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How to Romance Your Readers Like a 5 Star Restaurant

A guest post by Kelly Estes – coauthor of Online Business Elements. Image by Storm Crypt.

romance.pngIf you’re trying to impress a date, nothing does it like a romantic multi-course meal. In the blogosphere, you’re not trying to romance anyone, but you are out to impress — and snare — prospective readers.

Intrigue, Don’t Bore

So impress; don’t bore them. Think of it like serving up a multi-course meal. Don’t freak out~just like you don’t eat that type of meal all at once, you serve up the most fabulous food by planning out a menu, making your grocery list and scheduling the cooking. You work behind the scenes like a fiend, perhaps sweating a bit in the kitchen. And then you present a scrumptious, mouth-watering meal to guests, making it look easy.

Serve Up A Memorable Experience

The reason customers return to a four-star restaurant is not just the quality of the food. It is the attention to detail. It is the personal greeting when you arrive. It is the escort to your table with a beautiful view. The pulling out of a chair so that you can easily sit….you feel the personal attention taking your experience up a notch. With a flourish, the maitre’d places a napkin on your lap. The waiter arrives and gives a polite introduction, inquiring what you would like to drink, acting as if you and your date are the most important customers in the restaurant. Meanwhile, the background music plays on, unobtrusive and elegant.

These actions add up to a beautiful experience. When someone visits your blog, you want them to have and remember a great experience.

Maybe you’re not going for an elegant impression. Perhaps you’re aiming to titillate and showcase your wide writing range and expertise, or to combine hilarity and blog tips. These are bloggers who leave a lasting, good impression on their readers, and have sticky blogs.

How do successful bloggers do it?

1. Whet the appetite with a perfect appetizer.

Set the stage with a creative and professional banner that showcases your brand. It’s the first thing a potential reader sees, and if it looks like an amateur did it, your readers might just click away.

If you go into a restaurant, and the ambiance is that of fine dining, complete with mood lighting, your expectations are set high. When the waiter starts describing the delicious, fresh buffalo mozzarella on heirloom tomatoes with basil chiffonade, drizzled with Italian balsamic vinegar, it ‘fits’ with the branding you’ve experienced to that point. You’re looking forward to eating what the chef whips up.

Just as some restaurants use candlelight with tablecloths and china (not Chinet), creating the right ambiance for a nice dinner, so too should you think about the first impression you give a reader with your banner. Does it reflect your brand well, and is it professional looking?

2. Stand out with a Salad

Hold the not quite ripe tomatoes, and stay your hand on the tasteless bagged carrots. Get out the awesome stuff that is really good.

The headline to your post should not be boring (duh). It should be creative and offer help or information your readers need. Here’s one headline that caught my eye on Yahoo….”Checking Out of the Grocery Store Faster, and With More of Your Paycheck In Hand.

Now that’s definitely a hot headline. Do I want to check out of the grocery store faster? Yes. Do I want to leave the grocery store for less money out of my pocket? Heck yeah! So I click to find out how to accomplish that goal. Voila. The headline did its job.

Remember, the headline that people see on Twitter, Facebook, or Google can determine whether they click on that link to read it. So entice them. Get click savvy. You can get your potential readers to ‘order’ your blog post.

3. Serve a memorable soup, not thin gruel.

What I mean is, make sure your opening paragraph isn’t dry as sawdust. Keep your reader’s interest by being unique, and engaging them with a targeted question. If you’re writing about dieting or nutrition, you could open with ‘Why do some nutritionists advise eating five small meals a day to lose weight? Does this work for you?”

Sometimes, adding just a few choice ingredients makes all the difference between so-so tomato bisque, and the most awesome, creamy, and delightfully different tomato bisque ever. There’s the tomato condensed canned soup made with milk, and then there’s the French chef’s secret recipe to knocking your socks off tomato bisque. If I’m going to order tomato bisque at a restaurant, I don’t want the ordinary. I want the extraordinary.

When people arrive at your blog and read your first paragraph, they’re going to decide whether to keep reading or not. Make sure they keep reading because you’re serving up the knock your socks off tomato bisque topped with crème fraiche.

4. Provide Entrees that Satisfy.

Would you rather have a perfectly grilled steak, baked potato and salad, or a microwave meal? They both fill you up, but one satisfies the senses more than the other.

It’s the creative analogies and cool stories to inform and entertain that people remember, and come back for more. There are so many ways to make boneless, skinless chicken breast into a meal, but there are a ton of ways to prepare and serve it.

