For as long as we can remember, the GB team have always relied on the trusted content calendar that have helped structure the shaping of the content being pushed out across the year. We like to plan way ahead and ensure that we’ve captured everything we can that’s relevant to our client to help with their strategies. For most marketers, they’ll probably feel the same and may have already, like us, ticked of the 2018 calendar. If you’ve never used one, or are just looking for ways on how you can improve your current one, we’ve pulled together some information that will help guide you throughout the upcoming year.
Benefits of a content calendar
If you’ve never created a content calendar, there are numerous benefits to doing so - including allowing you to plan any content, blogs or social media, thinking about the content you’re creating - and if it’s gaining the results you want for your desired audience - and of course, pushing relevant products and relevant times to help with sales.
What should be included in a content calendar?
One of the first steps to creating a content calendar is establishing what is relevant to the industry that you’d like to promote. For example, in hospitality, you’d want to focus primarily on food and drink, whereas if you’re in the fashion world, you’d be focused on celebrity birthdays and news. There’s a lot of information that you can include but here are our three most important…
General Dates: Include all holidays - from Easter to Bank Holiday August- as you can plan your content in with what people are celebrating. And if relevant, make a note of half term dates as sales can surprisingly fluctuate massively dependent on whether schools are open, or not!
Relevant Dates: If you’re a hospitality company, you’re main focus should be on food and drink dates that your business can get involved with e..g National Burger Day. You could be cooking up an offer all day - and pushing plenty of content across the website and on social around it.
Themes: Once you’ve got all of your dates together, it’s important to think about themes that you can pull from them - for example, Summer, National BBQ week or festive cocktails.
Do you create a content calendar? If so, let us know what you include over on Twitter #GBLOVES
Christmas time, mistletoe and wine. OR. Scratch that. Cocktails!
Now we know it’s not the famous song sung by our beloved Cliff, but sometimes you just fancy a change! And isn’t Christmas - a period over which most of us drink our weight in merriment - the perfect opportunity to try something new. If you’re having friends around this festive season, then here’s the chance to whip up one of these fabulous concoctions that’ll be sure to impress….
Put a festive spin on a classic cocktail, the Christmas Negroni - infused with wintery spices to warm you up this winter. The best way to serve this up is to infuse the Gin beforehand with a selection of seasonal tastes - a little planning is required but it’s well worth it. Add all of the ingredients below with your Gin into a small pan and bring to the boil until it presents itself into a light syrup and leave it to cool.Once it's cool, leave it for a week before you want to serve it, and pour into a fancy glass with plenty of ice.
What you’ll need…
For infusing the Gin..100 g golden caster sugar, 4 cloves, 2 oranges , zest of, 2 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 500ml of gin
For the cocktail..70 ml infused gin , 50 ml Martini bitter, 50 ml Martini bianco, 2 slices of orange
Enjoy a Jolly Holiday with a Cranberry Mule. Make it right - and you’ll create an Instagram masterpiece! First things first, you’ll need to create the sugary cranberries which will sit at the top of the cocktail - pop them on a baking sheet with a bit of foil and in a bowl, pop in the syrup onto the cranberries - and place onto foil. Refrigerate until they are sticky and pop them into a bowl with sugar and pop back in the fridge for another hour until they set. To create the cocktail, put loadssss of ice into a nice mug (trust us, they’ll look much more cosier than a glass) and add the cranberry juice, ginger beer, rum and syrup into a shaker - and shake and pour over the ice. Delicious.
What you’ll need...
For the cranberries...12 oz . fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup simple syrup,1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the cocktail.. 2 oz . unsweetened cranberry juice, 3 oz . ginger beer, 1 1/2 oz . spiced rum, 1 oz . simple syrup, Ice , for serving
If ‘you’re looking for the perfect Winter Warming cocktail or something to help with that winter cold, then why not enjoy a Hot Toddy? It’s made up of whisky and honey which are mixed together - perfect! All you need to do is add a cinnamon stick to your glass and add 200ml of boiling water. If you fancy, you can add a squeeze of lemon to each for a bit more flavour - and drop your lemon in for the ultimate look. Enjoy...
What you’ll need…
50ml Whisky, 3 tsp whiskey, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 lemon 2 cloves
Let us know what Christmas cocktails you'll be enjoying this Winter over on Twitter! #GBLOVES
One thing the North West is known for is its love of a good old pie! There’s nothing more exciting and delicious than getting your chops around a freshly baked pie; whether that’s a steak and ale from your local chippy or an apple pie from your local bakery. The smells, the texture, the taste...ahhh truly amazing. December 1st marks a wonderful day, National Pie Day, an opportunity for everyone to whip out their oven mitts and get baking! We love exploring food days - to find out why they exist and some interesting facts. Carry on reading to find out more about the beloved pie…
Where do pies originate from?
Believe it or not, pies have impressively been around since the ancient Egyptians and were apparently made by early Romans who showcased their love and knowledge of this food delight throughout Europe.The first batches of pies were not the ones we know today, they were predominantly meat based - and the crust was the main enjoyment of this. As a result of its popularity, the word ‘pie’ was featured in the Oxford English Dictionary in the 14th Century. Impressive, although some foodies believe that fruit based pies wouldn’t have been created until around the 1500s.
