Starting up a blog for your restaurant or cafe is a fantastic way to engage with current and potential customers online, showcase what your venue has to offer, and provide loyal customers with perks and insider secrets.
But it’s not as easy as just picking up a pen – or rather, a keyboard – and starting to type. Writing about food can be a tough gig, and deciding what to put on your venue’s blog is a tricky venture if you have no experience in food blogging.
So, we’ve come up with a few important tips to remember as you embark on this new foodie journey.
Be Authentic and Honest
Readers will always know if your heart isn’t in it, or if your content is copied or pulled from elsewhere.
The only way to write when it comes to food and hospitality is to be true to yourself, your venue, and your customers and community. The more ‘real’ you are when it comes to writing your blog, the more that readers will respect the venue and stay engaged with your posts.
Make jokes, talk about your staff or your food, and write about the things you love most about hospitality. Don’t spend hours researching other food blogs or restaurant websites – do what feels right, and think about what you find interesting when it comes to food writing. Chances are, your customers and audience will feel the same!
Provide a Point of Difference
Food blogs are a dime a dozen these days, and it can be tough to stand out in a sea of expert food bloggers.
Thankfully, you’ve already locked in one key point of difference: you’re representing a food venue, so you’ve got that expert status sorted and don’t need to start from scratch to build up a name.
But, it’s important that your content is unique and different, as there’s no doubt you’ll have local competitors out there trying to corner your share of the online market. A great strategy for hospitality venues to look at when writing about food is providing customers with things they might not otherwise get by coming into the venue.
So, think about behind the scenes photos from your kitchen or an event, the odd recipe or two (this is great if you are a venue that switches menus throughout the year), sneak peeks at new dishes or drinks, competitions to win dinner or a bar card, and giveaways for people who share your posts on social media.
Do Judge a (Blog) by its Cover
When it comes down to it, the visual element of your blog will be what makes or breaks it. Great photos are often the biggest element that draw a punter to a page – and what keeps them there if they do click through. The human eye is drawn to pretty things, and a page full of black and white text won’t keep anyone interested, and neither will a bland blog or website design.
If you can, work with a web designer to get the look of your blog just right. When you start creating posts, make sure you break up the text with lots of images, videos if you have the capability, links through to other resources, and anything else that might be visually appealing.
Don’t Get Too Complex
This tip definitely depends on the kind of venue you own, run or are writing for, but as a general rule: don’t write anything that the average joe wouldn’t enjoy reading.
This may differ slightly, for example, if you run a fine dining restaurant and want to write about a complicated French dish that your chef wants to try out – but usually, it’s best to stick to simple wording, easy topics, and concepts that won’t boggle the mind of the average person who just likes to eat good food.
Keeping things simple and conversational is an excellent way to pull in a broader range of readers, who, ideally will turn into customers.
Strategy and Regularity
It’s one thing to start a blog for your restaurant or venue, but it’s another thing to keep posting regularly and find the time to manage it alongside other tasks.
If you are thinking about starting a blog, make sure you are aware of the extra time that will be involved and try to set up a regular schedule. Even if you are only posting once per month, make sure you stick to that timeline to keep your online community satisfied and ensure your website doesn’t fall by the wayside. Thinking about an ongoing strategy is also a great way to increase clicks to your website and focus on specific aims.
Each and every venue and writer will have a different style, goals, and ideas when it comes to writing about food. There are no right or wrong ideas, it’s more about the way you present those ideas to your community.
By following the tips above you should get a good sense of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to writing a food blog, and soon your strategy will be solid. Just remember: your blog exists for your customers, just like your venue.