Building Loyal Customers with Your Restaurant’s Blog

You might not think about it very often, but your restaurant has a story.  From the first time you had an idea to get your business started, to the day you printed your first menu and opened your doors for the first time, to the resume that led to your most recent hire, every big decision you have made and big milestone you have crossed plays a part in defining your restaurant.  And, believe it or not, there are people out there that want this story to be told!

By starting a blog for your restaurant, you gain access to the perfect place to tell your restaurant’s story.  If you are unfamiliar with what a blog or blogging is, think of it like an online journal, or a place where you can record all of the biggest and most important things that happen at your establishment.  Your blog will live on your website, where it will be an integral part in crafting your business’s online presence.

Think of a blog as a marketing opportunity as well: by keeping you blog up to date, individuals who stumble upon your website will be able to learn a whole lot about how your restaurant works, the personality that your restaurant conveys, and all of the biggest events and developments that your business has recently seen.  And in addition to making a big first impression on new customers, your blog will help you build loyal returning customer relationships, too: when you blog you are telling your story and building a narrative around your establishment, and customers will feel more connected to your eatery and be more likely to frequent your business as you keep this narrative running.

Sounds like a good deal, right?  With not a whole lot of work on your end, launching a blog on your restaurant’s website will let you tell your business’s story, build engagement with your site for new customers, and help you build up a loyal customer base.  So what do you need to keep in mind when getting your restaurant’s blog up in running?  Here are five things to do before you publish your first post:

  1. Think about format

How long will your blog posts be?  Will you post pictures in every blog post?  Will you write your blog from your perspective, or use a neutral voice, or write it from the perspective of (and with the permission of) a well loved employee?  In general, blogs should be easy and fun to read, so consider including lots of multimedia elements in your posts, and keeping entries between 400-800 words.  You can experiment with format a bit as you go, but putting some thought into what you want your posts to look like before you launch your blog will help you see more engagement.

  1. Think about frequency

How often can you commit to posting updates on your blog? Is there a day of the week that you can always post on?  Blogs that are updated regularly will see bigger and more dedicated readerships, as your customers and audience base will be able to expect when to “tune in” and learn what’s going on at their favorite eatery.  Posting once a week is a good goal, but don’t say you are going to if you can’t: what’s worse than low frequency is inconsistency and unpredictability.

  1. Think about your audience

What do your customers want to hear about?  What are some things you can feature and write about in your blog that will keep people’s attention?  Would your diners be more interested in learning about your staff, or the history of the building where your restaurant is located?  There’s nothing wrong with writing about a wide range of things and seeing which posts are the most popular, but thinking about some of the demographics of your community and customer base, and what things might appeal to them, is always a good idea.

  1. Build a list of post ideas

By thinking of as many post ideas as you can ahead of time, you will have something to fall back on when current events and interesting updates fall through.  It’s a good idea in general to focus on what’s going on now when telling your restaurant’s story, but every week don’t have post worthy events.  Which is fine, as long as you have a fallback plan and a big list to draw from.

  1. Don’t forget to have fun!

Your blog should be filled with your personality, and should be a fun reflection of how you want people to see your restaurant.  If your posts are dry and boring, no one will tune in to read them.  So don’t forget to have fun in every step of the blogging process!  If you keep things light and fun filled, and think about the other steps and considerations above, you will be well on your way to telling your restaurants story, and the loyal customers and higher website engagement rates will come.

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