Content Marketing (as defined by the Content Marketing Institute) is “the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” In short, that means if you have interesting things to say and you add value, people will spend more money with you. Sounds pretty good, right?
Just as no one wants to sit next to the boring bar patron or the non-stop narcissistic self-promoter, your social media fans will engage more with you – and share more of your content – if you have interesting, useful, and fun things to say on your website and social media sites.
That’s why you need a branded, cohesive, and clever content marketing strategy.
So, what do you say after hello? Social media has reached maturity and consumers are constantly bombarded by ads, deals, random posts, tweets, GIFs, video, and more. How do you break through the clutter?
You probably went into this business because you love to make drinks/food, serve customers, and run a business. You didn’t sign-up to be an entertainer or educator. No more than 30% of your posted content should be related to deals, contests, menu items, etc. The rest needs to be related to your business but should add some unique value, as noted above.
Content marketing for bars, clubs, and liquor brands poses some unique challenges. Says Joseph Kalinowski, Creative Director at the Content Marketing Institute, “They have to preserve the integrity of the brands in their content without showing a negative "hard partying persona" that sometimes can be applied.” He cites the Jack Daniel’s brand as having a great content strategy. “Their age-restricted website contains a multitude of stories of the brand’s history, distilling process, etc. High quality videos (including “Bartender Tales”), a how-to blog, and an e-mail newsletter (“The Order of Gentlemen”) also engage consumers.
A flying cucumber (a blimp) became the basis for Hendrick’s Gin’s content marketing campaign. "The cucumber is the defining botanical of Hendrick's Gin. It's what separates us from our competition. What better way to celebrate it than to make it fly for the entire U.S. to see?" asks Jim Ryan, national brand ambassador for Hendrick's Gin.
Hendrick's campaign took flight on National Cucumber Day, which was June 14th. Like many brands nowadays, they were capitalizing on a "holiday" that has a whimsical connection to their brand.
This campaign naturally generated engaging content for social media. In order to win a trip on the Flying Cucumber, fans need to take a photo of the aircraft as it flies above their city and post it on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #HendricksGin and #CucumberChallenge.
Not every brand can afford a flying vegetable. You may not have a deep and rich history yet. So, here are some simple tips for making content marketing easier and more effective for your brand or business of any size.
- Define your brand and personality. Is it warm and witty? Serious and sophisticated? Edgy and up for a party? Your voice should be consistent throughout your content.
- Think about and hone in on your core areas of expertise. Mixology? Healthy bar snacks? Service? Joke telling? Sports? History? That will serve as the basis for the content you disseminate.
- What goes on day to day at your place of business that’s interesting or entertaining? Giving customers “behind the scenes” content makes them feel like industry insiders. What’s boring to you may be intriguing to your guests. Make sure to give your valued customers shout-outs too, and ask them to share their stories.
- Time and resources permitting, write articles, tips, and contribute recipes to local – or even national – media. As others read and share your content, your business or brand name becomes known.
- Sharing content from other sites is perfectly fine – provided you give credit. (Watch out for copyrighted materials or warnings not to reproduce, quote, or share.)
- Think visually. See our article on the role of photos, video, GIFs, and infographics in increasing readership and retention. (And see our infographic in this article – a real-life example of content marketing.)
- If you outsource your content marketing, find a resource that’s creative, experienced, and trend-savvy. More than 30% of marketers say they are dissatisfied with the level of content marketing talent currently available.
Above all, remember the analogy we began with. No one wants to hang out with the bore or the sales machine. Be varied, entertaining, and educational, and you’ll find your content (and your brand) shared often. You’ll be the life of the content marketing party!