Content marketing has become a powerful tool for food brands looking to connect with their target audience, build brand awareness, and drive sales. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of developing a content marketing plan for your food brand, ensuring you’re set up for success. We’ll cover everything from setting goals and understanding your audience to creating and distributing your content. So, let’s dive in!
Step 1: Set Clear Goals for Your Content Marketing Plan Development
As the old saying goes: Failing to plan is planning for failure.
Before you start creating content, it’s essential to establish clear goals for your content marketing efforts.
You must start by setting goals; the more specific, the better. This will help you measure the success of your campaign and keep your team focused on the right objectives.
Some common content marketing goals for food brands include:
Increasing brand awareness
This means increasing the visibility and recognition of your brand among potential customers with the aim of increasing sales.
Building customer trust and loyalty
This refers to the process of establishing a strong relationship with customers by consistently providing them with positive experiences.
Generating leads or driving sales
Generating leads or driving sales refers to the process of attracting potential customers and encouraging them to make a purchase.
Generating leads involves identifying potential customers and collecting their contact information while driving sales involves converting those leads into paying customers.
Educating consumers about your products or services
Educating consumers about your products or services is a marketing strategy where your company provides information to potential customers about the features and benefits of your products or services in order to increase brand awareness and drive sales.
Establishing your brand as a thought leader in the food industry
Establishing your brand as a thought leader in the food industry means that your brand is seen as a trusted and knowledgeable source of information and insights.
This can be achieved through creating and sharing high-quality content, participating in industry events and discussions, and building relationships with other leaders in the field.
When setting goals, be sure to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to ensure they’re actionable and trackable.
To learn more about SMART goal setting, read this article on the subject.
Step 2: Understand Your Target Audience
To create a successful content marketing plan, you need to understand the audience for which you’re creating your content. If you don’t get attention, then you’re shouting into a void.
Remember: In a world where information is both bountiful and cheap, attention is expensive and hard to come by.
It’s generally a good idea to start by developing buyer personas that represent your ideal customers. Include their demographics, preferences, pain points, and motivations.
Spending time and effort on this will help you tailor your content to resonate with your target audience.
If your food brand targets health-conscious millennials, your buyer persona might include attributes like a preference for organic, non-GMO ingredients, and an interest in plant-based diets.
Creating content that speaks to these preferences will help you connect with your target audience on a deeper level. We have published an article that dives deep into the creation of buyer personas here.
Step 3: Conduct a Content Audit
Before you start creating new content, stop and take stock. Take the time to audit your existing content.
This will help you identify gaps in your content library and ensure that your new content marketing plan aligns neatly with your brand’s messaging and goals.
During your content audit, check the performance of your existing content against your new goals.
Use this data to identify what’s working and what needs improvement. You may find that certain topics or formats perform better than others, which should inform your future content strategy.
Step 4: Develop Your Content Strategy
Now you have a clear understanding of your goals; you know who your audience is and how your existing content is performing.
It’s time to develop your brand-new content strategy. This involves deciding on the types of content you’ll create, the topics you’ll cover, and the channels you’ll use to distribute your content.
Some popular content formats for food brands include:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Email newsletters
When deciding on topics, remember to consider your target audience’s interests and pain points, as well as your brand’s unique selling points.
For example, if you’re a vegan snack company, you might create content around plant-based nutrition, delicious vegan recipes, and sustainable food production practices.
When we create content strategies, we very frequently focus on a narrow message. For example, when we created the content strategy for Redpath Sugar, the entire content strategy was focused on helping Canadians to become better bakers.
This resulted in a thriving community of over 350,000 home bakers and a publishing contract with Random House, publishing the Redpath Canadian Bakebook.
Finding a simple, focused message like this isn’t easy, but it’s worthwhile to spend the time and effort to arrive at that goal.
Here are some examples of well-thought-out content strategies from major brands:
- Domino’s Pizza: One of the most popular video on its YouTube channel is a clip of the ‘Domicopter’. Dominos announced that it was going to start delivering pizzas via drone (hence: Domicopter), and this is the accompanying promotional video. 
- Bien Cuit: This food brand has a drool-worthy Instagram account that showcases its baked goods in a visually stunning way. Food brands can leverage the visual platform of Instagram by sharing visually appealing photos of their products and engaging with their audience through captions and hashtags. 
