You know you need a content marketing plan for your restaurant. You understand that continual digital engagement will help attract new customers as well as nurture existing customers. But when it comes time to get started, things get a bit fuzzy.
How is a content plan more than just a series of social media posts, videos, or photos – but instead a cohesive plan that will drive results?
How to Develop a Content Marketing Plan to Drive Business For Your Restaurant
Write it down
A plan is a document, not an abstract idea. There is no magic to the exact format of the content marketing plan and there are undoubtedly many options. A good plan should include content goals, audience analysis, content themes, topics and content promotion.
Define your content goals
The biggest mistake we see is content for the sake of content. We can’t explain it in any way other than someone says, “a video would be cool.” Then a video gets produced and accomplishes little.
Content goals are usually based around generating leads, website traffic or engagement of some sort, both online and offline.
Know your audience and focus
Your restaurant cannot be everything to everyone all the time. And neither can your content. Know your audiences and focus content specifically to them. For example, if you know your best customer is the “evening takeout busy parent,” give them content and offers that are relevant to their depart and ordering preferences. Many restaurants can use loyalty program POS data to better understand their audiences. If your restaurant does not have data that would allow for customer segmentation, consider developing rough personas for your audiences.
Begin with the content theme, not the tactic
We tend to jump straight to tactics. It’s in our nature. But instead, begin with messaging topics you believe would be relevant to the audience. Then decide on which tactic (e.g., video, online article, email) is best for delivery. This will ensure you are addressing topics that are important to your audience and frankly, not just producing a video (or other content) you and your team think would be interesting.
Focus your content around filling customer needs
Just because you could create it, doesn’t mean you should. Is the content useful to your audience? What role does the content play in their lives? Does your content help them plan for their busy evenings? Or maybe it helps them save money. Or perhaps you content fills their need to be entertained.
If your content doesn’t serve a purpose to your customer, it’s probably not serving a purpose to your restaurant.
Establish a budget for content promotion
We too often see content sitting on a website or YouTube with little audience interaction. The content might be good. But no one is seeing it. Let me be as clear as I can be: if you’re not going to spend money promoting content, don’t waste time and money creating it.
A good promotional plan extends well beyond boosting posts on social media. How much promotion budget is right? That depends largely on your goals and marketing geography. If you’re a small chain that hasn’t allocated a promotional budget in the past, several hundred dollars per month, per location could be a good place to begin. That won’t get you to the promised land of content ROI, but it may serve as a foundation from which you can grow.
Developing your restaurant’s content marketing plan can be a daunting task. By putting your plan to paper around thoughtful goals, the content you develop will be more relevant to your customers. That leads to higher customer engagement, which means your restaurant is more likely to be top of their minds.