For restaurants, bloggers are a boon. They have a wide and engaged audience and enjoy a close rapport with their readers. When a blogger says something, their audience listens.
Consequently, getting your restaurant featured on a food blogger’s website is a valuable achievement. If you’re considering a blogger collaboration, read on to learn how to get the most from it.
Choose your bloggers carefully
When you’re just starting out with bloggers, it can be tempting to invite all and sundry to your restaurant. But this broad approach doesn’t deliver the best results — you need to be surgical and targeted. Otherwise, you’ll waste your marketing budget.
When you’re choosing bloggers to invite to your restaurant, consider:
- Relevance: is your chosen blogger relevant to your restaurant’s cuisine and image? For instance, if you run a hipster eatery, then a haute cuisine blogger probably isn’t worth your time. If their niche and style suit your restaurant’s, it’s a good start.
- Target audience: in the same vein, your selected blogger’s audience should overlap with your target diner. Trawl their content and spot whether their content is targeted to your typical customer. Look for language, references, and tone.
- Reach and engagement: your blogger collaboration will cost you money or, at the very least, a free meal. Consequently, you should focus your efforts on bloggers with significant reach and engagement. Bloggers can provide this, but perform your own checks with a good research tool such as Google Analytics.
- Location: finally, check that your blogger’s audience actually lives in your restaurant’s area. This seems obvious but it’s often forgotten — strive for locality wherever possible.
Create a shortlist of bloggers who meet these criteria. This ensures that you only allocate your budget to bloggers that are likely to offer a strong ROI.
Build a relationship with your bloggers for sustained success
Once you created a shortlist of selected bloggers, reach out to them and invite them to collaborate.
Most bloggers have a dedicated “Work With Me” (or something similar) page on their site, which also includes their blogger guidelines and stipulations. If you can’t find a Work With Me page, reach out to them on Twitter.
Bloggers often have dozens of requests per day, sometimes even more. Consequently, you need to convey what you want concisely whilst remaining friendly. As a rule, include your restaurant name and niche, as well as a sample menu. If your blogger is interested, you can provide more information further down the line.
Create a relationship. This means genuinely valuing their time and making the effort to engage with them on a personal level, rather than as simply a promotional opportunity.
A strong relationship provides opportunities for your restaurant again and again. Get things off on the right foot by being warm, personable, and above all, sincere.
Be specific about what you want and what you can offer
Make it clear from the off what you want from your blogger collaboration.
You might want a written review, a video testimonial, or even live social coverage of a menu launch night. You could even host a special night purely for influencers and invite a number of bloggers at the same time.
Be clear from the start of your relationship what you want and what you are prepared to offer in return. For example, are you prepared to offer cash payment, or does your budget only stretch to a free meal?
Make sure you let your blogger know you are prepared to negotiate. Work together to find a collaboration that is mutually beneficial for each of you.
Of course, this might depend on the kind of content your chosen blogger produces. For instance, if they focus on video blogs, they might not accept your request for a long-form review.
Finally, whatever you offer, make it exclusive.
Enhance the experience by offering behind-the-scenes looks at the kitchen and meetings with the head chef. You can’t force a good review, but you can boost your chances by making your chosen blogger feel like a VIP.
Don’t neglect your relationship after the event
So you’ve successfully collaborated with a blogger and they’ve given you a stellar review. What next?
This period post-collaboration is just as important as the partnership itself. A blogger review is a valuable form of social proof that can be used in a variety of different ways. You’ve earned this content, so it’s important to wring it for as much value as possible.
Naturally, you should share the review across your social channels. It’s also worth including it in your email newsletter too, with a little introduction to your partnered blogger(s).
But you could also host it on your own site (with suitable authorship and backlinks to avoid duplicate content issues. Alternatively, you could write a complementary piece, breaking down what you served to your chosen blogger, with recipes and pairing notes too.
PPC campaigns are also a good place to cascade your review. Including quotes, star ratings, or the blogger’s name adds resonance to your ad. Select the best quotes and include them in your ad description, partnered with a photo of the relevant blogger.
A blogger partnership is a mutually beneficial collaboration that delivers great results for restaurants. It boosts your reputation, drives awareness, and ultimately increases your customer base. Follow the tips above and enjoy a rewarding blogger relationship today.