Fun Facts about the pie…
One of the biggest crazes to hit the food world last year was the introduction of the Cat Cafe. Yes, believe it or not, today you can enjoy a cup of tea or cake surrounded by the beautiful, furry cat. If you’re animal lovers like the GB team, then spending time around cute little animals has to be one of the best ways to relax. Last month, Liverpool announced that it was to have its very own cat cafe opening in early 2018 in the city centre, following in the paws of neighbouring city, Manchester. We thought we’d take a look at why these Cat Cafes have become so popular and an insight into their everyday life…
How it works...
You and drink, surrounded by cats. It’s a simple as that. The cats live in the cafe and are looked after by a team of extremely attentive staff who are on hand throughout your visit. You'll experience shapes, sizes, colours and temperaments during your visit and you’re sure to make some feline friends in no time at all.
Where are the cats from?
Cats come from a variety of places - with the majority of them coming from rescue centres who the cat cafes work with. Although those cats that may have been mistreated might not be allowed into the cafe as it might not be the right environment for them, given the circumstances. All cats who live there are ones who are affectionate, well socialised and need a lot of attention.
The business model
There’s two ways in which the cat cafe operate; one is pay by hour, where you can eat and drink as much as you like all for a specific cost. The other is to simply pay for the items that you purchase - there’s no time limit, so you can stay as long as you like with your furry companions. The money made is put back into looking after the premises and the cats, and any profit is generally spent on re-homing any cat and bringing them into the cafe.
If you’re visiting, you must abide by the rules which include no waking up cats that are sleeping, no feeding them, no picking thems, up, washing hands before touching the cats, not using flash photography and no access to those under the age of 10.
If you’d love to visit, check out the Manchester Cat Cafe here. Let us know what you think of the cat cafe over on Twitter #GBLOVES
Okay, so we’re not going to lie, we are not fans of these darks mornings - and dark nights. If you’re like us, you probably feel that you don’t see much sun light during the day. However, we do love this time of year when we can cosy away inside by the fire, indulge in sweet treats (hey, that’s what those Christmas jumpers are for) and to enjoy brisk winter walks with the family. If you’re looking for some enjoyable activities to get up to this winter’s, we’ve done our homework for you - and picked our favourite wintery destinations that we’re sure you’ll enjoy…
Winter at the Castle
Shh, but this may just be our personal favourite! If you love winter, then what could be more magical than an overnight stay in the stunning Leasowe Castle? Explore its beautiful decor, the stunning grounds and the magnificent rooms that you can escape in with your other half. Enjoy Winter at The Castle this year for only £105 for two people which includes a gorgeous full English breakfast to warm you up for the day - and a festive Afternoon Tea to keep you in the spirit! It’s available until February - just in case you’ve got a super busy Christmas…
Manchester Christmas Markets
A highlight of the year for many is Manchester’s fabulous Christmas Markets that are filled with with everything great that you can imagine - from Yorkshire puddings, German beer and gorgeous hand-made gifts that you can give to the ones you love this Christmas. If you’ve never been, then pop them on your to do list this year, as they are one of the biggest and most fabulous markets in the North West which spread across an impressive 10 areas of Manchester.
Catch a play
We visited Chester’s Storyhouse back in the summer and thought it was wonderful - there’s plenty for everyone to do, whether that’s reading a book in the library or watching a play. This winter, we’d highly recommend a visit! Why not take the family along to enjoy this year’s winter play Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven? It’s the first time the story has been brought to life, and perfect for getting you in that Christmas mood!
How will you be spending this winter? Let us know ver on Twitter! #GBLOVES
The GB team are constantly on Instagram, whether it’s uploading the latest bit of clients news, tagging ourselves in at the latest hottest bar or restaurant, or catching up with industry news, it’s a given that we spend a couple of hours per day on our favourite social channel. More and more people are choosing to replace good old Facebook with this new way of living - to showcase what they’re doing, who they’re with and an instant update into their normal every day life. For the hospitality industry, Instagram has become one of the biggest channels to use - for both establishments and also customers. It’s vastly replacing other social channels and applications online, with people turning to Instagram to see where to eat and drink rather somewhat ‘boring’ traditional channels. Instagram is one way to directly engage with a new and existing audience with food and drink delights. We’ve pulled together on how you can ensure your Instagram story is a success..
Be active each and every day
If you’re running a bar, your Instagram channel should always be a mixture of fun, professional and quirky insights - whether that means creating a Instagram story or a boomerang of a cocktail. It’s the perfect way to show customers that you’re engaging, passionate about your brand - and want them to come in and experience it for themselves. And remember, your pictures don’t always have to be professionally taken to look good - check out our top tips on making your Instagram pictures look amazing here.
Get people to tag themselves in
A quick, free and easy way to get everyone marketing your company with you is to encourage them to tag themselves in on Instagram for all their followers to see. You could even create a hashtag that you can pop around your venue that they can use on their post which you’ll be able to find by searching on Instagram - and for super delicious images, why not regram them to show your customers you’re delighted they enjoyed their visit?
