Content marketing can be a powerful marketing tool for garnering audience attention and increasing sales. One industry that has yet to take advantage of this intuitive marketing solution is the craft brewing industry.
Due to the emergence of COVID-19 and the forced shutdown of businesses worldwide, many small businesses, even craft breweries, are seeking ways to improve their revenue through virtual sales. In 2020, we have seen a boom in online and eCommerce sales for brick-and-mortar stores, and breweries are taking full advantage of that shift.
In North America, the overall beer market is worth about $116 billion, and craft beer dollar sales have increased by 6% to reach $29.3 billion. And while overall beer sales decreased by 1.6%, craft beer sales stayed up at 3.6%.
Because craft brewery sales are continuing to increase, and general online sales are increasing as many businesses have made the transition to the online marketplace, implementing a content marketing strategy now can lead to greater brand recognition and revenue.
But, if this is your first time deploying content marketing strategies for your brewery, the process can seem murky and confusing. Here are some simple content marketing strategies that your brewery can start today!
Developing Your Brewery’s Content Marketing Strategy
Starting a content strategy does not have to be difficult but it does require some planning. Take the time to plan out a few things about your company and develop the strategy before you launch your content marketing campaign.
It’s important to develop a thought-out strategy for your brewery. While a content marketing strategy can be diverse and more or less comprehensive, there are some marketing foundations that can be established through simple methods, such as:
- Conceptualizing your branding and brand persona
- Mapping your brewery’s goals and future vision
- Identifying your target audience
- Identifying your brand’s value proposition
- Mapping out audience avenues for brand discovery
- Establishing the ways your brand will solve your buyer’s needs or “pain points”
These foundational components will drive your content marketing strategy. Without developing these foundational elements, your content marketing efforts might be ineffective and end up as a lot of work for little reward.
When thinking about these elements for your business, consider the ways that well-known breweries have developed their brand persona and what that means from both the brewery’s perspective and the buyer’s perspective.
Well-known brewery brands who have nailed their content marketing strategy include Deschutes Brewery, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and Russian River Brewing Company, who spearheaded the well-known yet hard-to-come-by Pliny the Elder.
While their beers are definitely tasty, these craft breweries have been super effective (even when compared to big beer brands) at conveying their brand story through a unique digital marketing strategy.
They have satiated the craft beer market through brand recognition and brand loyalty. Their name goes a lot further within the brewery industry because of their willingness to push marketing boundaries (either purposefully or not) and become a truly unique craft beer company.
Content Marketing Strategies for Breweries
Craft beer lovers want to connect with you, so it is only a matter of producing the content your consumer wants and delivering it to them online!
Here are some simple inbound marketing techniques to draw your target audience in and not only build brand awareness but also improve your craft beer sales as a whole!
Market your brewery’s curb appeal with social media marketing
Craft beer is all about drinking high-quality beer with good friends, in a good environment, and sometimes with a good story. This makes the combination of content marketing and the brewing lifestyle powerful, and something that can easily be shared through aesthetically appealing images and a little storytelling.
By and large, social media marketing is the best way to reach these audiences, especially since the craft beer industry grows based on the lifestyle that it curates.
So if you want to show off the place that you call home and the business that you’ve worked so hard to build, one of the best ways to do that is through images and storytelling on social media platforms like Instagram and the Instagram story, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Vimeo, and Imgur.
Know that social media marketing is always effective at promoting a craft beer brand, so you won’t be wasting your time and money promoting a marketing campaign that you’re not sure will work. It’s also reasonably affordable (you could do it yourself if you really wanted to) and a simple thing to outsource.
If outsourcing this strategy, be sure to connect with someone who has an eye for quality content as that is the main draw. Since you will be promoting your brewery, the images should be of your brewery or those individuals connected to your brewery and beer.
