When Burgers Sell Cars

Where do you find “sticky” stuff for social media?

It was outlandish! I was incensed!  How can you put a list out of the top 22 burger joints in Michigan – and not have a single Traverse City location on that list? Haven’t you heard that Traverse City is a “Foodie Town?”  Visitors come from all over the country, and internationally, to visit this little corner of Northwest Michigan to eat at our restaurants.

This is more than a mouthful of steak burger from Bridgewater Bank Tavern in Bridgewater, Michigan.

My wife, Maggie, and I were not going to let that stand.  We had a plan.  We would go to all 22 locations and compare those burgers to some of the best we’ve experienced in Traverse City.  Plus we would reach out to others to see if they had recommendations.  This was the creation of our Burger Blog.

OK, but what does this have to do with selling cars?

Well, I needed an audience for what I wrote.  I was keenly aware of the 80 – 20 rule of social media.  Create 80-percent of the material that has nothing to do about your business, and that gives you permission to use 20-percent of the material to talk about your business.  This was fresh content that had nothing to do with selling cars. And who doesn’t like to hear about hidden, great burger joints – especially if they include bacon?

So Maggie and I took to the road.  We crisscrossed Michigan and travelled roads that took us to Detroit, Grand Rapids, Grayling, Sault Ste Marie, Menominee and all places in between — except Traverse City.  

It took us over a year, checking out locations that were close to our normal travels.  Along the way we fought off sea gulls that would swoop down on our drive-in tray at West Pier in Sault Ste. Marie.  We dined in a house that at one time was raided by the Feds for running a speakeasy during prohibition and marveled at the ceiling that was just an inch away from the top of my head.  

I only stand about 6-feet, but the ceiling at this former speakeasy was only about an inch away.

We went to the Eastern Market area of Detroit on Primary Election Day where they mixed politics and burgers while a radio station did live interviews with candidates.  We tasted some incredible burgers and some that we couldn’t figure out why they were on the list. Most of the restaurants not only had a story about the food, but also had a unique story about the restaurant or the community.

We added Frita Batido in Ann Arbor to our list due to suggestions from readers. It deserved to be on the list of 22 best burgers.

Truth be told, we never quite finished the project.  We missed one burger that was down by the Indiana border.  We could never fit it into our schedule.

What we did end up with, was more than a year of great, fresh content.  These were stories we shared on social media.  They always had strong click rates.  We also served them up on our monthly e-newsletters.  They were always some of the most read stories that went out to 30,000+ customers.  We would serve burger messages right along side the monthly offers on new GMCs, Jeeps and Fords.  

Cutters in Detroit had a wicked burger stuffed with cheese and jalapeño.

Many businesses look for social media and digital content that is “sticky.”  Content that gives your audience a reason to linger. For me it was travelling Michigan to check out burgers.  What is it for you?  Do you have a passion that might bring you an audience?  How about your people?  Do they have passions?  Can they write about them?  If you sell hats, or furniture, or boats – you can still write about burgers, or hunting, or fishing, or kids, or the things you find funny about your daily life.

You can read the Burger Blog at: https://www.billmarsh.com/blog/index.htm?page=4

As for Maggie and I? I just read a list of the top ten diners in Michigan.  Not a single one was in Traverse City.  How can that be?  Have they never been to Randy’s Diner?  That’s outlandish!  I’m incensed!

Maggie and I enjoyed amazing burgers, had some fun road trips, and ended up with some fun content for social media and e-newsletters. Perhaps we need to check out the top ten diners next. Stay tuned to this blog.
  • Michael

    Love it! I want so badly for you to get that last burger tho!

    And seriously, what is the best burger in NoMI?

    1. mike

      I think we’ll need to go to the last one and wrap up the burger blog on this site. I know of burgers I would take off and others I would add on…and the best burger? Oh, you’ll just have to wait and see on this blog.

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