- McDonald’s: This fast food giant has successfully used social media to create engaging content that resonates with its target audience. One example is their “My McD’s” campaign, which asked customers to share their favorite McDonald’s moments on social media using the hashtag #MyMcDStories. This campaign resulted in thousands of user-generated content pieces and demonstrated the power of engaging with customers on social media. 
Step 5: Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar is an essential tool for keeping your content marketing plan on track. It helps you organize your content creation and distribution efforts, ensuring that you’re consistently publishing high-quality content that aligns with your goals.
Your content calendar should include details like:
- Content topics
- Content formats
- Publishing dates
- Distribution channels
- Responsible team members
Make sure to plan your content calendar well in advance, and be prepared to adjust it as needed to accommodate new opportunities or changes in your marketing strategy.
A recommended platform for a content calendar
We use Notion to plan our content. Notion is just one of many tools available, but we think one of the best. We run our entire company on the platform. There’s a bit of a learning curve at the start, but once you understand how it works there’s nothing like it.
Step 6: Create and Optimize Your Content
Now it’s time to bring your content marketing plan to life by creating your content.
Remember to keep your target audience and goals in mind as you create your content. Make sure your content is engaging, informative, and relevant to your audience’s interests and needs.
When creating content, keep the following best practices in mind:
- Remember your goals and create content that helps you reach those.
- Write in a conversational, easy-to-understand tone that appeals to your audience’s reading level.
- Break up long blocks of text with headings, bullet points, and images to improve readability.
- Use high-quality images and visuals to enhance your content and make it more shareable.
- Optimize your content for SEO by using relevant keywords and phrases, but avoid keyword stuffing.
- Include strong calls to action to guide your readers toward the desired action (e.g., signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product, or sharing your content on social media)
Step 7: Distribute and Promote Your Content
Once you’ve created your content, it’s time to distribute and promote it across various channels. This may include:
- Your brand’s website or blog
- Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and Pinterest
- Email marketing campaigns
- Influencer partnerships or guest posts on other relevant websites
When promoting your content, be sure to tailor your messaging and format for each channel. For example, a long-form blog post might not work well on Instagram, but you could create a visually appealing infographic that highlights key points from the post and share it on the platform.
Also, consider using paid advertising to boost your content’s reach and engagement. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer targeted advertising options that can help you get your content in front of the right audience.
Step 8: Measure and Analyze Your Results
To ensure your content marketing plan is effective, it’s crucial to measure and analyze your results. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your goals, such as website traffic, social media engagement, email open rates, and conversions.
Use tools like Google Analytics, social media analytics, and email marketing software to gather data on your content’s performance. Regularly review your data to identify trends and insights that can help you improve your content marketing strategy.
For example, if you notice that recipe videos receive significantly more engagement on social media than blog posts, you might consider creating more video content to capitalize on this trend.
Step 9: Iterate and Improve
Content marketing is an ongoing process that requires regular evaluation and iteration. As you analyze your results, identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to your content marketing plan accordingly.
This may involve testing new content formats, topics, or distribution channels, as well as refining your messaging and targeting. By continually optimizing your content marketing efforts, you’ll be better equipped to achieve your goals and grow your food brand’s online presence.
In conclusion, developing a content marketing plan for your food brand is an essential step in connecting with your target audience and driving business growth. By following the steps outlined in this guide and continually iterating on your strategy, you can create a successful content marketing plan that helps you achieve your goals and stand out in the competitive food industry.
Books to read and Podcasts to listen to
Want to dive deeper? Here’s a selection of great books and podcasts that teach effective content marketing. “They Ask You Answer” was the starting point for my own content marketing journey and is full of insight.
- “Content Inc.” by Joe Pulizzi – This book is a great resource for entrepreneurs, marketers, and business owners who want to create and distribute valuable content to attract and retain customers.
- “Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi – Another great book by Joe Pulizzi that provides a step-by-step guide to creating and distributing content that drives business results.
- “They Ask You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan – This book emphasizes the importance of answering your customers’ questions with valuable content that builds trust and establishes your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
- “The Content Experience” – This podcast hosted by Randy Frisch and Anna Hrach covers a wide range of topics related to content marketing, including content creation, distribution, and measurement.
- “Call to Action” – This podcast from Unbounce focuses on the latest trends and best practices in digital marketing, including content marketing, conversion rate optimization, and more.
- “Marketing Over Coffee” – This podcast hosted by John Wall and Christopher Penn covers a range of marketing topics, including content marketing, SEO, social media, and more. The hosts also interview a variety of industry experts and thought leaders.