“But I don’t know what to SAY about my brand!”
That’s a common complaint of food brand managers. As a food producer, you are probably very creative in the kitchen, but for most people, one area of creative expertise doesn’t always extend to writing.
Food bloggers, influencers, recipe developers, writers, writing dashboards and marketing experts are all place you may consider spending marketing dollars to get your brand story told. There are so many options, it’s hard to wade through the choices.
So in today’s episode, I talk about how and where to invest in writing for your marketing content, and ways to extend the reach of your budget by planning for and leveraging evergreen topics.
Evergreen content can live beyond the initial investment – evergreen topics can be repurposed time and again over the life of your product line. It’s an excellent way to the maximum return on your investment in marketing. You can learn more about evergreen photography decisions in Episode 75.
Check out the full episode to learn how, where, and when to invest in several types of writing partners..
Virginia Foodie Essentials:
- When looking to work with food bloggers, look for bloggers who are a good fit for your brand. - Georgiana Dearing
- Before you sign any contracts with a food blogger, ask for use rights for the recipe and the photographs. - Georgiana Dearing
- It's a confusing industry. So, you’d want someone who can add insights to your brand, not someone that you’d need to educate. - Georgiana Dearing
- Never consider paying an influencer with free products. - Georgiana Dearing
- A food blogger who posts on their site can help raise awareness of your brand to a new audience and provide validated backlinks to your site, which helps improve your organic SEO search results. - Georgiana Dearing
- One way to get evergreen content is to form a relationship with a writer who will develop your brand story over multiple posts. - Georgiana Dearing
- Hiring a marketing expert is going to be your biggest investment but don't let the price scare you away. - Georgiana Dearing
Key Points From This Episode:
- Explore these written content investments to upscale your website and business:
- Food Bloggers
- Recipe Developers
- Paid Writing
- Marketing Experts
- Food bloggers offer unique content and viewer traffic that links from their site to yours.
- Recipe developers are direct hires whose contents stay within your domain.
- Professional writers have different expertise levels and areas.
- It is more cost-saving to hire from a writing dashboard over time.
- Marketing experts focus on strategizing content to drive your sales goals
Follow the Virginia Foodie here:
- VA Foodie website
- The Virginia Foodie on Instagram
- VA Foodie Instagram
- VA Foodie on Twitter
- Work with George Dearing
- Marketing Made Easy
- Support the show
Note: We use AI transcription so there may be some inaccuracies
[00:00:00] Georgiana Dearing: It's a confusing industry and you want someone who can add insights to your brand, not someone that you need to educate. That's a waste of your time. Plus, there are so many things you don't know that you don't know about selling food in retail.
[00:00:18] Georgiana Dearing: Welcome to the Virginia Foodie Podcast where we lift the lid on the craft food industry and tell the stories behind the good food, good people, and good brands that you know and love. If you've ever come across a yummy food brand and wondered how did they do that? How did they turn that recipe into a successful?
[00:00:37] Georgiana Dearing: Business. Then we've got some stories for you.
[00:00:43] Georgiana Dearing: Hello there, foodie friends. Welcome to the podcast. If this is your first time listening, I'm glad you're here and thank you for choosing to spend some time with me. I'm George Dearing and I provide content marketing strategy and coaching for good food brands, and today is another Marketing Monday. It's another day for me to share insights and tips about marketing your craft package food brand.
[00:01:08] Georgiana Dearing: A few weeks ago in episode 75, I talked about your photography budget and ensuring you get the biggest return on that investment for your brand. The key to maximizing that return is planning ahead, to leverage as much evergreen content as you can. Your content is one of the five elements of a healthy marketing strategy.
[00:01:30] Georgiana Dearing: Those five elements are your sales goals, your annual marketing plan, your budget, and I mean both time and money, your management systems and your content plan. Now, if you haven't heard the term before, evergreen content is anything you create that can live on beyond a single use. Essentially, content that is evergreen is something strategically planned to be used over and over.
[00:01:57] Georgiana Dearing: The opposite of evergreen content is trending content. And here's an example of the difference. Recipe development is evergreen. You can create a recipe and post it to your site. Reference it on social media, print it on recipe cards, and share it in emails all year long. You can do that over and over again until that product is discontinued.
[00:02:21] Georgiana Dearing: Trending content is a TikTok video of kids binging on super spicy cheese doodles. It has its moment for grabbing attention, but it's not something that Cheetos would put in the website archives and come back to year after year. Even if the super spicy trend sticks around for a decade, those kids are gonna look dated pretty quickly.