Be time conscious
Just like any other marketing, timing is key. You don’t just send out Facebook posts, or email campaigns at the blink of an eye and nor should you just post Instagram posts. Consider your post, is it time relevant? If you’re posting a Sunday Lunch at 8am on a Tuesday morning, do you feel that your audience are going to engage with it? Chances are they won’t. According to research, the most popular times for engagement fall between lunchtime - 11-1 pm and in the evenings around 7-9pm.
What are your top tips for your Instagram social media strategy? Let us know over on Twitter #GBLOVES
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat…
Ah well, we must admit, we are super excited for Christmas which is only SIX weeks away, hurrah! We’re so excited to be able to drink, eat and be very (very) merry with our lovely friends and family. For the hospitality industry, bars, restaurants and hoteliers will be fully underway - with Christmas preparation for those Christmas party nights or NYE celebrations ticked off. In the next couple of weeks, the industry will be focusing on everything Christmas in their marketing materials to their decor. To get in the festive spirit, we thought we’d round up our top hospitality Christmas social media tips to ensure all our customers enjoy the magic of Christmas with you…
Create a Christmas offer
Come December, people are looking to enjoy themselves and go out and celebrate Christmas. A great way to engage with customers is to create a Christmas offer which they can enjoy during the festive season - whether that’s a discount on food or drink or a free cocktail with every meal. Pop this on social - perhaps even with a bit of budget behind- and watch the guests flock in!
Hashtagging is a fun way to showcase a bit of personality on your social media channels - and also to show that you’re up to date with what’s trending. Why not create a couple of hashtags to run throughout the Christmas period? Add them to all of your outgoing posts (if possible), marketing materials and around your venue & encourage your customers to get involved too!
Run a spontaneous competition
Everyone loves a freebie - especially around Christmas time when people have spent a lot of money, and perhaps bored of all that dreaded Christmas shopping! Run a Facebook competition with a quick giveaway. You’ll get good engagement, and a few new followers along the way!
How will you be celebrating Christmas on your social media channels? Let us know over on Twitter #GBLOVES
In just over two weeks time, Small Business Saturday will be taking place. If you’re unsure of what this means, it’s a day that’s dedicated to supporting local, independent businesses. And for those of you living up North, you’ll know that cities like Manchester and Liverpool are full of of flourishing independent businesses - from restaurants, cafes to gift shops! Why not embrace that these are on your doorstep and pay them a visit this Small Business Saturday to show your support? Here are our favourite independent jaunts if you’re looking for some inspiration…
Dusk til Pawn, Manchester
If you’re in Manchester in the day or night- a must visit for all is to visit the fabulously independent Dusk til Pawn bar. Like us, you may walk on past it as the front of it is disguised as old pawn shops but tucked away behind you’ll find one of the city's finest bars - styled as a speakeasy bar. It’s fun, quirky with a selection of strong drinks!
NoLita Cantina, Liverpool
Liverpool is food heaven. Today, Bold Street is complete with numerous restaurants offering tastes of the world - from Moroccan, Turkish and Peruvian. If you’re looking to enjoy the most amazing food ever (not an exaggeration) head to NoLita Cantina which is an independent restaurant and bar which serves up homemade American styled food. We love the quirky decor - and of course, the mac and rib sandwich!
If arts and culture is your thing, you MUST head to Kernaghan Books which is cosied away in The Bluecoat courtyard in Liverpool which has been there for over thirty years and is owned by Bryan and his Wife Alwyn who loved new books coming into the shop - and the book lovers coming into the shop.
If you’re an avid follower of our blog (which we hope you are), you’ve probably already encountered some of our blogs on food trends from the past year - and a few that we’ve seen in the last few weeks from black foods to unicorn inspired foods. Well, the team at Whole Foods Market have been carrying out their research for their annual report - and revealed some exciting and wonderfully weird food that we’re all likely to be eating come January. For some of them, we can feel those tastebuds tingling already - but for others we’re just wondering WHY! Check them out here and let us know what you think over on Twitter!
Mushroom Infused Coffee
The GB team love our coffee - and need a lot of it to get through the working day! But, believe it or not, some companies have started creating coffee - infused by mushroom with varieties such as reishi, corduroys and chaga. Although we are not sure where this trend has originated from, mushrooms have long been associated with supporting the immune system. You might even spot the mushroom in your tea...or that hot chocolate.
Eating the stem
Okay, we know we’re all about saving the planet and saving food but one of the new trends we’re set to see is going to be eating the stem of fruits - and vegetables rather than throwing them in the bin. Instead, you can turn these into lovely healthy treats to enjoy which will save you money - and be good for your overall health.
Rise in floraly flavours
Fruity flavours are our favourite - especially when it’s a fruity Gin. The good news is that come 2018, we should expect to see every rose flavoured - from drinks to food with plenty of fresh flowers being used within it to make it look beautiful (and good enough to upload on Instagram) and also to eat! Hurry up January!
What food trend are you looking forward to seeing in 2018? Let us know over on Twitter #GBLOVES