Well hello there reader.
I hope you’re feeling hungry because today we’re travelling back in time to see an example of very early content marketing that will get your taste buds tingling.
Back in time… You mean to 2006… when content marketing was invented?
No, no, no, my eager marketer.
That was probably around the time the term “content marketing” was invented, but great companies have been using valuable, informative content for years to help market their services.
And this example is particularly dear to my heart because it combines 3 of my favourite things:
- Bluegrass music
- Content marketing
- The kind of food NEVER advocated on a diet
Back in 1948 the Martha White flour company began sponsoring the Grand Ole Opry. Shortly after that, they enlisted the help of up and coming Bluegrass band Flatt and Scruggs to help promote the flour on the band’s TV show for the Grand Ole Opry.
These shows were around 20 minutes of music with occasional breaks to “turn things over to the kitchen folks” where one of a handful of ladies (I was always fond of Miss Ann Abby) would demonstrate how to make delicious items using a variety of Martha White products.
Now, I don’t know what was in their flour, cornmeal or biscuit mix but it was basically magic dust.
As long as you had an egg, a tub full of butter / lard / shortening maybe some cream and milk you could make something delicious.
These were the kind of snacks that would cause nutritionists to have a heart attack on your behalf if they saw you taking a bite.
Now because of the marketing efforts to embed the company name into the customer’s mind, Martha White soon became a household name in the South and is well remembered today.
So let’s take a closer look at some tasty tips you can take away and apply to your own content marketing:
Keep the benefits delicious (and simple)
Benefits are important, but they don’t have to be complicated.
In this video the lovely Ann Abby explains why this recipe for corn dogs (when using the company’s corn meal) is:
“Easy on the mothers… because they’re made with Martha Whites Self-Rising Corn meal mix”
But she doesn’t just make this promise, she backs it up with proof by demonstrating the process.
Miss Abby tells her audience (mothers) something that they’re interested in (saving time cooking) and then proves it to them by showing how it’s done.
Provide shortcuts as a starter, save the detail for main course
Miss Abby isn’t telling her audience how to be the best cook around. She’s not telling mothers watching that they need to perfect their pastry shaping, or spend hours developing bread-kneading techniques.
She wants to tickle people’s interests, pull them in gently and get them hooked on her first bite-sized but sumptuous tricks and tips.
So the recipe she demonstrates is simple (slather wieners in mixture and deep fry… oh yes) but a valuable shortcut for mothers who want to create party food that will make them the most popular mother around.
It’s easy to over deliver in your content marketing, to try and prove to readers that you really know your stuff, but sometimes, people want simple to start with.
It’s easy to overwhelm so instead of a 100 page free ebook giveaway, your readers might prefer a 10-steps or a 15 minute solution instead.
A call to action for a bigger bite!
Okay – so they hook you in with their delicious corn dogs, but they don’t leave you hanging.
They capitalise on the momentum and hit you with their next irresistible offer. Simply send a letter to them and you receive a free recipe leaflet “Easy Living” – again appealing to their customers’ desires of providing food for the family, but still having time to chill out on a lawn chair as per the front cover.
And of course you know those recipes are going to need the company’s products to get best results right? Of course.
Consistent promotion of a unique (and catchy) message
The kitchen segments on the Flatt and Scruggs show were never without these 3 things:
- A reminder that the company had a unique, proprietary leavening agent: “Hot Rize”
- The company slogan: “Gooooodness Gracious, it’s good!”
- The jingles
Every show, without fail a customer would hear and experience the same messages again and again.
Now, when you’re marketing your business, using the same message can feel boring. You’re tempted to shake things up and change the name of your latest service, but having a consistent message is much easier for people to associate your business with what you do.
While the message might seem stale to you because you live and breathe it every day, it’s still fresh to someone who maybe only hears it once a week in your newsletter for example.
Think about your own business, I’m not suggesting you run out there and get a jingle (but if you do and it rivals the one in the video let me know) but maybe you have a secret ingredient or process you can name and remind potential customers about:
“Sign up to receive your free ‘3-Steps to the Two-Step’ dance tutorial DVD”
“Join the Fast Copy Friday newsletter for a bite-size copywriting tip each week”
“Brown Bag Webinars: 30 minutes learning to boost your business this month”
Now… everyone, all together join me in one last refrain of…
“For the finest cornbread you can make…
Get Martha White’s self-rising meal (Hot-Rize self rising meal)
Martha White’s self-rising meal for goodness sake…”