Enlighten readers with your unique perspective on your topic of choice, impress them with how much your blog helps them (it’s your content strategy) and you’ll gain their gratitude and readership.

5. Dessert: Sweet Success

As your traffic grows (through your sweat equity online), and you’re getting to know more bloggers through networking, you’ll start to feel like you’re making progress.

Tasting the sweetness of success as a blogger only comes after a lot of hard work and long hours. In the beginning, you might feel like you’re only getting a lick out of the cookie dough bowl.

The first steps on the road to success are paved with small victories. Gaining loyal readers. Racking up Twitter followers and Facebook fans. Guest posting on a bigger blog in your niche. Before you know it, you’re further and further along toward achieving success.

You’ve planned your ‘menu,’ served up successful ‘meals’ (blog posts), and are continuing to network with readers and bloggers alike.

Cyberspace is interesting, though. Even meeting someone online doesn’t quite measure up to the real thing.  Face to face networking still rules.

Why bother networking offline, like at a convention such as the upcoming BlogWorld Expo? Consider what your goals are as a blogger.

Are you going to be able to achieve a huge level of success without meeting and talking with other bloggers in the ‘real’ world? Will you be able to enjoy a decadent helping of success, like a Hawaiian chocolate Kona soufflé, or will you keep sampling the cookie dough as you celebrate little victories?

As you consider your game plan and your goals, map out how you will taste the sweetness of success. Of course, getting there will be its own reward.

Kelly Estes is a food blogger and former print journalist who blogs at Hot Cookin‘ ~ She is also a co-author of Online Business Elements.

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Comments

  1. hi
    This is great way to romance.Specially sharing memorable days and success stories is best part of this post I like

    Thanks For Sharing Romance Points
    -Abhishek

  2. Marlee says:

    Kelly!
    I love the dining analogy. Right here you’ve given a perfect example of how to provide a entree that satisfies. Your message is creative and makes your points easy to remember.

    So to add to the analogy…when you follow the tips you’ve provided here, you can become a favorite restaurant where your readers will regularly dine!

  3. Kwame says:

    Interesting analogy there Kelly. I like articles like this. I wrote about Understanding social media using honeybees as a standard model about 3 months ago on my blog and people liked it. It makes the point easier to understand.

    Thanks for writing this Kelly. I learnt a few lessons from it.

    Kwame.

  4. Kelly,

    Awesome Post. You’ve made some awesome points.
    “Stand out with a salad” great point. I think having eye cache headline is very important.

    Fantastic analogy. You’ve done awesome work here.

    Thanks for sharing this great post.

  5. What a fun analogy. The idea of your whole blog design and banner being very much like the interior of a nice restaurant really resonated with me. I’m going to take a fresh look at my blog design and see what I can improve there.

  6. cheska says:

    Hi, I liked the way you compared writing a blog with eating in a restaurant. It’s really enticing and fun. I love reading blogs and if all blogs can this be fun voila! I’ll sure be reading all day, everyday :)

  7. Mark Mason says:

    I really like this metaphor. The problem is, so many people out there are looking for fast food. They will often drive right by the healthy eating option and opt for the fries instead.

    Mark
    masonworld.com

  8. Wow, captivating blog post!

    I like your restaurant metaphor. It makes sense. Just like you first order an appetizer, then the meal and then possibly dessert, you have to also treat your blog readers with a good headline, introduction, meaty body and then the last few closing paragraphs designed to leave a good aftertaste.

    Wonderful article!

    Christina

  9. Sathishkumar says:

    Hi Kelly,

    Its really good to see you way of comparing blogging with eating a Salad. Kinda funny Actually.

    Thanks for writing this wonderful article.

    Sathish

  10. Ritournelle says:

    What an interesting metaphor! I wouldn’t have thought of comparing blogging with cooking like a chef, but the way you present it works wonders.

    I think I’m doing OK with the appetizer and main course, but I’ll admit I feel a bit awkward when it comes to the dessert (meaning the end of posts). I’m not sure on how to conclude things well. I know it’s good to ask questions to readers to encourage them to comment but I usually do this at the end of my 1st paragraph.
    What would you recommend?