[00:02:43] Georgiana Dearing: Hairstyles, clothing, even slang terms or the soundtrack, will quickly stamp that video as a blast from the past. You absolutely wanna use trends when they are appropriate for your brand, but you shouldn't spend too much time or money on a fleeting message. In the core of my coaching programs in MI Coaching Group Marketing Made Easy is focused on making sure you get the most out of your marketing budget.
[00:03:08] Georgiana Dearing: Planning for Evergreen content is the best way to ensure you maximize your return on your photo and video spend, your written content and your website. We've already covered photography, so today I'll explore some typical ways you might pay for written content. I'll help you understand what they are and how you can make the most out of your investment.
[00:03:31] Georgiana Dearing: And I'm gonna take a look at some pretty standard ways of getting copy done for you. I'm going to look at working with food bloggers at paid writing and working with marketing experts. Food bloggers are professional writers who publish articles on their own websites. They're creating mini magazines online that are collections of their own ideas about selecting food, preparing food, and sometimes entertaining with food.
[00:04:00] Georgiana Dearing: Now we've used the word blog for so long that it's important to remember that the origin of the word comes from weblog. And a weblog is a, actually a technical term for searchable stream of articles that get sorted dynamically throughout a site by the use of tags. All of the content is put into one blog tool, but it may show up on a site in different places because of the category that article is associated with.
[00:04:27] Georgiana Dearing: And that term, blogging quickly became synonymous with journaling, sharing a personal point of view. Food bloggers are doing exactly that. They share their personal views about finding and creating interesting dishes. Content marketing is about posting articles to your website that draw people to your brand.
[00:04:47] Georgiana Dearing: And most websites come with a blog feature, and I just wanna be clear that on your site, your blog is really the technical function that allows you to sort content your brand's. Website is not a place for a journal that holds personal introspection. You're selling a physical product and your readers are coming to you for education about how that product fits into their life.
[00:05:12] Georgiana Dearing: So your blog is gonna contain helpful information for the people who are using your product. Food bloggers on the other hand, are being intentionally personal. Your site may have the blog feature, but that's just a tool to organize a totally different kind of communication. So when you're looking to work with food bloggers, look for bloggers who are good fit for your brand.
[00:05:39] Georgiana Dearing: Their reputation stems from their brand control. So you wanna have a relationship that is mutually beneficial. If you're a high-end brand, you don't wanna work with a coupon queen who promotes eating on a tiny budget. You want to work with someone whose blog reflects your brand's values. So now to the nuts and bolts, what is it gonna cost?
[00:06:02] Georgiana Dearing: Typically, food bloggers are gonna be priced in the range of 1500 to $5,000 a post. And here's what you get. You're gonna get a unique article, a set of photos using your product back links from their site, if it's a post from their blog, and you'll get an opportunity to define the topic. But what you won't get is full creative control.
[00:06:26] Georgiana Dearing: Or unlimited revisions or unlimited storage of your photos, or file manage, or even the photos back, unless it's part of your contract, you're not gonna get specific recipes or cooking styles unless you specify that upfront in the contract. And you're not gonna get extended use rates of the text and the images, anything it you are paying essentially to be put on their site.
[00:06:54] Georgiana Dearing: So you're not gonna get all that back unless it's in the contract. So you should have a scope of work in mind before approaching a food blogger. If you're introducing a New Spice version of your product, you should specify the types of menus or the time of year or accompanying ingredients that you know work for the product.
[00:07:15] Georgiana Dearing: You may wanna share some of your market research to help the blogger understand how to frame your products for the right audience. Another tip is absolutely upfront. Ask the blogger about your use rights. Before you sign any contracts, ask for use rights for the recipe. Ask for use rights for the photographs.
[00:07:36] Georgiana Dearing: Ask if you can have access to or purchase any B-roll or additional photos that are not used on the blogger sites. Now these may come with additional expenses, but if you're putting some time and energy into getting sort of one hit on someone else's site, you want to figure out what you can sort of add onto that project that you've got on your side.
[00:08:00] Georgiana Dearing: They become sort of evergreen for your brand. I wanna insert a note here about influencer marketing too, cuz this is a real profession. The less you pay, the less professional are the results, and never, ever considered playing an influencer with free products. It lessens the value of the work and it is insulting to professionals.
[00:08:25] Georgiana Dearing: I've worked with low level influencers in the past at a client's request, and honestly, it cost more in time than it was worth because the work is free. They missed deadlines, some never followed through, and getting them to give contact information took forever. There are platforms to manage those services for you, but there are fees attached.
