Food bloggers are a somewhat divisive topic: most consumers love them and follow lots of food bloggers on social media. Almost everyone I know has watched at least one Tasty video (you know, those sped up, hands only recipe videos on Facebook and Instagram) in the last week. Food bloggers are here and they’re here to stay—but the restaurant industry as a whole can still be a little, well, reticent to accept them.
Why? Food bloggers, as some have suggested, are the new food critics
. And unlike food critics, they are pretty much amateurs; they just happen to love food. This makes restaurant owners, operators, and managers suspicious: how can someone who has never worked in the restaurant industry judge food effectively? If they’ve never been a chef, or studied menu planning, or anything else, why should they get a say in whether my restaurant is good or not?
The truth is, however, that food bloggers are closer to the average consumer than a traditional restaurant critic
—and that’s exactly why you should want food bloggers to write about your restaurant. Food bloggers will provide better insight into what makes your restaurant great to the average guest; as well, they will provide better reach on social media by tagging you, mentioning you, or just talking about you. That’s a win-win.
So, how do you get food bloggers into your restaurant and writing about your food?
Firstly, you should track down food bloggers in your local area; this is pretty easy to do, because many bloggers tag their locations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as their blogs. Simply do a google search with your city and you’re bound to find a few!
Now, once you find a food blogger, don’t just send an email. Spend a little bit of time following them on Instagram, Twitter, and their blog; read their posts. Do you like their voice? Do they seem to be someone who would like your restaurant? Do they strike you as someone who could become a loyal guest?
If so, and you like their vibe and the content they post, send them an email. But don’t just send them a press release; this is impersonal and feels very cold.
Here’s a rundown of what to include in your email:
- A personal greeting. Use their name and the name of their blog. Mention a blog post or social media post that you really liked.
- Introduce yourself. Tell them about your restaurant (although, keep it short!)
- Ask them to visit your restaurant. Explain why you picked them.
It’s just that simple, right?
The important thing is that some bloggers may respond with rates or a request for a comped meal. It’s up to you whether you want to pay for a sponsored post (something they are required by law to disclose) or to comp a meal (again, something they are required by law to disclose). Some may be willing visit your restaurant and review for free; it just entirely depends on the blogger. The most important thing is that they respond with a “no” or asking for payment, you should respect that; blogging for many is a job, not just a hobby, and they deserve payment for what they do (which is market your restaurant, essentially).
For some don’ts on how to approach bloggers, we like this article