When I started this blog in 2009, I had one goal in mind: to get in front of more potential customers for my services. I used the blog and continue to use this platform to share information that hopefully helps business owners identify new ways to grow their business. In doing so, I got in front of many industry decision makers and influencers that helped spread my reach. For a 9 month period, I blogged once or twice a day for 9 months. Solidly. Within the first year of running this blog, I had enough content to turn intoa book!

There is no disputing that a blog can create a new audience for your business, open you up to potential news coverage, build trust and loyalty as you blog about real-life incidents or behind the scenes activities at your business, however, and this is a very big “However”, of all of the thousands of bar and restaurant owners that I have interacted with in the past 10 years, I can’t count more than a handful of owners who would have the time, the expertise, the interest or the discipline to be able to maintain a blog.

 

A blog is like any other activity we enter into to grow our business, and I too have been guilty of this, it only works if it is regular and consistent. Many owners get swept up in the hype and urgency being pushed upon them by well meaning (sometimes) consultants who tell them they MUST have a blog! It would be preferable to never have started blogging then to create one blog post, advertise it and link to it from all of your marketing material, only to never blog again. Worse again is when I see owners write what they think is a blog, but is really just a lengthy sales pitch each week. Fail!

All your customers see is something you started and never finished. You didn’t need this kind of perception about you or your business.

Instead of taking the time to learn how to blog, learn how to share it and how to write effectively, consider doing the following instead:

- First concentrate on making sure that your product and service are top notch. There’s no point blogging a bout a terrible business!

- Focus on building a community of customers around your social channels like Facebook & Twitter which will have a much greater reach.

- Share interesting behind-the-scenes photos and news on Facebook & Twitter instead of a blog.

- Invite local bloggers to a blogger-only party in your business to sample your food and drinks. They are the experts at blogging and you’re the expert at cooking! Do this right and you’ll get far more exposure from THEIR blog posts.

- Use a service like VenueSeen.com to monitor the photos that are being taken in your business. You might be surprised what you see!

If you have tried to blog or are currently blogging and you have a different perspective, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Comment by Jon Rock on June 27, 2012 at 7:09am

Great advice -- restaurant owners can dole out a weekly recipe which is certainly less time consuming than writing a lengthy blog from scratch. And blogs and "fresh content" increase SEO value unlike Facebook & Twitter; although it's a good idea to post a snippet of your blog text plus the link on Facebook to drive people to your blog page.

Comment by Richard Pierson Mendell on June 27, 2012 at 6:08am
When I saw the headline, I went "Here's another blanket admonition based on some event gone awry.", but I was pleased to see your advice roughly mirrored what I've told my clients. Old content is worse than bad content.

The truth is most people aren't writers. To create and run a blog, even a buisness blog, that's worthwhile requires writing talent. When restrauranteurs insist on doing blogs, I often suggest they do something they can plan for, such as a weekly recipe from the chef. These can even be done in advance and doled out over time to provide the illusion of engagement.
Comment by Josh Hersh on June 27, 2012 at 5:39am

Great advice!! Yes, a blog takes a TON of work and it's only effective if you're actually consistent and writing about things that educate/inform your readers. 

I don't read too many blogs from restaurants, but Protein Bar here in Chicago does a great job with their content! http://www.theproteinbar.com/blog/

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