: Food lovers love good food stories.
2. Chef Speak (and Employee Stories)
Create a weekly or fortnightly column featuring your restaurant’s Master Chef and/or Sous-Chef where they talk about, say, their personal journey, dish of the week, secrets to great cooking, their favorites, the ingredients they swear by – stories which give readers an insight into what goes on in your kitchen and the wonderful people who make it happen.
> Chef John’s Quick Guide tothe Perfect Pasta
> Chef Mike Wants to See You This Weekend: (Link to a contest where the winner gets a special meal by the head chef)
> Chef Lee’s Secret to Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sushi
> Why Does Our Master Chef Fuss Over Presentation?
Similarly, you can share employee stories featuring employee of the week, guest chefs, staff bios and the like.
The bottom line: Customers love a business which celebrates its employees.
What’s a restaurant blog without some breathtaking pictures of food! Not everyone is a reader but almost everyone enjoys looking at great food photos. Photo-based blog posts (with minimal text) are not just quick to do; they are also a great way to engage your customers. Plus, photos are known to get more social media shares than the written word.
The bottom line: Scrumptious food photos make people hungry.
4. Theme Parties, Events and Celebrations
Once in a fortnight, create a blog post around theme parties, events and celebrations held at your restaurant. Show off how your team puts together successful events. With your guest’s permission, include photos from when the party is in full swing. And don’t forget to get a testimonial from the hosts. If you also do corporate and social events, create updates and publish them as blog posts.
> Photo Story: Halloween Party’ 14
> Small Business Open House: Mingle with Your Contemporaries
> International Women’s Day Meet @ Oscar’s
The bottom line: Let people know why they should prefer your restaurant over others.
5. Listicles (or ‘Top 10’ Lists)
Blog posts with a Top 10 list click quite well with online audiences because readers know they will find neatly organized information on a topic of their interest. While writing a Top 10 listicle for your blog, focus on what people will find exciting, cherishing, worrying or fearful. Most of these posts try to provide solution to a common problem.
> Top 10 Ideas for Theme Parties @ Home
> Top 10 Tips to Do Up Your Thanksgiving Table
> Know your Wine: 10 Fun Facts about Red Wine
> 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Us
The bottom line: You can count on (nicely done) Top 10 blog posts to bring in a good amount of traffic.
6. Special Offers
Just as you do advance planning for upcoming holidays and special occasions, plan a blog post in the same manner. This may be simpler than you think as all you need to do is to convert your special offers into a blog post.
> 5 Irresistible Valentine’s Day Deals for You
> Christmas special: 10 Delectable Sweet Treats for Your Little Ones
> 5 Awesome Birthday Bash Deals At Joe’s
The bottom line: Special days are a business opportunity. Make the most of it.
7. Customer Experiences
Strike conversations with your most frequent diners; surprise a couple with a complimentary dessert and train your staff to take special care of children. Personalized interactions encourage customers to let their guard down and open up more to participate in your activities. Invite diners to write reviews or have their pictures taken to be put up on the blog, and there – you have the next blog post served on a platter!
> Couple of the Week: Jim and Tina’s First Anniversary at The Friday Grill
> The Karoake Man: Jack’s rendition of Hotel California
> Photo Story: Why We Love Hosting Kids’ Parties
The bottom line: Make someone feel special and you have a fan for life.
Bonus Blogging Tips
Always keep it classy. This applies to every aspect of your restaurant blog – the design, layout, feel and the content. The bottom line here is to use blogging to win long-term loyalty and not short-lived web traffic.
Remember these –
> Keep the blog posts crisp and short
> To create a new blog post, aim for at least 300-350 words
> Add a catchy one-liner to each photo; never compromise on the quality of your photos, as poor images put people off
> Don’t publish tacky content just to meet the frequency; even one post a week is okay as long as it’s engaging, informative and fun
> Don’t forget to acknowledge reader comments and queries
> Do remember, classy does not mean serious or boring
There you go! Follow these time-tested mantras and you’ll have customers eating out of your hands, literally! [In case your restaurant website doesn’t have a blog yet, you should start one without wasting any more time because you’re already late.]
Do you have a restaurant blog? If you have an opinion or want to share some more tips, the comments section is all yours.