[00:08:49] Georgiana Dearing: And you don't always get much control over who accepts your offer. So you need to think about what type of influencer you really wanna work with, and my recommendation is to work directly with an establish food blogger. Now the appropriate place to give out free products is as part of a PR campaign or another marketing effort where you're trying to get feedback from a publication or inclusion in a buyer's guide.
[00:09:14] Georgiana Dearing: So there are places for free food, but I wouldn't put that as a core part of my marketing strategy. So food bloggers are gonna make a recipe with your product, but another route to go is to actually work with a recipe developer. And not all bloggers are going to let you post their content on your site either.
[00:09:37] Georgiana Dearing: Now, recipes, just to be clear, recipes themselves can't be copywritten like a list of ingredients, but any of the words around that, that is owned by the writer. So if you want recipe content that can live on your site, you might consider hiring a recipe developer. Now, unlike bloggers, Recipe developers are chefs or food scientists or home economists that you hire directly to create a recipe just for your brand.
[00:10:06] Georgiana Dearing: Now, these projects can be fee based, meaning a flat rate charge, or they may charge you by the hour for the time spent testing recipes. So expect to also pay for the ingredients used in the creative process. What it costs. Recipe development can be 500 to $1,500 a post. There are some that trend higher, but I see people working at this lower end, and sometimes it's a food blogger who's just selling the development part and not any of the written content.
[00:10:36] Georgiana Dearing: So what you get, you get a new recipe using your product. You get instructions how to make it, and you'll get unlimited use of the recipe. Here's what you won't get. You won't get unlimited revisions. You're not gonna get the supporting blog post unless it's specified in the contract, and you'll expect to see fees for that.
[00:10:56] Georgiana Dearing: Again, you're not gonna get photos either, unless it's specified in the contract. You're not gonna get social post unless it's specified. So this is where this recipe development starts trending over into working with a food blogger or an influencer except. That this is a direct hire. You've asked them to do something for you that you then own on your side, so other things might be included, social post, the email copy, but what you won't get, you won't get any influencer traffic back to your site because this content's not gonna live outside of your domain.
[00:11:33] Georgiana Dearing: Food bloggers and recipe developers are both good choices for a food brand. It just depends on your marketing goals and the time and effort you can invest. A food boger who posts on their site can help raise awareness of your brand to a new audience and provide validated back links to your site, which helps improve with your organic SEO search results.
[00:11:57] Georgiana Dearing: On the other hand, a recipe developer can give you a piece of content that you can repurpose for years to come. Another thing to consider when you're trying to improve the copy for your brand is to hire a professional writer. And one way to get evergreen content is to form a relationship with a writer who will develop your brand story over multiple posts.
[00:12:19] Georgiana Dearing: When you find a writer that you're comfortable working with, They can help you set the tone for the user experience on your site and they can help you present your best self. This is gonna cost you 50 cents to a dollar word, but really good writers are gonna be fee-based in the 300 to $750 a post, really depending on the length of the article.
[00:12:42] Georgiana Dearing: So what you'll get is unlimited use of the text content that's formatted for blog posts. You'll get writers who have specific areas of expertise. They'll be niche writing for product descriptions or case studies or owner bios, LinkedIn profiles. Along with other content, you'll get SEO keyword inclusion.
[00:13:04] Georgiana Dearing: Now, this means putting keywords into the content, and this really depends upon the contract and the skill level of the writer. They may recommend them, but you may need to recommend the keywords that you want used in your content. What you won't get, you won't get unlimited revisions. You won't get the blog posted to your site.
[00:13:24] Georgiana Dearing: You won't get photography. You might get recommendations for like copyright free photography, but you won't get photography, new photography for your brand. You won't get email copy unless it's as specified in the contract. Again, same thing for social posts, and of course you're not gonna get that influencer traffic or back links.
[00:13:44] Georgiana Dearing: What you're gonna get is content that you can use on your site and you can tweak and repurpose however you want, whenever you want. I wanna insert a note here about writing dashboards, cuz there are lots of places to get affordable writing online. You can set up an account with companies like Writer Access, Upwork, and Copy Blogger.
[00:14:05] Georgiana Dearing: And before I go on, I wanna clarify what I consider good resources for content writing. At the start of the pandemic, places like Fiver were better resources than they are now. Competition has really driven costs way down. And most of the content creators I see on those types of platforms, those gig platforms are non-native US English speakers, and many of them have to be using AI technology to hit the prices in that five to $10 per article range.
