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One of my favorite things about helping small food businesses grow is having the chance to write fun and engaging content for blogs. Blogging is one of the best ways to connect with your consumers and supporters online. I remember the days when (gasp) businesses actually wrote paper newsletters, put a bona-fide stamp on each one, and sent them out to mailboxes all over the country. Now, this task is less expensive and so much faster to accomplish with putting your news, views, and photos into Blogger or WordPress and blasting them out into cyberspace.
But why go to all the trouble to actually put out a blog, especially when every other restaurant and retail shop seems to be doing the same? How do you know what you write will be seen by anyone, now that those little American Flag stamps are becoming relics of the past? Great question, and here are some ways to make sure your blog is actually seen by those who care about what you create.
1. Are you connected on social media?
Putting your blog post out on Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest, is one of the best ways to gain exposure for your posts. Your fans and followers are already hungry for information about who you are and what your restaurant or kitchen is up to that week. On Facebook, be sure to write a brief teaser on why your fans should check out your latest blog post.
It is also important to invite commentary. Ask questions, invite a discussion. Make it fun! The more comments and ‘Likes’ your post gets, the more people will see the post, and this increases the likelihood that your post will be shared. As you can see in the post above, I’ve tagged other Facebook fan pages that I give mention to. Before posting to Facebook, make sure you ‘like’ the businesses/pages you are referencing so you can tag them. Do this by using the @ symbol before typing in the page name, and Facebook’s search engine will pull in a hyperlink to the page. Now your post will be seen on their fan pages too. (even more exposure, sweet!)
Let everybody know, via Twitter. This is simple to do, and be sure to keep your teaser to just a few words. Also make sure to mention those who you mention in the blog post, with their Twitter handle.
If your business has a Pinterest page, then ‘Pin’ your blog post to a new board, or to an existing board. There are many fabulous little tricks to getting your blog repinned, and Social Media Examiner has a great article on this topic.
2. Send out an email news blast
Do you use a mass emailing service such as Constant Contact or Aweber? If you already use this service to send out newsletters, coupons, or tell your customers about special events, then why not let them know about your new blog posts too? Both of the email services I mentioned have special templates specifically for sending out blog updates. You can include the blog link in your weekly newsletter.
3. Make connections with other bloggers
Is your restaurant featuring a winemakers dinner? Do you use local fruit in your handmade baked goods? The winemaker and/or farm you are working with may have blogs for their businesses where your post can be mentioned or featured. Cross-promotion is a great way for both businesses to benefit; they can feature you as a guest blogger with a link to your business’s blog and website.
Who are the go-to food bloggers in your city? They are always looking for great content to feature, and if you are promoting an event, sale or special menu, let them know about it via Twitter and invite them for a special discount. Be sure to link to your blog post each time.
How are you currently promoting your blog online? How have you been successful with getting exposure for your blog?