How to Enlist the Help of Food Bloggers to Grow Your Restaurant
Connections. That’s what the Internet is all about. Connections help you grow your restaurant, and connecting with food bloggers is a vital part of your digital marketing strategy.
According to TechnoratiMedia, blogs are the third most influential digital resource people use when making purchases, just behind retail and brand sites.
One of the best ways to enlist help to grow your restaurant is to reach out to food bloggers. (tweet this) Conduct an on-going blogger outreach campaign by initiating and cultivating relationships with these foodies. You’ll find that creating a long-term relationship with food bloggers can be mutually beneficial.
We have lots of tips for how to enlist the help of food bloggers to grow your restaurant complete with dos and don’ts. So, let’s get started.
Get to Know the Food Blogger
The first thing you want to do when starting your food blogger outreach campaign is make a list of food bloggers. Read and research their blogs. Make sure you like their writing style and the look of their blog. Narrow your list down so you have no more than 20 for your first outreach campaign.
Next, learn more about the food bloggers. Follow them on social media. Comment on their blog and social media posts. Find out if they guest post on other blogs. Tag them in social media. The whole idea here is for them to know about you before you contact them.
You’ve set the stage and done your research. By now, your restaurant should be on their radar, and it’s time for you to make your move.
Note that food bloggers get numerous emails and phone calls from restaurants just like yours every day, so you’ve got to stand out. Here are a few tips to assist you with your first personal contact with the food blogger:
- Don’t ever send a press release to a food blogger. They are impersonal, and no one really wants to read them anyway.
- Address the blogger by name – no generic greetings.
- Start with the soft sell. Simply introduce yourself. Invite them to your restaurant.
- Tell them why you reached out to them. Make them feel special and not part of a large food blogger outreach campaign. Let them know you handpicked them and why.
- Show your personality and send the email yourself. Don’t outsource this job to your marketing agency and don’t send mass emails all at once.
- Discuss ways you could mutually benefit one another.
- If the food blogger says no, keep your cool. Just because they don’t want to work with your restaurant right now doesn’t mean they won’t in six months.
Once you’ve initiated the conversation with the food blogger, it’s time to take some action. Don’t make the food blogger come up with ways to promote your restaurant. Help them out.
A key part of your blogger outreach campaign is creativity.
In the past, the easiest way to get listed on a food blog was to sponsor a link, banner ad or promotion. This type of advertising packs less of a punch these days as blog readers have smartened up. They realize these are paid sponsorships, and thus, they give them less weight.
There are ways to stay on top of the food blogger scene by suggesting some creative methods to your favorite food blogger. This should be relatively easy to do especially if you have a relationship with the blogger.
Most food bloggers are constantly on the look out for new content, so to have it suggested to them is a bonus and time-saver for them. Here are a few creative ideas for promoting your restaurant to your favorite food blogger:
- Ask the food blogger to eat at your restaurant every day for a week (gratis, of course). They can pick the meal time. Serve the food blogger your favorite dishes and ask them to share photos of their meal and their time at your restaurant each day. This is a great way to get your foot in the door with the food blogger’s audience. If the food blogger has accepted your invitation to eat and post every day, be sure to share the post with your digital network, too. This increases the impact!
- Suggest the food blogger start a restaurant-recipe tour series and invite them to start or end it at your restaurant. The food blogger can invite several restaurants in town to submit a short video clip of their chef creating something delicious in the kitchen. The food blogger can share these videos on the food blog providing interesting, interactive content. Again, make sure to share the video on all of your channels as well.
- Take a note from the fashion industry and create a look book. In the fashion industry, this is a gorgeous piece dedicated to the season’s newest styles and trends. We suggest you do it as a video. Again, invite the food blogger to eat at your restaurant. Film the blogger while they try each dish, and they provide a quick comment on each item. This is a great example of the symbiotic relationship between the food blogger and your restaurant. They get an extra promotional push as you promote the video on your digital channels, and you get the benefits from the video’s promotion on their food blog.
- Create a traditional look book of menu item photos for the food blogger to use on their website. For example, it’s spring, and you’ve introduced a line of new spring-only menu items. Invite the food blogger to write about your new menu items and provide them professional photos for the look book.
- Lastly, invite the food blogger to an exclusive event at your restaurant with no strings attached. This is your chance to solidify your relationship with the blogger. Food bloggers love invites to exclusive events. Give them a doggy bag of desserts to take home, and you’re well on your way to a long-lasting relationship.
The End Goal is in Sight
With some of these tips in hand, we bet you’ll find it’s not so hard to enlist the help of food bloggers to grow your restaurant. Remember to have a goal in mind before you approach the blogger.
Keep on top of the creative ideas because the less you make the food blogger think about how to promote your restaurant, the more likely they are to do it. Having an idea ready makes it easy for food bloggers to decide if they want to work with your restaurant. (tweet this)
Lastly, food blogs are also important to your restaurant because they can improve your search engine ranking. Inbound links coming in to your site are a big determinant of your SEO ranking. Inbound links from reputable, trustworthy websites tell the search engines you are a viable business. This is just another important reason to enlist the help of food bloggers.
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