[00:14:35] Georgiana Dearing: So you wanna be cautious about your dashboard selection, but writer access is one I've used in the past. I have copy bloggers, a good one. You wanna find one that is a good place where you can put your job descriptions out there and understand that you're going to get a decent response on what you put up.
[00:14:55] Georgiana Dearing: Writer access has got account reps who can help you as well. So on these dashboards. It's gonna cost you 5 cents to 15 cents a word, and it's gonna cost you 50 to $150 a post. Again, really depending on the length of the article. But as you can see, the difference between working with a freelancer directly one-on-one and working through a dashboard is you're gonna get some cost savings there.
[00:15:24] Georgiana Dearing: You'll get a clean professional writing on a dashboard. You'll get short turnaround times. You get cost effective solutions and you'll get tax that is optimized following your SEO direction. What you're not gonna get is strategic writing, or you're not gonna get a lengthy relationship with someone who's gonna take a deep dive into your brand.
[00:15:46] Georgiana Dearing: That's what you're gonna get when you work directly with a freelancer one-on-one, someone you know, first and last name, and can email directly, is gonna become more of a partner instead of a hired gun. You're not gonna get unlimited revisions either, and you won't get email copy, social post unless it's specified in your project description or in the way the dashboard is set up.
[00:16:10] Georgiana Dearing: Like you can add all of these things on. I know for sure in write access. There's a few other platforms that are very similar. That's just my most recent experience as of this writing. I'd have to be scratching my brain for a year or so back to go into other platforms. So the difference again from a one-on-one and a dashboard is a professional writer is someone who's gonna spend some time with you over multiple projects.
[00:16:36] Georgiana Dearing: Things will get better and improve over time. The dashboard is gonna be very cost effective, and it's gonna take some direction from more direction from you. But the third option in getting a custom writing for you is gonna be higher. A marketing expert and hiring a marketing expert is going to be your biggest investment.
[00:16:58] Georgiana Dearing: But don't let the price scare you away if you find a good, vetted and reliable professional. The money you spend with an expert in food marketing can provide a return for you over the life of your brand. I recommend hiring someone with expertise in food marketing and not someone with a varied portfolio.
[00:17:20] Georgiana Dearing: I know that I'm speaking to you as a marketing expert who specializes in food marketing, but I've been the person who cleans up behind other marketers who Ms. Key elements that are necessary to the industry. There are things that are specific to the food industry that your marketing partner should know.
[00:17:40] Georgiana Dearing: It's a confusing industry and you want someone who can add insights to your brand, not someone that you need to educate. That's a waste of your time. Plus, there are so many things you don't know that you don't know about selling food in retail and a marketing expert is a person to work with when developing your brand messaging and your core communication strategy, branding projects can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and it's critical work.
[00:18:09] Georgiana Dearing: Once that work is completed, you may also work with your original team for content, but a more likely scenario is to hire a writer with expertise in creating marketing content. So working with a marketing expert, what does it cost? You'd expect prices in the 150 to $250 an hour range. Now project minimums are also gonna be, hmm, at the low end.
[00:18:34] Georgiana Dearing: I've seen some at 500, but really you're gonna see project minimums of like $5,000 or higher and expect to pay a premium if the process goes beyond the original scope of work. Really good creatives in the marketing field are not going to be billing by the hour. They're going to be project billing.
[00:18:55] Georgiana Dearing: Because if they work faster and smarter, wait, think about this. If you're paying by the hour, if they work faster and smarter, they're gonna actually realize a lower return on their income. So expect to pay for a fee for a whole project. But if you go out of the original scope on that project description, cuz there's gonna be a contract in place, if you for some reason change direction or.
[00:19:23] Georgiana Dearing: Get mired in too much feedback. You will pay a premium price for those extra rounds of proofs. So you want to understand how their projects are being priced, and you wanna have a partner that you really can trust, someone who gets you. So spend some time getting to know them before you start a project.
[00:19:44] Georgiana Dearing: Here's what you will get though. You're gonna get much higher level writing. You're gonna get SEO and keyword suggestions and strategy. Really. You're gonna get the strategy when they do that brand review, and then they're gonna tell you what SEO tools you should be using in your content. You're gonna get branded messaging, you're getting an understanding of your market and your audience.
[00:20:08] Georgiana Dearing: And they're gonna help you or give you a way to express the point of view for your brand. So maybe you're a fun and funky breakfast experience. They're gonna help you choose the language that best expresses your brand to your target audience. You'll also get unlimited use of the text. You bought it, you own it.
