I’ve had the occasion lately to look at some marketing agencies’ YouTube channels, and some have featured portfolio clips of work done for restaurants.  Oddly enough, they seem to be missing the one major purpose (and unique opportunity) of doing a content marketing video for such a client — making me want to reach right through the screen and take a bite out of the food!

Don’t get me wrong.  Many of these videos are well-produced pieces of content.  They feature compelling narratives with passionate owners of these establishments.  They’re technically-proficient productions with tight edits and competent production value.  But most are lacking the beauty shots of the food itself.  In fact, they seem bizarrely focused on the people eating rather than the food itself.  While I’d rather see someone eating the food than the seemingly endless pans across empty dining rooms that have been a staple of local TV ads in my area for decades, these videos aren’t as effective as they could be.

The restaurants I’m most likely to go back to are ones where the food is outstanding, and the passion of the owners and staff comes through in the service.  To me, if you market based on the atmosphere and the amenities of the restaurant, that tells me the food is an afterthought.  So why spend so much time talking about a place in your content and so little time making me crave it when it comes across my Facebook feed?  This doesn’t just go for videos.  Instagram is another key channel for culinary businesses.  Build a following there, and hit them time after time with pictures that make them hungry.  (Publishing them mid-morning doesn’t hurt either, if you want to inspire some food envy right before the lunch hour!)

Food Network is pornography for food lovers like myself.  I could watch it for hours and hours, and it inspires me to make that food at home.  Why?  Because they invest so heavily in food styling, or making all those gorgeous “beauty shots” of the food.  You know, a slow, sensuous drizzle of chocolate over a piece of cake, or a close up of a gorgeous, sizzling steak cooked to a perfect medium rare.  They’re lit perfectly, focused intently, and played out nice and slowly to make your mouth water.  It’s not about the cooking.  It’s about the food.

We eat with our eyes first.  So when you’re creating content for culinary clients, don’t neglect the star of the show — the food!

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user Steven Depolo via Creative Commons license)