  11. Joshua Noerr says:

    I’ve always thought about series posts as a multi course meal. Great analogy, thanks

  12. Ha, the title sounded silly to me at first, but once I got into the article, I realized more and more what a great metaphor it is. Tasty article, thanks…

  13. Jered says:

    Kelly,

    I particularly like the fact that you advocate “serving up a memorable experience” and that you practice what you preach with the extended dinner metaphor.

    Now I’m hungry to create some content. lol

    Great job.

  14. wksa says:

    That was sweet, creative and interesting. I’m amazed how bloggers can mix real life examples with informative material lol. Desserts are the best!

    Great article, thank you ;)

  15. Interesting comparison. The only issue I have would be trying to do too much too fast. Of course you want to impress your date, but you don’t want to come off as “trying to hard”.

  16. ria says:

    Thanks for the post. I like the way you broke everything down into simple pieces.

    I had one problem, though. I wasn’t hungry reading this and all the talk of food put me right off. I had to skip all the foody bits towards the end.

  17. Carolee says:

    Love your analogy!

    And you’re right- offline marketing techniques are not dead.

    Funny, I just wrote a post the other day called “7 ways to promote your blog or website offline”

    http://workingathomeadvice.com/7-ways-to-promote-your-blog-offline/

  18. Lye Kuek Hin says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I really like how you present this post just like the dining analogy that you explain to us. You have showed us the way to become a successful blogger by laying this fantastic menu for us.

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  19. Great job Kelly. This is a terrific example of guest blogging. A food blogger uses that expertise to reach the business needs of Problogger’s audience.

    ps. Your descriptions made me want to find a bowl to lick. Yummy.

  20. Sameena says:

    Hi,

    great article…beautifully written…i really liked it..cos i also have a food blog..so the way she has compared blogging to salads and dining is amazing…keep up the good work dear…

  21. Ngozi Nwoke says:

    Hi,

    great post. I loved the way you compared it to what is obtainable in a restaurant. Very easy to visualize and remember. And I picked a few lessons too.

    Thanks Kelly

  22. Great way to get yourself out there, and yes you need to stand out and be an pink elephant in the room and show people your the next big thing.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  23. Barbara says:

    Great analogy! Having just gone through a re-design with professional help and further developing my brand, I truly appreciated this post.
    It always helps to go the extra mile!
    Thanks for the post!

  24. Dorothy Ray says:

    This is a nice analogy. It will help this cook remember the parts of a blog while she’s crafting it.

  25. Interesting take on a part of blogging (or writing in general) that’s overlooked far too often. I see lots of people blogging with no idea of the strategy behind it all. As with other topics, structure it like you would an event (or dinner, in this case) and you’ll end up winning people over and getting their attention.

  26. I cannot agree more with you, contents should be as creative as they are interesting and should alway strive to capture the interest of every reader. I particularly like the analogy here

  27. Kelly Estes says:

    @Marlee,
    Thanks! And love your continuation of the analogy–good one! :)

    @Ngozi,
    I appreciate the kind words!

    @Mary,
    Glad you liked my post! I admire you for undertaking the blog every day for 30 days challenge.

    @ria,
    Sorry the food analogy didn’t work out for you; maybe if you’d been hungry it would have been better? :)

    @Lye,
    Thanks for the compliment! I enjoyed perusing your blog.

    @Carolee,
    Great post on ways to promote your business offline!

    @Joe,
    Good point!

    @wksa,
    Yes, I must agree with you. Desserts are the best!

    @Kurt & @Barbara,
    Nice to hear! Thanks for taking the time to read my article. :)

    @Ritournelle,
    How to end posts is not cut and dry. Sometimes it works well to end with a question, prompting people to want to respond with a comment, while other times the subject matter of the post lends itself better to ending with no question.

    @ChristinaCrowe, @Dev, @Cheska, @Sathishkimar, @Kwame, @Dorothy
    Thank you! :)

    @Mark,
    True…some people go for the fast food. I suppose that’s why there are so many different kinds of blogs that cater to different types of readers!

    @Susanne,
    I’m so glad my post nudged you to think about a redesign of your blog. Seems like you’re doing pretty well with your blog!

    @Jered,
    Thanks. And I’m chuckling over your joke. Good one!

  28. Kelly,
    I love a great meal, too! Wouldn’t be surprised if I begin to find myself laying out a food menu just before writing my blog.
    Fun post. Thank you for the unique insight.

  29. Great analogy. Wonder what the tip is, if we take it even further? I suppose devoted readers who comment regularly and create a great place for commentary and ideas?