Blog about your brewery’s uniqueness to satiate the entire beer nerd’s palette
As beer nerds ourselves, we know that the joys of drinking craft beer don’t come from just the aesthetic of sitting on a patio and sipping a solid brew. Many beer fans are craft brewers themselves and know what it takes to make a beer, have brewed one themselves at home, or are eager to learn about the different flavor palettes that a beer can possess.
Many beer enthusiasts are curious about the flavor differences between Citra and Cascade hops, for example, and that’s great – tell them about it!
Getting this information out can be done through word-of-mouth, but that might not reach the widest audience. Connect with your target audience by writing a blog and then sending it out to craft beer networks in their area, in a brewery newsletter, or on your website.
Your blog can be as in-depth or as superficial as you want. If you want to inform the beer fan on your brewery’s brewing process, or your unique brewing technique, give them a breakdown of how you go about it.
You can also simply blog to update regulars and potential customers about the future of your company. It’s a great idea to give potential customers a glimpse into your brand’s aspirations and dreams.
Naturally, if you can’t spend time dedicated to creating a blog or you don’t really want to sit down to write for a few hours, consider outsourcing it! We recommend blogging one to three times a week. Keep it on the low end to not overwhelm readers.
Share your brewery insight in an easy-listening podcast
Podcasts aren’t for everyone, but they can be rather enjoyable to listen to and can help fill a void when completing a mundane task. If you think that it would be easier to get your beer-info out to your future guests or regulars with a podcast, then host one!
The craft beer drinker would definitely appreciate a witty brewery podcast, especially since there are numerous podcasts dedicated to craft beer already. Your podcast should, of course, offer unique benefits and insights into your own brewing experience.
Nowadays, it is getting easier and easier to host your very own podcast. Not much technical knowledge is required and the only recommended pieces of technology are a professional microphone and audio recording and editing software.
Once you decide to host a podcast, be sure to work with your graphic designer to develop cover art. You’ll also need to choose a name, show format, and think about getting music or an introduction segment (like a jingle for your podcast).
Your podcast can be as little or as much as you want it to be. Work with a co-host who asks you questions throughout, or bring on guest speakers to include outside perspectives!
Support local with community marketing or partnerships
Last but not least is community marketing. Community marketing might sound a bit bold for a small-time brewery, but it doesn’t have to be big. Community marketing ranges from working with local brewery visitors, local sponsors (like small businesses), or working online with an industry influencer.
By asking for help within your community or industry, you are showing to your customers that you are one of them and want the industry to succeed. You are encouraging this success as a trusted brand and pillar of the community.
Partnering for marketing purposes can mean that you’re a partner for a given campaign or for as long as it takes to reach a certain engagement number, but the level of partnership is up to you.
Partner promotions can mean joining forces with a local business, or it can mean highlighting freelancers and contractors by bringing together art and beer in a unique experience.
This is something that Kingston, Ontario’s Stone City Ales has done. They have built a campaign in partnership with a local photographer and have even featured their work on some of the brewery’s beer labels.
Start Your Brewery’s Simple Content Marketing Strategy Today
Craft beer marketing could benefit from a content strategy as craft beer is all about community, sharing a pint, and brewing together on a beautiful day.
Digital marketing through content creation is the ideal way to tell people about your brand identity, promote the beer festival you are currently attending, or show off your taproom.
Know that if you are starting out and you are struggling to put together new content, you don’t have to start with huge ideas. Start with what you know and are comfortable with.
And there are many ways that you can do this. Educate your visitors about a recent craft brewing technique you have mastered (or not!), or redirect consumers to your online shop after showing them an inspiring vision of how beer can be enjoyed at home or on the brewpub patio.
Whether you are a small craft brewery or microbrewery, each thrives on local support, which will bring in wider audiences over time.
Don’t be afraid to showcase a community member who was helping someone cross the street in front of your tasting room or wearing your craft beer brand beanie during those rough no-patio winter months. Let your brand be what it is and don’t be afraid to share that with the world!