First, let’s define content marketing. Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content through your website, social media, newsletters and more in order to attract consumers, build relationships, and ultimately help people understand your brand and purchase your products. But, where do you start?
Start By Establishing Your Brand Story
The most important place to start your content marketing strategy is with your brand story. Branding is so much more than a brand name, logo, packaging and products. Your brand’s voice and story need to be present in everything you do and consistent across every marketing component. This helps your audience recognize you when they see you and want to get to know you better.
It is crucial to determine, when thinking about your brand story, the problem you are solving for your consumer. This is what sets you apart from your competitors and makes all of your marketing connect more deeply with your ideal consumer. If any neighboring craft maker could similarly say your brand story for themselves then you haven’t found your own unique brand story yet. The better you connect with your consumers the more loyal they will become to your brand. Remember, people connect more with people and stories than they do products. So, nail down your story then get to know your audience.
Get To Know Your Target Audience
You can market your products with the perfect content all day long but if it is not relevant to the right people then it will ultimately take up your valuable time with no benefit.
Without identifying your brand’s target consumer, you will never know which message will appeal to your target consumers wants and needs. Figuring out your target consumer persona helps you visualize, identify and empathize with your audience in order to make your marketing efforts easier and more effective! If you are trying to design your content to be broadly appealing to everyone is not a shortcut, it’s a mistake.
In fact, it will take you longer to be successful because you’re wasting most of your marketing on people who simply don’t care about a brand like yours…even if they are over 21 and drink the type of alcohol you make. Trying to talk to everyone is essentially watering down your message to be less relevant and impactful to those who truly might care. When you figure out your ideal consumer and know what content resonates with them deeply, they’ll be raving about your product until the end of time. Which will help others find you too!
Set Your Content Marketing Goals & Track Results
Before you start developing a content marketing plan it’s very important that you are clear on your goals. Without goals you will just end up spending a lot of time creating content that does very little for your brand and wastes resources that you are already lacking. Every single piece of content you produce must have a purpose. Your content should be working toward one or more wider marketing goals. And, these goals need to be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Your goals could be anything from building brand awareness, educating your consumers current and future to engaging your consumers. Also, when you set SMART goals then you need to ensure you are tracking your content results. This ensures that you are creating content that resonates with your target audience and helps you understand your consumers even better. Once you have set your goals, now it is time to plan!
Need Help With Your Marketing Foundation?
Our online Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp’s Marketing Basics 3-Course Bundle covers these exact foundational topics to supercharge all of your marketing efforts, content and beyond!
Build A Pipeline of Content Ideas
When it comes to content marketing, ideas for content are key. Yet it’s often where craft makers get stuck thinking all they have to talk about is their own brand and products and quickly run out of ideas. However there is so much more you can and should be talking about on topics related to your brand and of interest to your target consumer. With all good content the goal is to engage, educate, and inspire your audience so keep this in mind when brainstorming.
To help you get to your good ideas quickly and effectively, here’s one approach we teach in our Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp. As you get started set aside an hour or two for this work and remember to brainstorm freely with no restrictions. Then edit.
Content Brainstorming Guidance
- Ask yourself questions like “What do you love talking about?” “What parts of your brand story do you want to share?” “What do you enjoy teaching others about?” “What areas do others on your team have expertise in?” This part of the brainstorm should be relatively easy since it’s tapping into your team’s natural interests and abilities.
- Think about your target consumers’ interests and passions. Ask yourself, “What are they interested in?” “What goals are they trying to achieve?” “What kind of information would they share or show off to their friends?”
- Take inspiration from others. Think about what headlines you click on and which articles and emails you enjoy reading. Take inspiration from others and apply your own unique angle to the topic. Remember to also gather inspiration from yourself as part of this by reviewing what content of yours performed well in the past as well.
- Finally, a few content areas valuable for craft alcohol makers specifically:
- Education about alcohol styles (especially unique or new ones), the craft movement, history, and people
- Alcohol making & drinking terminology, processes, or techniques
- Helping consumers understand and expand their drinking palates and use cases
- Happy hour at home & entertaining
Once you have all of your ideas gathered — aim for 100+, seriously you can do it! — it’s time to start narrowing them down. Use your brand story, voice, and target consumer understanding to do this. Grouping ideas into campaigns around similar topics or dates, including national and global drink holidays. Then it’s time to think about your content marketing plan.
Plan Your Content Strategy
Success always improves with a plan! Without a proper plan you will again just be wasting your valuable time creating content that never reaches your target audience or you run out of things to post. Your plan should detail the who, what, when, where, why and how of your content marketing strategy.
- Who will be creating the content?
- What content do they need to create?
- When do you need it done by?
- Where do you want to publish it?
- Why does it fit into your content strategy?
- How are you promoting it?
This is essentially the foundation of your content calendar. Here at The Crafty Cask we love using Airtable for our content calendar, see an example below, but you can also use simple spreadsheets or Google “content calendar templates” and a variety of options for you to consider will appear.
A robust content calendar like this will help you plan out content, let you know when and where to post it, track the progress of the content, and simply be more efficient and effective! All of this will help your content go further and help you reach those goals you have set.
Always Be Flexible
In this day and age, where content is flowing endlessly all day everyday it is important to be flexible, especially on social media. Trends happen just as fast as they disappear. So when thinking about your content strategy and plan sometimes you have to be flexible. Trends and global events happen all the time and can be a distraction for your audience. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to be flexible and adapt to the world around you.
The plan you put in place and content you prepare and schedule in advance is there to ensure your consistently putting out great content and not scrambling at the last minute. It is not, however, intended to hinder you. So, if you see a trend online that fits perfectly for your brand, do it!
A lot of the time real-time, trending content is the best performing because it is real and relevant to your brand and audience. Or maybe, a major event happens and posting about your product on that same day may not be the best idea, so you push it to later. This is why tracking your results is so important. Your strategy should reflect the world around you, what your target consumer cares about, and your brand. By being flexible you can avoid appearing tone-deaf to the media and to your customers, and may even gain additional consumers by doing so.
Need More Help With Your Content Marketing?
Our Craft Alcohol Marketing Bootcamp covers everything you need to know to to help you market your craft alcohol business. It covers everything from marketing 101, to tasting room traffic, to paid advertising, and more.
Plus, we have a course, Creating Content That Kills specifically created to help you create content that drives results!
Batching To Save Time
Lastly, it’s important you set up a process to batch all of your content work. For our team, we have content due dates set to 2 weeks prior to publication date. Then the person responsible for reviewing, approving, and scheduling can have a block of time set on their calendar every week to go through all content submissions at once and either send them back for revisions or get them scheduled and completed.
When thinking about the work you’ll be batching also make sure to evaluate which tools can help make your process more efficient. This article covers 12 of our favorite social media and content related tools to help you do just that.
Batching your work and having the right tools in place makes last minute scrambling the exception rather than the rule. Helping your whole team feel less frustrated and stressed, while keeping your content plan ahead of the game.