If your digital marketing strategy doesn't include YouTube, you're missing out on one of the largest and most engaged audiences in Australia and worldwide.
It doesn’t matter what you sell. Every business can benefit from content marketing to get its name out there and build a following, even if you sell something as mundane as sugar.
If you’re sceptical about how content marketing can work for your company, take a look at how Australia’s leading sugar brand CSR has done it.
In an increasingly health-conscious society where the product they’re selling gets a lot of negative press, CSR’s website and their other online activities shift the focus away from sugar itself and towards recipes, helpful advice and engaging with customers.
Self-appointed sugar experts
To be successful, your content marketing needs to be in tune with what your customers want. A timeless nugget of marketing advice is to talk about the benefits rather than the features of your product.
To take brown sugar as an example, features would be:
- made from cane sugar
- 16 Cal per serving
- available in 500g/1kg packs.
While its benefits include:
- used in dessert recipes
- adds sweetness to stir fries and sauces
- makes porridge edible.
Which approach has more potential for interesting, varied and shareable content?
Since CSR doesn’t sell products through its website, it’s free to focus entirely on marketing and information. The most prominent area on the site is recipes, which gets the first tab after the homepage as well as a dedicated search box. Every recipe includes a list of ingredients, which link to the CSR products you need to buy to bring the recipe to life.
The content is impressive, both in quality and quantity. By publishing useful step-by-step recipes for every dessert imaginable, CSR has positioned itself as an authority in the field, even if it isn’t at the level of more traditional recipe sites like Taste.com.au, Good Food and Gourmet Traveller in the search engine stakes.
Another section offers handy advice on the practical aspects of baking – what equipment to buy, how to weigh and measure, and crowd-sourced tips to get better baking results.
Also important for customers to know is how sugar relates to their health and nutrition. Stringent Australian advertising standards require that this information is included on the site, and CSR has complied – even if these sections are tucked away in the footer where they’re less prominent.
Building a baking community
Social interaction is all but mandatory on the modern web, and CSR has embraced this by hosting its own community of baking aficionados and curating the #BakingNation hashtag on social media.
Both the recipes and baking advice sections of the site invite users to contribute their own entries to the collection (writing CSR’s content and helping to grow their website for free), as well as to rate and comment on existing entries.
Users are also encouraged to join the Baking Nation to receive updates on exclusive promotions, new products and new recipes in their inbox. In other words, “sign up to our newsletter” with benefits.
Spreading the word
Even if you fill your site with quality content, it’s not going to reach its potential audience if you don’t actively promote it.
CSR is connected to all of Australia’s most popular social media sites that are relevant to its customer demographics and a good fit for its content. Namely Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube (there’s a @CSRsugar Twitter account too, but it’s never posted anything).
Facebook is the hub of the brand’s social media activity, with more than 13,000 likes and a healthy number of comments. The feed is updated several times a week to maintain interest, and includes a mix of product launches, industry news, cute stock photos (reposted to Instagram and Pinterest) and shout-outs to content from other sites in the baking community.
The brand’s most impressive commitment to social media is the original content they’ve uploaded to YouTube. Many recipes on the CSR site are paired with professionally made instructional videos that have been watched thousands of times and commented on.
Beyond their own social profiles, CSR also reaches out to established audiences elsewhere on the web. The guest posts they write for sites such as Sugar et al promote their products and link back to the main CSR site.
The ‘boring’ stuff
CSR does showcase its own products on its website, but this is a secondary focus and barely mentioned on social media.
Customers can read product descriptions and the same information they’d read on the packet in the store. But because this isn’t an e-commerce site, they’re more interested in developing positive associations with their brand and keeping it in your thoughts the next time you go shopping, just in case you were tempted to opt for the store brand.
As an example of creative content marketing in Australia, CSR is missing one notable ingredient – there’s no CSR Blog. While their recipes, how-to guides, Facebook updates and YouTube tutorials all make up a substantial body of original content published on a regular basis, a blog would be a convenient hub to collect all this together so that readers could get all their updates in one place.
What can we learn from CSR?
By focussing on the tasty end results and fun, fulfilling pastimes that its products can bring, CSR avoids having to address the controversial aspects of its products entirely.
Even if you’re not facing a similar ethical issue in your own business, you can take heart that any seemingly ‘boring’ product – from sugar to sheet metal, accounting software or carpet cleaning – can be made inspiring and engaging for your audience when you have an effective content marketing strategy.