It was roughly 10 years ago that I started on this Rock City journey. The original vision, which still holds true today, was to give locally owned businesses a chance to tell their story and connect with local audiences.
I love Little Rock and the central Arkansas area, and I always wanted to do what I could to make it better. So from the beginning we have, unapologetically, always wanted to encourage customers to pick local restaurants and shops over chains. Local businesses make our city better.
I tell you this, because we are entering a new era of Rock City, almost as significant as the original launch, and certainly done with far more effort and purpose. It is something that is years in planning, but with COVID and the seasonal downturn in restaurants, we took a moment to breathe, refocus, and build something special and unique from the ground up.
Along with a brand new website, we are shifting away from RockCityEats.com and onto Rock.City as the new domain. Our focus is still on promoting local restaurants, but we want to be able to also look at ways to promote the city as a whole.
One of the first things you will notice is a strong neighborhood focus. We recognize that COVID has pushed us deeper into the areas around us, so we really want to treat each neighborhood almost as their own website. So if your home neighborhood is SoMa, like mine is, you have a place you can go for all that information. Soon we will roll out individual newsletters around neighborhoods so you can keep up with things happening in your area.
The next thing you will see within neighborhoods, inside articles, and around the site is Places. For several years we have operated an under-used website called Visit Rock City. We decided to rebuild that from scratch and integrate it into the site. Here you can find restaurants near you, or in any of our neighborhoods. You can click on the heart icon to favorite a restaurant and that will allow you in the near future to be able to keep up with what is going on in that restaurant. It is a massive undertaking, but we are adding restaurants constantly. In the meantime, if your favorite place is not in yet, feel free to go add it. You can import directly from their Facebook or yelp pages. Add the info you know and we will gather the rest.
At the heart of everything we do is always content, and that is going to go mostly unchanged. We are integrating our places with our content better so that when we are talking about a restaurant you can quickly find more out about the place. Also we are slowly linking up our massive archive of articles to the places they are talking about, so you can find your favorite restaurant, and catch up on what we have had to say in the past about it.
There are a lot of things coming too in the near future that will have a huge impact on how we do things here and allow you to discover and connect to more places around Little Rock than ever before. We still have some work to do on the site, but it is an exciting time.
For Restaurants and Businesses
Along with the new website we are also bringing in a big change in how we operate. COVID has stretched us all a little thin and tested our strength. We are in that boat with you, believe me. Which is why we wanted to take some time and reimagine how customer interactions can happen to drive more business your way, and for less. So we are lowering the barrier of entry for promoting your business dramatically while increasing the connections.
With 20+ years of marketing, I can confidently tell you that promoting your business is about to get hard with the changes coming to the advertising industry. Facebook and Google ads are about to get a whole lot less meaningful. So as a part of the overhaul we wanted to give you ways to connect with customers in a much more organic way that provides a higher return. Day one we are implementing a tiered system for connecting with customers. We also have a ton of services coming soon that will help lower your cost of doing business. If you want to know more, reach out to me and we can visit.