Know Your Audience. That’s great advice for any online content and promotion, right? Yet some businesses do this much better than others. Food blogs are a great place to pick up a few pointers. They do a terrific job creating content that is entertaining and informative for their audience. That’s probably because the people who create these blogs are foodies themselves and have a somewhat intuitive grasp on writing what they love. However, it does seem like they really consider the perspective of all kinds of people who are interested in everything having to do with cooking and food.
While restaurants and food industry businesses probably can relate much of what these blogs specialize in, any small business can consider the following tips when creating online content about their products and services:
1. Consider Busy Lifestyles
If you have a website or food blog to accompany your brick and mortar business, it's fantastic when people find time to read your content online, provide feedback or mention you on social networks, let alone seek out your products.
However, busy people are doing all of these things, and seeking out new foodie blogs to follow and new recipes to try at the same time. Blogs take this into account with posts featuring ingredients folks already have at home, using a slow-cooker and other time-saving tips, and demonstrate how to prepare a range of meal types, from a weeknight quick meal to several courses for a dinner party.
Take these examples of what popular foodie blogs are doing and see how you might incorporate them into your own website or blog:
This edition of the Kitchn’s newsletter links to a featured post “15 Essential Building Blocks for Easy Weeknight Meals.” Perhaps you have a few how-to catchy posts you can put together for your own business blog? Maybe even some easy recipes to give away?
Chez Pim’s “Dinner at 8” feature gives step-by-step instructions for preparing an awesome three-course dinner. Acting as a resource and an expert on the subject of food and dining is the best way to get customers to trust the dishes you're preparing.
2. Content Should Have a Voice and Personality
The top food blogs have a personal touch that reflects day-to-day life, traditions, and holidays. Whether it’s a holiday meal, a summer barbecue or cooking up cozy comfort food on a snowy day, there is something delightful about bloggers sharing their family’s traditions or telling a story of experimenting and come up with a new great dish.
Both of these approaches make their seasonal content more personal and relatable, since food is a big part of human shared experience. Especially with blogs, small businesses can step up their descriptions and posts with emotional copywriting that uses a stronger sense of character, shared experiences and telling stories about their products. Also note the phenomenal quality of the food photographs.
Pinch My Salt provided a lot of inspiration for homemade Valentine’s goodies. As a restaurant, you might post photos of the treats you've made, perhaps photos of you or the staff making them with some words of wisdom for those coming up with their own treats for certain holidays.
Simply Recipes posts a great hearty recipe for a cold winter day. Even though you're trying to get people to dine with you, the strategy of giving away recipes works great. Once people see how complicated (and possibly expensive) your favorite dish is to make, they're likely to drool over the photo and let you make it for them.
3. Appeal To Our Voyeuristic + Nosy Natures
Any watcher of reality tv can tell you that, as a culture, we love looking in on other people’s lives. This includes shows about food and travel, like Anthony Bourdain’s adventure eating show “No Reservations” and home network shows, where renovating a kitchen says a lot about someone’s home life and cooking habits!
Part of sharing your business’ personality with customers is all about letting your blog and online presence allow them to see a bit “behind the scenes” and know what’s going on in your shop without being there.
Food blogs do this really well by tailoring some of their content towards showcasing cookbooks, kitchens, tools, pantries and table settings - everything happening around the food in real life.
The Perfect Pantry features user submissions in an excellent regular series called “Other People’s Pantries”. It’s addictive to read about what other people keep on their food shelves and why! You can absolutely facilitate this same type of conversation with your customers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even on your blog.
Chocolate and Zucchini shares a great D.I.Y. piece on how make your own napkins. If there's some type of fancy napkin-tying you do at your restaurant, or if you have DIY decor in your business that you want to show off, this is a way you can do the same.
The Kitchn showcases spectacular, enviable kitchens. When you're looking for things to share on Facebook, Twitter and in your blog, perhaps you might show photos of your own kitchen or even the kitchens of other restaurants that you love (outside your competitive distance, of course). Perhaps you have some favorite kitchen tools you want to shout out.
4. Content Should be Accessible and Easily Shareable
Food blogs only succeed if people can access the content they are looking for in a variety of ways, much like products, browsing isn’t enough. Shopping, like cooking and sharing recipes are a communal cultural thing, especially online. Check out how the food blogs display categories of information and seem to have active, social-sharing buttons in all the right places:
The Smitten Kitchen has a fantastic recipe index, with several user-friendly classifications and allows quick browsing by season from the sidebar. Since you're a business owner and not a professional blogger, just take this idea into consideration when organizing your own content.
The Perfect Pantry and The Kitchn offer several ways to follow them on social networks, as well as convenient buttons to share recipes instantly. You definitely want to include these links on your own website so customers can subscribe to your on as many channels as possible.
Clearly marked, bright and prominent sharing options and buttons just might help your business pick up more followers, cross-promote sales or special events and provide a multitude of ways for your customers to be giving you valuable feedback and opportunities to interact!