[00:20:31] Georgiana Dearing: And you'll get content formatted for the publication. What you won't get are unlimited revisions. You won't get a blog posted to your site unless you have an execution part of your contract or photography. Again, if you're just hiring them to write articles for you after you've done that brand development.
[00:20:51] Georgiana Dearing: You're not gonna get email copy of your social post. It really depends on what kind of do it for you service that you have added on after you've done your initial work with that marketing expert. And you're not gonna get the influencer traffic unless it's part of a paid for influencer campaign, which is another whole animal, right?
[00:21:11] Georgiana Dearing: So I just named a whole bunches of ways to get words to express your brand. So, where should you invest and why should you invest in a particular type of content writer? Well, food bloggers are best if you're looking for influencer marketing that's gonna drive traffic to you, or a recipe development that's using your product.
[00:21:35] Georgiana Dearing: They're also a great place to start in the do it for you category. If you don't have a bully fledged marketing strategy in place, and you have the funds to invest, You can hire a food blogger to get something done for you soup to nuts. You just need to know that the evergreen life of that content is not going to be super long unless you have use rates for it unless you are able to get it pulled over into your channels that you communicate through.
[00:22:06] Georgiana Dearing: Recipe developers are the place to go if you want unique recipes for your brand and you want those unlimited use, right, right from the get-go. A professional freelance writer is someone that you could hire when you want content that follows your strategy or when you're gonna go into a product launch, or if you're gonna add regular library additions to your content machine.
[00:22:32] Georgiana Dearing: So you might hire a freelancer a few times a year to sort of add some evergreen content. To the your site and to your marketing program. Writing dashboards is the place to go when you want content that follows an established system. So they can also be a place to go to get support content for existing campaigns.
[00:22:55] Georgiana Dearing: So maybe you hire someone to write that big article and then maybe you go to the dashboard to get your email copy, your social posts and catalog copy. Basically iterations of something that someone else has generated for you. Professional marketers are the place to go when you need a soup to nuts, customized strategic content.
[00:23:16] Georgiana Dearing: And really the best way to invest in writing is to use a combination of all of these resources. If you're just starting out with content marking, like I said, maybe a food blogger is a place you can start. Is it done for you service? And it'll give you content that'll drive content to your site. But as soon as you are able hire a marketing expert to create a solid content strategy for your brand that is in alignment with your sales goals, then continue to use the experts for some of your content marketing, but supplement it with lower cost resources.
[00:23:50] Georgiana Dearing: For example, when you launch your new product, hire the marketing team to frame your go-to-market strategy. Have them write the key messaging points and possibly a handful of articles, but use writer access or another dashboard service to create the companion email campaigns, the social media post and your press releases.
[00:24:08] Georgiana Dearing: And if you work with a recipe developer, you can hand the recipes off to other writers to create blog posts, social media campaigns. In email marketing, you really need to come up with a solution that's a good fit for your brand, your budget, and your style of working. And as always, I recommend spreading the spin.
[00:24:28] Georgiana Dearing: This is my very last thought about writing, but you should always plan to spread the spin when you're considering hiring a writer. Take a moment and plan how you will use the content on all the communication channels you control. Where will it live on your website, your sell sheets, catalogs, and point of sale, your packaging, your email marketing, and of course your social media streams.
[00:24:54] Georgiana Dearing: You'll need to tweak the content a bit to adjust it to where your reader is receiving it. You shouldn't just cut and paste without a good edit, but social streams can be light and fun, but sell sheets and sales emails should convey that your brand is a reliable partner. So there's some tweaking to do.
[00:25:12] Georgiana Dearing: You are already communicating on those five channels. So instead of creating something new five times over, add a minimal percentage to your budget and cover all the avenues with each project you pick up. Now if you need help with your content strategy, that's exactly what I'm here for and I'm happy to jump on a half hour call to answer any questions you might have cuz I see you out there doing all the work.
[00:25:38] Georgiana Dearing: Let me help you make it easier and get you a bigger return on your investment. And that's a wrap my friends on another Marketing Monday. And thank you so much for spending some time with me. If you enjoyed this episode. Please hit that like or share button. It's the easiest thing you can do to support a small business.
[00:26:01] Georgiana Dearing: And please also subscribe to the podcast wherever you stream, and you won't miss another bite of good food marketing. Thanks for listening, and if you wanna learn more about how to grow your own food brand, then click on Grow My firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're a lover of local food, then be sure to follow us.
[00:26:22] Georgiana Dearing: We are at VA Foodie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Join the conversation and tell us about your adventures with Good. Food, good people and good brands.