As explained in previous blog postings, I have been looking to improve the digital marketing strategy for Gourmet Burger Kitchen and part of this development was to include a blog into their portfolio. I was amazed to see the amount of restaurants and other business within the food industry who had their own blogs, and how much of a powerful marketing tool they are to them. With more people than ever using the internet on a regular basis, and choosing to rely heavily on peer-reviews, the influence that a well constructed blog could have have on your restaurant reputation is greater than ever!
It is a great way for your restaurant to be open and honest with your consumers by showing them recipes, your supply chain, promotions, staff bios and that you share their love of great food as well! Research carried out by Park et al. (2007) shows that most topical blogs (such as a restaurant blog) us popular and alluring information to attract browsers. In addition to this, Krishnamurthy (2002) identified four categories typology of blogs: personal, topical, individual, and community.
Forage is a restaurant based in LA, and although their blogs are few are far between, it is still a great example of how to make an attractive restaurant blog. When they do get round to blogging, it usually includes mouthwatering photographs of the ingredients they use, which immediately make their readers hungry and wanting more!
Whilst researching for this blog, I came across this very informative news article by Abidemi Sanusi from the Guardian. She goes into great detail as to how to write a successful blog in order to promote your business. I’ll just summarise a few of the points she makes, although I pretty much agree with them all.
Write for your customers
Your blog is used by your your customers, so don’t bore them by continuously talking about yourself. It should aim to solve aim to provide a fresh insight into your restaurant, don’t overwhelm them, just be clear and concise and engage them with visual content.
Plan your content
Don’t just write about anything, you need to attract people to your page! Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a great way to find out key phrases your consumers are using to search for your restaurant field. You may choose to use these phrases in the title. This is a great way to increase traffic to your website, which is essentially SEO.
Aim for a frequency that your restaurant can handle, maybe once a week. The key is consistency, and although the Forage blog above looks great, they simply don’t blog frequently enough, so you will lose the following you work so hard for.
Make it Shareable
Create links to other digital marketing platforms you current have in your portfolio. Make it easy for them to notice them as this is another great way to drive traffic to not only your blog, but to your restaurant as well.
If you’re stuck for ideas as to what to include in your blog, below are a few ideas courtesy of Matthew Sonnenshein who posted a blog for ‘gourmet marketing’. I have to say, it’s a great read, so why not give it a whirl by clicking on the link!
- Promote healthy recipes, organic products or ways to cut calories.
- Provide information on respected health and nutrition websites.
- Link blog posts to local events like parades, concerts, charitable events, trade shows and conferences.
- Produce a calendar of events, local guide or information on cooking classes.
- Partner with noncompetitive neighboring businesses, farms, wineries, breweries or suppliers.
- Interview a respected local or national food celebrity.
- Review local, regional and national food products.
- Post comments on other restaurant and food blogs.
- Complement the blog with professional site design and a recognizable graphic theme.
Like any digital marketing platform, there are drawbacks to using a blog to promote your business. A blog requires regular updates, and can be time consuming, so make sure that by doing a blog it does effect your general running of your restaurant. Also, being too honest may not work in your favour, as Bernoff (2009) points out, it may lead to trust issues.
Finally, I’ll end with a quote from a book I found in the university library by Ryan & Jones (2009):
Bernoff, J. (2009). Blogs, Marketing and Trust. Marketing News, 43(2), 17.
Ryan, D. and Jones, C. (2009). Understanding digital marketing. London: Kogan Page.
Krishnamurthy, S. (2002). The multidimensionality of blog conversations: The virtual enactment of September 11. Paper presented at the Association of Internet Researchers (AoJR) International Conference, Internet Research 3.0, Maastricht, The Netherlands, October 13-16.
Park, D., Lee, J. and Han, I. (2007). The Effect of On-Line Consumer Reviews on Consumer Purchasing Intention: The Moderating Role of Involvement. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 11(4), pp.125-148.