Hey, I’m Rachel Osbourne, a growth strategist at Bricks to Clicks Collective, and head cook and bottle washer at Plant-based Soirées. Today we’re going to talk about how you can stay connected with your customers using content marketing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Content marketing is about building trust and engagement with your audience through entertainment, education, and inspiration.
And in these times, inspiration can be synonymous with advocacy or social responsibility. As a restaurant owner, your prime objective is to let folks know that you’re open, how are you operating under these tough conditions, and to make them feel safe by highlighting your safety precautions and policies.
Once you have that static content easily accessible on your website and social media accounts, you can dive into creating a series of stories to remind customers of why they love your restaurant. Think about what your guests associate your brand with. Is it luxury, fun dining, boundless flavors, ease and a communal atmosphere? Whatever it is, lean into it and weave those sentiments into your stories.
So where do you start? Jumpstart your content marketing with some research. Use search engines and keyword planning tools to find the questions folks are asking about food, cooking, food safety and non-food related topics affecting your direct neighborhood.
Your customer service is also a great place to find ideas for educational content. Consider turning a chat app on your online store or compiling the questions that you get from your social media. Next, you’ll jot down ideas to creatively answer those questions. Are you producing something educational, fun, or inspirational?
Brainstorm ideas for the categories that will resonate with your audience. Start with a goal, decide what content can help you reach that goal, and strategize how and where you’ll use it. Once you have your topics, look at each one and take a step back and see how they can be broken down into different parts.
This will allow you to create a series and go deeper into a single topic. Then ask, how can I monetize this? For example, your educational content can be packaged into a series that you can sell as a course. During your brainstorm session, consider where you get the most engagement.
Use the analytics from your website and social media to prioritize where you’ll create content for it. Let’s explore some scenarios. You realize that most of your buying audience is engaged on Instagram. Maybe you’ll want to start IGTV cooking shows to keep them engaged.
Think quick and easy. All you need is your cell phone and an idea. If you’re strapped for time, you might want to use I.G. Live instead and give them some behind the scenes exclusives. Tell the story of how your restaurant is surviving or helping others, too. Use rich media to highlight new offers, safety cautions, and staff and goodwill stories.
Are you seeing increased traffic to your website as folks are searching for new pickup and delivery options? Great! Consider taking advantage of this uptick and published content like recipe blogs, cooking skill videos, lifestyle content, date night ideas, and playlist or nutritional content like how to boost your immune system during COVID-19.
You can also create live or pre-recorded video like virtual cooking classes that you can offer for free on your website, requiring an email sign up to build your list, or sell them on your online store. Live video can be easier if you’re starved for time because it is a bit more forgiving when it comes to production, especially now. Pre-recorded video is an investment into future engagements and traffic and can help you reach brand and sales goals.
Here’s a quick tip; if you have an engaged email list pitch your story ideas to them in a poll, so you can segment based on interest. And remember, not everyone will be eating from restaurants at this time. So think about how you can stay relevant to those cooking at home and create stories that can stand the test of time.
Now that you know what you want to create, let’s talk production. For safety’s sake, you’ll want to keep it lean and follow social distancing rules. Consider paying your existing staff to star or instruct in your videos. Have them create from home to increase your content capacity.
If you do, set some guidelines around backgrounds, lighting, and audio. If you’re creating from home. convert a section of your dining room or your kitchen into a makeshift studio. Keep it set up if possible to cut down on your production time for each video. Now you’re ready to find the stories that already exists within your business and convert your community to new offerings. Check out the resources section for more helpful tips.