Ashanti Bentil-Dhue is the founder of Female Foodpreneur Collective, a network and resource for women in the food industry, and she is also one of our brilliant Virgin StartUp mentors. An expert in how food brands can market themselves, here are her tips on content marketing for startups, with examples from Virgin StartUp-supported businesses that are bossing it.

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A good content marketing strategy helps a business share engaging information with its consumers. It’s particularly great for new or small food businesses with small marketing budgets.

Content marketing takes time and effort, so a food business needs to have clear goals in place when putting together a content strategy. For example, a food business may be looking to raise brand awareness, stir up a buzz around a new product, build an engaged community, widen its customer base or even demonstrate a strong following to potential investors. The key here is to implement a strategy which supports your goals, needs and resources. Remember consistency is key when it comes to seeing results, so set realistic goals from the start!

Here are four basic tips for content marketing success.

How food businesses can use content marketing to connect with customers

1. Tell your unique brand story consistently

Consistent storytelling which entertains, inspires and educates is key for brand recognition for both your customers and potential influencers who you may want to partner with. Influencers like to get a good feel for your brand and what you stand for, before deciding whether to work with you.

Harry Brompton’s London Ice Tea tells its unique brand story brilliantly.  From the website to its social media, the mission, values and striking brand colours are clearly expressed. The well-chosen collaborative partnerships are also congruent with the brand’s overall style and message.

2. Be creative and share a variety of content

Food as a medium appeals to every human sense and brings people together. Take advantage of this!  Share video clips and images showcasing the different elements of the manufacturing or preparation process, or behind-the-scenes footage of a brand event. Repost good (and genuine) customer feedback and reviews as way to involve your consumer and build community.

Change Please does this skillfully by including barista profiles on its website which introduces readers to the individuals who have benefited from its programme. This is a great way to engage and connect with potential consumers so they are moved to find out more about getting involved with your business.

Cauli Rice takes the approach of publishing ‘lifestyle’ features on its website. It regularly includes interviews with fitness experts and informative articles about healthy lifestyle. This type of content is not only interesting but it helps consumers understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle which includes making healthy food choices - which will move them to purchase Cauli Rice. Very clever!

How food businesses can use content marketing to connect with customers

3. Reuse and recycle the same content in different formats

Reusing and recycling content saves times in the content creation process and also helps consumers engage with you in different ways. For example, a well-written blog piece can be divided and used as the basis for a short video to be shared on a video platform.

4. Share content on platforms your consumers use to work and play

More and more consumers are absorbing social content at the same time and via the same channels they consume work related content. Share your content in a direct and convenient way so consumers don’t have to leave a platform they are already using to view or read your content. Win-win for you and your consumers!

Trying one or more of the above tips will deepen the connection between a food business and its customers and build loyalty. By monitoring engagement and shares over time, you can get a good sense of what your customers think and feel about your brand. Brands that do this can make adjustments to campaigns if needed and use the customer feedback to improve their product.


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