Top 5 Restaurant Content Marketing Best Practices
What type of cuisine do you serve your customers? Whatever the answer, prospective customers are discovering more information about food online every day. Let’s say that blog belongs to an influencer in your city, and he or she just happened to mention your restaurant because you recently shared a great piece of content that caught his or her eye. Coincidence? Hardly. This is content marketing at work.
Content marketing is highly effective – costing an average of 62 percent less than traditional marketing while generating about three times as many leads. Yet many restaurants still aren’t leveraging the power of this type of marketing. So, what exactly is content marketing, and how does it work?
Content marketing is a means of providing valuable information to your readers about something that interests them. In this case, it doesn’t necessarily have to focus specifically on your restaurant or even the food that you serve, so long as the information you are providing has a shared relevancy to your business and your customers. That content can be a blog post, a video or a visual – there are endless options – but the goal is the same: to build an authentic and meaningful connection with the reader.
Do you want to utilize content marketing but aren’t quite sure of the best starting point? Check out these five powerful tips to get your restaurant’s content marketing program off the ground.
1. Storytelling & Content: A Powerful Duo
The human brain is hardwired to connect better with information when you present it using storytelling rather than cold, hard facts. Why?
The brain does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; the same neurological regions are stimulated, and as a result, leaves more of an impact on your reader versus merely reading bulleted information.
Customers crave a more personal connection with your business, and when you infuse your content marketing with storytelling, you instantly strengthen that connection and make it more impactful.
Are you seeking to maximize the impact of storytelling within your content marketing efforts? Here are a few tips.
- Create fun videos where customers talk about their experiences with your restaurant (more on video in a minute).
- Tell a personal, authentic story about the history of your restaurant.
- Create blog content infused with behind-the-scenes footage, such as entertaining stories from employees.
2. Maximize Reach With Content Marketing & Targeted Influencer Outreach
In the past, if you wanted to find out about a good restaurant, you’d simply ask a friend. For example, you might say, “Hey, I’m looking for great Asian cuisine. Have you been anywhere good lately?” Conversations like this still happen today, but the format and the reach of this question has completely changed with the advent of social media.
In fact, 71 percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media referral. Moreover, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations for dining decisions. Tap into the power of these statistics by getting your content into the hands of powerful influencers. Social media influencers are people who have developed large audiences for a specific niche, such as food culture.
Find these influencers by first discovering where your target audience is spending their time online. Maybe it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Once you identify their favorite places to hang out, find influencers in that space. Then you can start reaching out, but the way in which you reach out is critical – always invest time in building a relationship first before asking for favors. You will be much more successful partnerships when doing so.
Start by making a list of influencers, reach out, and begin building a relationship with them. Comment on their blog posts, share their content and send them a personal message if you like something they wrote. After creating this warm connection, see if they would be interested in creating content for your business.
3. Leverage Video To Drive Greater Results
Do you want to reach your customers with even greater impact? If so, consider creating video content. Check out these incredible stats:
- The amount of online video content uploaded in 30 days is greater than what all major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years.
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 48 percent faster than those who don’t use video.
- Social video generates 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined.
Video is a powerful tool for content marketing, but how can you incorporate it into your strategy? First, remember those influencers that you identified? Check out their content. What types of content received the most interactions? Can you find any common themes in those pieces of content?
For example, let’s say the most commonly shared content was “how to” content. If so, you may want to consider creating a how-to video as well and sharing it with your audience. More importantly, after developing a solid relationship with your list of influencers, share that content with them as well.
4. Piggyback On Hot Trends
Newsjacking is a term that describes a company piggybacking on a big new story to draw attention to their content. Public relations firms have been doing this for years, but using this strategy as part of your content marketing efforts presents a huge opportunity for restaurants.
Find a topic by evaluating your customer’s interests – what are they? This can be anything from movies, TV shows, events or even technology trends. You can check out the social channels where your audience hangs out, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to get ideas. Once you find a story, tie it to your own content, and make sure that it’s relevant. Test different approaches to see what works best for your restaurant and customers. The point is to keep it lighthearted and fun, and to drive interest in your restaurant.
5. Time Your Efforts With Greater Precision
When publishing content marketing for your restaurant, it’s also important to consider timing. There are days, times and moments when your customers are more receptive to reading your content, and it’s key to tap into them.
There are two parts to your content marketing efforts: creation and promotion. Timing has to do with the promotion side of the equation. Some experts say that for each hour you spend creating content, you should plan an hour of promotion – and part of this is getting the timing right. So when is the best time to publish content? Here is a quick guide:
- Facebook. Thursday is the most recommended day to post, and the most active time is 1 p.m.
- Twitter. Monday through Thursday is a good time to post, with Thursday being the day most recommended. Post between noon and 3 p.m., and avoid early-morning and late-night postings.
- Instagram. Monday is the day that drives the most engagement, with 2 a.m., 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. being the optimal posting times.
- Pinterest. Saturday, at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., is the best day to post on this platform.
Use these times as a starting point for your content marketing efforts, but always remember to track and test your results. For example, even though traditionally Thursday may be the best day on Facebook, you may find that Wednesday afternoons work best for your restaurant and audience. Always remain flexible in order to maximize your results.
A Few Last Words…
Content marketing empowers restaurants to connect and engage with their customers like never before. Customers want to visit restaurants they know and trust, and by creating excellent and consistent content, you can stay in front of those customers while nurturing and building stronger relationships.
John Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), says that restaurant owners who are new to content marketing should start small. “Focus on one particular audience. Current customers are probably the lowest-hanging fruit. Focus on just one content type (textual, audio, video) and one content platform (blog, YouTube, iTunes).”
Once you have success with your existing customers, you can build and grow your strategy to include other segments and create consistent, long-term results.