If You Build It, Will They Come? Probably Not

You need more than wishful thinking to drive people to restaurants. Or your content.

We live in a small town near Fort Worth, TX. Every so often, a new restaurant opens. And, within six months to a year, it shuts down. It has little to do with the food or service – though in one case, both food and service were a problem, but that’s for another blog.

The problem is, people never know these restaurants exist. The owner opens, sets up a Facebook page – then hopes for word of mouth to do the rest. WOM is a powerful tool. Unless there is no strategy to get that word of mouth going in the first place. At the very least, something needs to be in place to get potential customers to that Facebook page.

Companies run into the same thing with content. They spend resources developing great blogs, white papers, e-books and other stuff. Then they’re baffled because people don’t flock to their websites to read or download.

According to Contently’s Joe Lazauskas: “They believe that if you just throw content on a blog, people will come to it. You need a strategy to get people to the content.”

In other words, “Field of Dreams” lied when it indicated “if you build it, they will come.” In the real world, when you build it, you need to tell people, whether “it” is a restaurant or content page on your website. A way to do this is through a Flywheel concept, developed by Lazauskas, which is visually depicted.

Let’s see how this would work if The WordSorters had been asked to help a restaurant owner. We might have suggested:

1) Boosting engagement through neighborhood door hangers and email lists.

2) Optimizing engagement by emailing interesting tidbits, introducing two-for-one deals, and encouraging people to go to Facebook for referral rewards.

3) Welcoming audience feedback to improve recipes and services, then, creating new meals and services.

4) Engaging audiences by letting them know about those great new recipes (more door hangers and emails) and encouraging them to try them by offering a discount or other incentive.

See how this works? The Flywheel represents a continual creation-engagement-optimization cycle. When done correctly, it can get new and returning diners into your restaurant – or new and returning readers to your website or Facebook page.

Incorporating the Flywheel requires effort. But it’s a good tool for getting from “If I build it” to “they will come.”

Need help with content creation and/or strategy? Give The WordSorters a call at 214-536-5457, or reach out to us at or for a no-obligation meeting.

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