• Laura L.

Craft Brewery Content Creation Philosophies

Elevate your craft beer marketing content with these 6 philosophies.

We here at Hoppy Life Marketing started our brewing journey just like anyone else, in the garage…with orange buckets…not knowing what the hell we were doing, or getting ourselves into. Those early days were ROUGH. Lots of pitched batches, primarily due to stubbornness. I mean, we had watched every YouTube video around…so clearly we were ready to start making our own recipes. No? That's not a thing? Well we had to learn that one the hard way... But as we learned more, we grew. We finally made a few batches worth drinking and we learned to lean on other expert sources of information. The best repository of information we found was Brew Your Own magazine. We subscribed after the third tossed batch and haven't left the flock since. That's why when we came across their article on recipe creation philosophies, we couldn’t help but feel that they had created a roadmap for so much more than beer recipe creation. The same philosophies undoubtedly apply to marketing content creation. And so, we present, Hoppy Life's Content Creation Philosophies Based On The Recipe Design Article From Brew Your Own Magazine. (YAY for comically long titles!)

More is Better

When it comes to content creation, this is the one we are all guilty of. It's the, "I can't let them forget about me so I have to bombard them with EVERYTHING" mindset. Does it keep your name in front of people? Sure. Is it productive? Well, not always. Approaching content in this way can come across as confusing, disjointed and desperate. Does it really matter if they see your name, but can't tell who you are or what your voice is? This can become a real issue in the realm of the dreaded Instagram story. You know how this goes, we've all seen this brewery. Clips of a brew day, goat yoga, a Vietnamese/Cajun mashup taco truck, a concert announcement, a beard contest, bring your own record night, ladies night, 1/2 price night…stop me when you hear something you haven't heard/seen on the same story feed. It isn't that these ideas (or any like them) are bad alone, the underlying issue isn't the amount of content, or even the seemingly disjointed approach to providing information to the (potential) customers. The real issue is that there is not an attempt to pull these together into some kind of coherent statement about who you are or what you offer, aside from the things at your place on that day. If you are going to take this approach, posting about every little thing going on at the brewery, make sure that there is an underlying thread that ties it all together and communicates who you are through your voice. If you are using your IG story, or any platform for that matter, as just a calendar or bulletin board, you are missing a massive opportunity.

What Have I Got?

If you ask me, this is the hardest philosophy to keep on brand. That moment when you have officially run out of new ideas and you start looking around for some kind of inspiration…any inspiration. The key here is to keep your voice consistent, but yet apply it to the content ideas you find in your brewery or community. Highlighting the people in the brewery who might be the introverts behind the camera…I'm lookin' right at you brewers and cellar team (wink wink). Show off the hard work y'all put into that last community clean up day (it's always a good idea to highlight your team away from the brewery in places that mean something to your team). Using the content ideas around you, is critical to creating an authentic, consistent voice…one that customers can really connect with. Things to think about with this approach: People, location, community, customers, suppliers, and events (internal and external)

Tweaking Another Post

This is actually a little content strategy pro tip, reuse what you already have or have seen elsewhere (though with a few slight modifications to keep it fresh and applicable). Tweaking content from other sources, especially those that are well sourced, can be a way to accurately target your audience; meaning, if you pull content from a local magazine your target audience reads, and apply it to your brewery, odds are it will hit the mark with your target audience. This tactic is a good place to start and a great way to use what is out there to your advantage, but it is one that you want to use strategically, not everyday. You want to use it to enhance your voice and avoid becoming a mouthpiece for someone else's voice (at least consistently). Strategic use also applies to reusing your own content. Dusting off an old favorite isn't a bad tactic, but one that should be used sparingly and when the time is right. Say, the re-release of a popular beer, or a favorite live music act is making an appearance. It can be a way to conjure up nostalgic feelings about past events, while also promoting what is new and fresh with the brewery. As with all of these philosophies, moderation is key and strategic timing is crucial to the implementation of this one.

Every Post Tells a Story

A beer without a story is just a beer. It might be a really good beer, but it’s missing the depth that goes beyond the recipe and glass and touches the hearts of its drinkers. Similarly, content without a story is just content. It might be good, but it could be better. The best content should tell a story, your story. And while this philosophy seems fairly straight forward, it can take some real work to implement, especially on a consistent basis.

Story-telling content presents a great opportunity to introduce your brewery and team, develop your voice and share your mission with the world, creating brand advocates in the process. In this philosophy, though, it is crucial to go deeper than just the surface. If you are giving an overview of your brewery, or walking people through a brew day, fill them in on the ingredients, where they are from, why you selected them, what it will do for the beer. If you are introducing your team, do more than show their face and name. Share a little bit about their background, how they got in the industry, what fires them up and why they chose to be a part of the team.

In presenting your content as part of a story, it will do more than just draw an outline of who you are as a brewery, it will fill in the details with full, rich color. Don't be afraid to show more than success too! Authenticity has to include all aspects of the brewery life, wins and losses alike. Don't be afraid, tell the whole story…the REAL story.

The Roadmap

Borrowing from the BYO article, "if you don’t know why something is in there, leave it out". That is amazing advice for not only creating an amazing beer recipe, but also an amazing marketing content. This philosophy probably should have come first, as it seems to be the underlying factor tying many of these together. Decide who you are, who your customers are, where they are and what you want to communicate to them and when, then work backwards, always keeping that singular objective in sight. Each piece of content needs to have a "why". Why does this matter to my audience? Why am I sharing this? Why am I sharing it in this way vs another format? If there is no "why", then there is no point and your time could be better spent on something else. Having a roadmap for your marketing and content strategies is crucial to generating the results you’re hoping to achieve.

Less is More

This is the sign of an enlightened brewer, as well as a mature marketer. When we first start out homebrewing, we tend to look at everything through the lens of "more hops, more alcohol, more flavor!” This tends to overshadow any chance at using the nuance of certain ingredients to really develop a memorable beer. The same is applicable in content creation. Sometimes, in creating too much content, you can lose the nuance of what makes your brewery and team different. In the race to be everything to everyone, you lose what makes you different. If you only have so many hours in the week to devote to content creation, we’d recommend you spend that time creating less content, but at the highest quality possible. The algorithm gods would agree as well.

In Summary

The main lesson from all of these philosophies is centered around the importance of having an integrated marketing strategy, an identified brand voice and a tactical plan you can confidently execute.

Your objective in using these strategies (or any others you find along the way) should be to show people who you are and why they should care to invite you into their circle. When we find ourselves in a market where a new brewery is popping up every few weeks, it is critical to invest time and resources into your brewery’s marketing communications. Creating loyal brand advocates should be a top priority as those are the people who will stick with you, even when you're no longer the new kid on the block. So, go out and tell your story…the whole story - pitched batches, orange coolers and all.