I recently met with some clients of mine — two enthusiastic and bright young entrepreneurs who will use their website as a hub of communications and eventually sales for their new business. As we talked about site architecture, usability concerns and marketing objectives, one of the gals said casually, “Oh and we want a blog, too.”
I cautiously followed up, “What will you blog about? Who will do the writing? How often will you keep it updated?” She said, “we were thinking we’d blog every day, you know, just a few paragraphs.” About what, she could not completely articulate.
I think the idea of adding a blog to a website is very sexy for a lot of small business owners: it allows you to communicate with your customers, it helps drive traffic to your website, it can centralize your social networking efforts and helps your site come up on search. However, if you’ve never blogged before, a word of caution: it’s extremely difficult to maintain a writing schedule of “a few paragraphs per day,” and blogging is really about far more than just adding paragraphs to your website anyway: it is social media, and requires the commitment of regular social interaction and monitoring.
Should you blog? Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do MY customers read blogs? According to the latest report from eMarketer over half of internet users read blogs despite a generalized belief on the part of some that blogging is being overshadowed by social networks. What about your customers and target customers?
2. What value will my blog add to my marketing, to my customers’ experience and/or to my relationship with my customers? In other words, if my customers read blogs, will they read my blog because they are getting value there? You need a content strategy!
3. Do I like to write? Or do I like to write enough to make a commitment to write on a regular basis?
4. Do I have the time to blog or better yet, can I set aside a specific time to devote to my blog. This includes writing, responding to questions and/or comments and building community by reading and engaging with other blogs. It is labor intensive and it doesn’t fit into everyone’s schedule. If you can be realistic about the time commitment before you launch a blog, it can save having it turn into an unpleasant burden rather than something that you enjoy. We have found based upon our own personal experiences and those of our clients that if you enjoy blogging it has a positive impact on the content that you produce; but if it is not enjoyable, well that shows through also and soon after the blog is abandoned.
5. How will a blog fit into my marketing mix and business goals? A blog is one available tool in the social media tool box and can be the hub of your marketing mix or it can be a spoke. As we have said, it all begins with your overall business goals which will be supported by the successful execution of your marketing mix.
We will be writing more about various ways to use a blog for the restaurant business. Contact us if you would like to discuss making the most of social media for YOUR restaurant business!
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