Starting Your Restaurant and Hospitality Blog

As a follow up-from our last blog entry, let's talk a bit about easy ways to get started with a blog for your restaurant.   It can seem like a daunting task at first, but it can be a lot of fun.  Most people find that they really like it, and it's a great way to keep their guests engaged in their business.  If you haven't read our last blog article about "the point" of a blog, I suggest heading over there and reading this second.

So, there's a few questions you should answer before getting started with your blog.  If you can get these things sorted out, things are going to be MUCH easier for you.    I'll list them first and then talk about each one of them individually:

1) Who is your target audience?
2) What is your target audience interested in?
4) What are some headlines?
5) Who will be in charge of your blog?
6) How much time do you want your business to commit to the blog?

Who is your target audience?

This is the most important question for your blog.  It's likely the most important question in your business too.  Hopefully, you already know the answer to this.  It's important to your blog, because if you're not writing content geared towards your target audience, you're going to be spending time developing content that won't help drive guests to your business.

What is your target audience interested in?

Since you know who your target audience is, you should spend time thinking about what their interests are.  Their interests don't necessarily need to align to your business either.  By eventually blogging about things that are interesting to your audience, you will be bringing them into your website and eventually into your establishment.  Remember, you're aiming for your website to become a "hangout" for your guests, and talking about things they're interested in is the key to doing it.  Some examples may be local sports team, local events, new city policies, common interests (e.g. do you have a lot of moms and dads visiting the store after the local pre-school gets out?), etc...

What are some headlines?

Now starts the fun part.  For some, it can also be the most challenging.  I suggest building a list of 50 items potential blog topics (yes, 50!).  Since, you've thought about your target audience and their interests, you should have a good idea of what some of these things might be already.  When you get stumped for more ideas, stop for the day.  Come back the next day, after you've though about it and interacted with your guests, and add a few more.  This approach will give your brain time to breathe, as well as force you to think about it while you're working inside your business.  You'll be amazed at how many new things you'll come up with.  You'll also notice you'll start thinking this way once you've already started your blog.  You'll think to yourself, "Hey, I can blog about that!" 

Who will be in charge of your blog?

This is an interesting question to ask yourself.  Does this seem like something you don't have time for right now?  Will you ever?  The good news is that you don't need to be the one doing it.  If you've got a marketing person on staff, then they should likely be the one in charge.  If you don't have that luxury (and most of us don't!), this might be a great opportunity to give some extra responsibility to someone else on staff.  Find a person with good writing skills, that has passion about the business and ask them to write a few articles.  As a bonus, this is a great way to get the best out of a team member and encourage them to connect to the pulse of your business and your guests.

How much time do you want your business to commit to the blog?

You now need to decide how much time you REALLY want to spend on the blog.   There's a variety of different approaches that can be taken.  It can take different amounts of time based on the length of each blog post and how often you decide to post your blogs.  These two things are totally up to you.  But, you should stay consistent , so your readers know what to expect.    A blog post can be as small as a paragraph or can span several paragraphs.  You may also decide to post once a week or every few weeks or maybe even daily!   It's up to you.  Try a few different approaches and see what works best.  At first, I'd try to post on blog at 1-3 paragraphs once a week.  Since you have 50 ideas already, you should be set for the first year!  You'll also find lots of timely blog posts that you can't predict.  For example, you might blog about a new menu item or a new staff member.

Finally, have fun with it.  Your blog shouldn't be a burden.  It should be a source of inspiration and conversation for you and your guests.  If it's becoming a burden, think about bringing in someone new to take over or decrease the frequency of your postings.

Do you have any more suggestions?  We'd love to hear them!