According to a report by Demand Metric, content marketing efforts costs are 62 percent lower than traditional marketing, and generate up to three times as many leads.
Restaurants and the wider hospitality industry have been slow to jump on the content marketing bandwagon, but with the advantages they bring restaurateurs can’t afford to be naive any longer.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a branch of inbound marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online content, such as videos, images, blogs, podcasts and other forms of digital media, that indirectly promotes a brand and stimulates interest in its products.
In the case of a restaurant or hospitality business, the owner may decide to create content that drives people to their website or social media account to showcase their selection of food, in the hopes of creating a profitable customer.
The content should be targeted at your ideal customer in order to create a connection with existing and potential patrons.
In order to create a successful content strategy, the medium must first be considered.
Some restaurateurs focus on showcasing their culinary skills content through social media, while others may decide to create a food blog section for their website to place themselves as a thought-leader, with guides and ‘how-to’ articles.
A mixture of the two can yield the highest returns—each drives traffic to the other.
Regardless of the medium, the strategy should be methodical and consistent:
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Ultimately, content marketing is about building relationships with guests by being a resource for them.
Identify the target audience; age, income, eating habits, preferences for ambiance, etc. and create content for that type of person.
Restaurants should be aiming to drive traffic to the restaurant and their website.
Step 2: Set Regular Posting Deadlines
A calendar allows restaurateurs to track and set regular times for uploading content to the food blog or social media channels.
Sharing the schedule with restaurant staff keeps them in the loop and sets up the possibility of them sharing it across their social media accounts, extending posts’ potential reach.
Restaurateurs should cross-promote across various channels for maximum impact.
Step 3: Keep Content Unique
Content marketing is about creating shareable content to increase a brand’s online presence and visibility.
The best way to do this is to stay authentic to the brand.
Using a combination of food blog posts, images, video and podcasts can create excitement around a brand - boring content isn’t captivating and has a small likelihood of being shared.
Top Tip: Design content around holidays, the seasons and events.
Step 4: Optimize SEO for Blog Posts
Every blog post, whether it be a ‘how-to’ guide for preparing difficult dishes, or on the different kinds of wine that go well with a medium-rare rib-eye, must be SEO friendly.
This means performing keyword research so the right words and phrases are included in the blog post, so that the article can be found by people searching for similar queries on Google.
Restaurateurs should also remember to optimize images by always including alt tags, ideally with relevant keywords.
Step 5: Track and Measure Goals the SMART Way
It’s very important that all content marketing is trackable.
Progress should be constantly monitored, with SMART goals set from the beginning which allows any restaurant owner to see whether strategies work, and if tactics need to be adjusted.