More and more, diners are doing their research online to help them decide where they should eat out with family and friends. In other words, a restaurant blog can be a powerful marketing tool.
While it does take some effort to create a restaurant blog, the good news is it’s an opportunity to connect with current and potential guests online. In fact, a blog can become your most effective restaurant marketing strategy if done right. That’s because with your own blog, you control the message, and can create content that resonates with your target customers.
Ready to start a restaurant blog? Here’s what you need to know.
Why Blog At All?
A blog can serve as the online hub for all of your special events, promotional offers, photos and videos, and the overall story of your business. Having a blog can also establish you as the go-to culinary expert in your local niche while building customer loyalty.
Finally, having a restaurant blog can help increase engagement and customer retention. The more they can get to know about your restaurant and the people behind the scenes via your blog, the stronger the connection they will have to your establishment.
What Should Your Restaurant Blog Be About?
The key to starting a new restaurant blog is to just start. When trying to think of topics, recall all of the experiences you’ve had, the type of food and drinks you serve, and what goes on in the kitchen.
Here are 7 key restaurant blog topics to get you started:
1. Recipes and Techniques
Patrons who enjoy your dishes will be thrilled to find out how to try to recreate the flavors at home (as long as you don’t give away all of your secrets). Put together a seasonal recipe post, or include a step-by-step instructional video on a particular cooking technique. Work with your bartender to highlight what’s happening behind the bar, share pairing ideas, or show how to make a favorite cocktail.
2. Owner Spotlights
Your restaurant is your unique vision, and your customers want to know more about it. Share some of the inspiration behind your dishes. Did you have an Italian grandmother who taught you how to make your sauce? Your customers would love to hear about her. Also, think about what keeps you inspired. Did you recently take a trip and eat your way through Spain? Share that story with lots of photos.
3. Staff Bios
Pluck out someone from behind the scenes, take a photo, and ask them questions about their kitchen tips and techniques, as well as any interesting facts about their experiences.
4. Behind-the-Scenes Community Stories
Local farmers and independent suppliers make perfect subjects for your blog. Visit the farm, or the coffee roaster, or the baker, and highlight how these ingredients are used in your kitchen. Were you involved in a charity event? Your blog can share the ways in which you support your community. These types of posts also make for very shareable content, as the others involved will likely promote your piece to their networks.
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5. Restaurant Updates and Promotions
Let your customers be the first to know that you’re adding new menu items, switching things up for the new season, or incorporating a new ingredient. Don’t limit yourself to the kitchen either. Talk about the newest craft beer on tap, updates to the wine list, or your live entertainment calendar.
Don’t be shy about the success that your restaurant is having. Were you recently featured on local TV, or awarded some type of recognition? That’s news that is worthy of a blog post.
7. Local Happenings
You don’t only have to blog about your restaurant. For instance, if there’s a festival, gallery night, or theater production going on, blog about that as well. At the end, include a call to action inviting people to make your restaurant part of the day’s itinerary.
What Else Do You Need to Know About Blogging?
Beyond the content you create, you also want to make sure it looks good, is updated often, and can be easily discovered by people searching online.
Choose a Simple, Clean Design
Work with a designer who can create an eye-catching look, and set you up on a user-friendly blog publishing platform, like WordPress. If you already have a website and branded digital assets, the blog should match your look so that it’s a seamless experience for visitors. That way, once it’s live, you can easily add new posts and update content with ease.
Make Consistent Blog Updates
Before you get ready to launch, try to come up with a three-month editorial calendar with at least one post per week. Regular updates, especially if you can post at the same day each week, will keep the blog from getting stale, and encourage visitors to keep coming back.
Visual Content Satisfies Appetites
There’s a reason why Instagram is such a key platform for restaurants. Photographs, especially for food establishments, can really draw in customers. Take pics of your most delectable looking dishes, as well as your décor, your crowded bar, and other things that will make people want to come see what all the buzz is about.
Don’t Skip Over Search Engine Optimization
Simply put, if people Google “seafood restaurant in Providence” and you’re a seafood restaurant in Providence, you want to be appear in that search result. To do that, you’ll need a few blog posts that use that keyword phrase naturally. Over time, your SEO strategy can improve your search engine position. Think about what your patrons might search for when creating blog headlines and topics, and add those phrases accordingly. But most important, make sure your content is good quality and authentic.
Your Restaurant Blog as a Marketing Tool
Once established, your blog can essentially serve as the central hub of your content. It can point to all of your other digital properties, like your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and it can showcase photos of your restaurant and your staff members to give visitors a sense of the atmosphere and personality.
Your main goal is to educate guests about your establishment before they visit, so they will already have a sense of familiarity when walking through the door. They may know what the specials are for the day, and perhaps even know what the chef looks like, and what they want to order. Most of all, they’ll feel like they have a real relationship with your restaurant and it will be top of mind when they’re making their next dining plans.
Check out Upserve’s Restaurant Marketing Strategies Guide!