… by Hilary Allard
Everyone talks about content. You know you need it – but when and how to create it? For many people, the prospect of adding “content creation” to their to-do lists is overwhelming.
Luckily for people in the food business, there are a wealth of simple ways to use what you already have on hand and easy ways to turn the things you do on a daily basis into meaningful content.
Consider the following:
It’s not enough to put a product on the shelf – you have to help consumers understand how to use it. Whether your product is a gourmet ingredient or a kitchen appliance, gather your best recipes – from employees, friends, neighbors or mom – and share them on your blog. Showing customers how to use your product will help them make it an important part of their daily lives.
Think about seasonality when posting your recipes. Do you have tried-and-true favorites that are perfect for Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day? What about best uses for all that extra zucchini in August or ideas for a Fourth of July barbeque? Map out a calendar of occasions and slot in the recipes you already have on hand. Before you know it, you’ll have a year of content in front of you.
Check out these holiday recipes and entertaining tips on Victoria Gourmet’s blog.
Instructions and Tips
No matter what your product, you will inevitably get a broad range of consumer questions. By sharing content that addresses your most commonly asked questions, you can raise customer satisfaction and put a human face to the brand.
Posting an instruction manual isn’t exactly compelling content. But what about augmenting your existing product instructions with a series of photos that show how that pie should look in the stages of being made, or a quick Flip video of how to lock the lid on your company’s food processor?
Don’t forget the tips that your customers send you. They can often provide insights into product uses or challenges that you may not have thought of. As a courtesy, ask first before sharing online.
Wilton Cake Decorating shows their expertise through a robust YouTube channel with instructions for cake decorating from the basic to the advanced.
Testing, one, two, three
The next time you’re in the test kitchen working on a new recipe, grab a few shots and upload them to your Flickr or Facebook page. People love seeing “behind the scenes” activity. Ask consumers what they think about the recipe idea. Is this something they’d like to try? What suggestions do they have for improvement?
Are there other food-related activities you are doing that you should share? Everyone complains about those who tweet about what they had for lunch. But what about a company potluck where everyone brings a dish made with your products? This could be a source of ideas and inspiration for your customers.
And where are you eating, anyway? If customers look to you as a food expert, they will undoubtedly be interested in your latest restaurant visit. Maybe not the sandwich you had for lunch, but maybe that dinner you had at a new Chicago hotspot on a business trip.
For inspiration, look to Martha Stewart who does a great job of blogging about relevant information related to her ventures, including cooking and dining out, complete with great photos.
A Vice President at The Castle Group, a Boston-based public relations and event management agency, Hilary has extensive experience working with CPG, housewares and multi-unit restaurant companies. She works closely with her clients to develop successful media relations strategies and social media programs. An avid homecook, she writes a personal food blog. You can find her at http://slicedanddiced.wordpress.com, http://thecastlegroup.wordpress.com, and http://twitter.com/hallard