6 Restaurant Blog Ideas To Break Through Writer’s Block
Do the benefits of maintaining a blog on your website outweigh the effort it takes to get it done? While some may feel that the verdict is still out on this question, the answer is ideally yes. Blogging is part of an overall content marketing strategy that businesses use to educate consumers on a particular subject. While the ROI may take some time to manifest, the end result will be a larger audience who places greater trust in your business or expertise.
For restaurants, this equates to more customers and even better – more loyal customers. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, says that “content marketing, if done right, will help (restaurants) build a long-term relationship with customers that will reap benefits for years.”
A restaurant blog can also increase store traffic by attracting new customers. Descriptive blog entries can give potential visitors a feel for your restaurant’s mood and inspire them to come experience it for themselves.
So what do you talk about? The challenges of maintaining a blog are not only time and/or talent, but topic. Simply not knowing what to say is one of the most formidable barriers to breaking through the occasional writer’s block.
The good news for the restaurant industry is that there’s always something going on. Find inspiration in the inherent chaos of the foodservice trade. Whether your blog has fallen by the wayside or has yet to be launched, these 6 restaurant blog ideas will inspire you to dust off your typewriter and start sharing your brand story.
1. Menu Spotlight
Showcase an item on your menu. And by showcase I don’t mean to just list a set of ingredients and directions. Start by using descriptive words to share the inspiration behind the dish, disclose where ingredients are sourced, add special notes about the cooking process, etc. Include a photo of the finished dish or – to really go all out – several photos showing the various steps.
Also note that a menu spotlight doesn’t mean listing a bunch of your recipes on your website. Although some big brands do it, don’t get into the practice of giving away too many secrets. Spotlighting is more about choosing an occasional menu item or entrée and sharing an elegantly written post about it.
Borrow from the style of some popular food bloggers who ironically are often inspired by restaurant chefs.
2. In-House Events
If your restaurant is already promoting upcoming holidays and sporting events to draw a crowd, you might as well write about it. Post a short article about your events surrounding Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and the like. And if you’re a Houston-based restaurant with any type of special or in-house party for Super Bowl LI, find a way to write about it ASAP.
The great thing about throwing a party is that you can talk about it before and after the event. A post-event write up with photos will not only gain traction on your website but can be shared (with even more photos) across your social media pages.
Restaurants can also showcase other in-house events like Wine & Food Pairings, Chef Dinners, etc. But don’t just post an ad with a list of prices. Use words to elaborate on the occasion and tell people why they should purchase tickets or RSVP. Include a quote from the chef, general manager or other staff member who can add value to the post.
BB’s Fat Tuesday Celebration post sets the tone for the event with descriptive language, related photos and a video. While short and simple, the post makes the party sound like something you wouldn’t want to miss.
This entry about Underbelly’s Southern Smoke fundraiser successfully conveys the theme of the charitable event. It lists participating chefs and pitmasters and describes the event as a “massive street party with the goal of raising $200,000 for the MS Society.” While the post is technically listed as a website calendar entry, this is a great example of how to use descriptive details to attract a crowd.
3. Community Involvement
This is just good PR. If your restaurant or chef is involved in local, offsite events, by all means write about it. Your restaurant blog is your own media platform. Let your readers know what your restaurant is doing in and for the community. The post could get picked up by a news outlet and lead to further exposure.
Andalucia Tapas Restaurant & Bar drafted a post about their involvement in the Houston Press Menu of Menus Extravaganza held earlier this year. While brief, the entry alludes to the restaurant’s food quality by noting their involvement in a major culinary event.
The website news section for Hugo’s Restaurant shares the most recent happenings, including their community involvement activities. One example was Chef Hugo Ortega’s participation in the 2016 Park and Palate culinary event.
If someone wins a James Beard award, lands an appearance on the Food Network or is otherwise mentioned in the news – launch your restaurant blog immediately! While posting a link to the news article is better than doing nothing, take the opportunity to put your own restaurant’s voice behind the achievement.
Some larger restaurants opt to have a dedicated press page, but if your brand doesn’t live in the spotlight, just weave those occasional mentions in your blog with the other categories.
Max’s Wine Dive and Brennan’s were both named to Open Table’s 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America for 2016. Brennan’s shared this information as a short blog entry, while Max’s listed it on their Press + Awards page with a link to the Houston Chronicle’s mention.
5. New Stuff
Decide now that you’re going to talk about anything new that happens to your restaurant. You get a new location, a new executive chef, new menu items, a new cookbook or sauce sold in stores, even new operating hours. Sharing new stuff is not only exciting, it keeps people informed.
Harris County Smokehouse shared a descriptive release about some new additions to their menu last year. Jalapeño cornbread. Fried mushrooms. Fried pickles & jalapeños. Hungry yet? Keep reading to hear how the cornbread is “buttery and moist with just the right amount of peppery flavor and kick.” Let’s go right now.
6. All Things Food and Drink
Our topics so far have been focused on the restaurant brand itself. Pulizzi makes a departure outside the box by noting that content should be differentiated and can be “focused on something interesting or helpful to the audience.”
In addition to telling their own stories, restaurateurs are culinary experts who can educate consumers on the topic of food in general.
Moxie’s Grill & Bar does this so well that you almost forget that they are still promoting their restaurant brand. Visit their blog and get inspired to a new level of creativity.
The post, “Ain’t No Thing Like a Chicken Wing” offers three different theories of how chicken wings came to be before ultimately promoting Moxie’s Monday Wing Night. Clever. “The Fresh 15” post will subtly entice you to order Moxie menu items to “increase energy, promote good health and maximize learning.”
Now that you have some ideas, break through the block and start elevating your restaurant blog to new deliciousness. Use these 6 categories to generate a list of specific topics for your restaurant. Then line up the tools you need for easy publishing and maintenance.
(You’re still thinking about that jalapeño cornbread, aren’t you?) Me too.