If you’re operating without a marketing content calendar, you’re missing a key opportunity to strategically drive your business goals with your content. And if the term “marketing content calendar” sounds overwhelming to you, don’t worry. It’s not as bad as it sounds, and is a really key piece of any restaurant marketing plan.
We’re breaking down how to create and implement a marketing content calendar in 5 easy steps below.
What is a restaurant marketing content calendar?
Before we dive in, let’s define it. A restaurant marketing content calendar is a plan for all the content you’re going to share. This includes channels like social media, email marketing, paid digital ads, and SMS. It can be as detailed or broad as you’d like. But generally, a content calendar will include the visual elements, written copy, and dates for all your various marketing campaigns.
Laying out all your planned content in a calendar can help you make sure your efforts on different channels are aligned. It also gives you the chance to ensure every campaign is working toward your primary business goals, whatever you define those to be. Essentially, a content calendar keeps you on track with your hospitality marketing.
Step 1: Decide On Your Business Goals
All the best restaurant marketing strategies are guided by overarching business goals. Any time you spend time, effort, or money on marketing your restaurant, it should be with your primary goals in mind. Examples of goals you may consider for your brand: Increasing reservations, increasing total revenue, growing your social media following, adding people to your mailing list, or raising the amount spent per ticket.
You don’t have to choose just one goal, but should keep your focus narrowed in on a small handful of goals. For instance, your restaurant’s marketing goals for the new year may be to increase lunch reservations by 50% and add 100 new Instagram followers each week.
Step 2: Choose Your Channels
With your business goals in mind, it’s time to choose where to market your restaurant. There are tons of placements to choose from, both digital and traditional. Just a few of the most commonly-used options to consider: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, email, SMS, Facebook Ads, Yelp Ads, Google Ads, paid media, and local radio ads.
With this step in particular, it may be helpful to defer to an expert to help you make sure you’re dedicating yourself to channels that will be effective for your brand. A restaurant marketing agency can use their industry expertise to guide you on which channels and platforms to work with.
Step 3: Set A Budget
Now it’s time to set a restaurant marketing budget. First you’ll want to determine the overall spend, and then narrow in and decide how much to dedicate to each platform or placement.
When it comes to a marketing budget, try to be as specific and granular as possible. This will help make sure you’re making realistic forecasts and not forgetting any aspects of payment. For instance, make sure to include the labor costs for whoever is creating your content, whether that is an in-house employee or a marketing agency.
Step 4: Make A Content Creation Plan
You now know where you’re sharing content, why you’re sharing content, and how much money you have to work with. It’s time to actually focus on the content itself!
Content includes both written copy and visual elements. Start by brainstorming what types of content you want to create: Which dishes to highlight, what your “angle” or focus will be, and what sets you apart from other restaurants in the area. Then come up with a plan for how you’re going to create your content. Are you going to hire a professional photographer or videographer? Who is going to write the captions? Who is going to edit and design the final content?
When coming up with restaurant marketing ideas, it’s always a good idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing and see what’s working for them. This is a good starting point to see the trends in your industry. Use this information, in combination with your business goals, to determine what content you’ll be sharing.
Step 5: Insert Content Into Calendar
Last but not least, it’s time to actually build your marketing content calendar! Now that you have your various campaigns created to an extent, start slotting them into your calendar. Make sure campaigns on different channels are complementary, and won’t cannibalize each other. Spread out your marketing content across time so you’re never going too long without sharing anything. Putting your content into an actual calendar will make it easy to see where there are gaps and what final touches you need to make to your marketing!
That’s it! 5 easy steps and you will be well on your way to a strategic marketing plan for your restaurant. Marketing for small businesses can feel challenging, but breaking it down like this can make it much easier to implement.
If you’re still left wondering how to make a marketing plan that will work for your business, be sure to download our free Restaurant Marketing Recipe Book. It includes a ton of information specifically for restaurants about how to improve your marketing and set yourself up for success.