What Guacamole Can Teach Us About Content Marketing
What do guacamole and content marketing have in common? Columnist Quinn Whissen shares the key ingredients marketers need for a successful content strategy.
Let’s talk about guacamole.
No, really. Let’s…
The green, fresh delicious mush that we all crave — that dissolves in our mouth and is the perfect companion to the tortilla chip and a friend to the margarita. We all love it, and we can’t get enough of it.
Now let’s talk about content marketing. Maybe not as delicious as our green, gooey favorite, but just as desirable. A crop of blog posts and thoughtful strategies can equal success for the most consistent of marketers. The phrase “content marketing” is the subject of much discussion in the digital realm and is touted as the best and most relevant way to engage with customers, old and prospective.
The Content-Guacamole Link
So what do guacamole and content marketing have anything whatsoever to do with one another? (I know you’re wondering that at this point. Or you’re just hungry.) Either way, this really all has to do with one type of guacamole: Chipotle’s.
If you haven’t heard already, Chipotle recently released a full recipe of its tasty guacamole. The Internet reverberated with the news in every corner, and it seemed you couldn’t get away from this “hangry” post on Twitter, that avocado image on Facebook, and so on.
Oh, I cannot wait to try this! Chipotle Released Its Guacamole Recipe (For No Extra Charge) http://t.co/FD1lnS5oj0
— L. Marie (@LiteraryMarie) May 22, 2015
That’s kind of the the point, though, isn’t it?
This piece of “content” was highly useful to Chipotle’s hordes of followers who want to mimic the chain’s guac goodness at home. The key word here is useful — not groundbreaking. But it didn’t have to be. Guacamole isn’t that hard to make, and Chipotle’s version is pretty similar to every other recipe out there.
What made this different is that a very large company revealed an adored recipe to its fans to make on their own and had no qualms about giving away its, almost literal, “secret sauce” to its customers and competitors. The very act of doing this made the recipe go viral. (See also: Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s unveiling of his electric car patents.)
So why did Chipotle do it, and what can we take away from Guac-Gate of 2015 as content marketers? A lot actually…
Chipotle isn’t a mom-and-pop shop — it now has more than 1,700 locations. The biggest investor in its fledgling years was McDonald’s — hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars McDonald’s.
In an age of questionable business dealings and often more questionable food sources, this is a breath of fresh air, and Chipotle fans eat it up…literally.
Transparency is a concern for many businesses adopting a content marketing philosophy, and rightfully so. Traditionally, businesses have protected their intellectual property and processes under lock and key, hiding them away from the all-seeing eyes of their competitors. But, this isn’t how you win online.
We, as consumers and searchers, have reams of information at our very fingertips. If you aren’t providing the content we’re searching for, surely someone else is. So we’ll happily move on to forming a relationship with them.
Don’t let your prospective customers cheat on you before you even get a chance to go on a first date. Be open. Be honest. Be the best answer.
[pullquote]Be open. Be honest. Be the best answer.[/pullquote]
People buy from organizations they like. People like organizations they can trust.
Chipotle garners trust by being transparent about its ingredients, and also its follow-through, as in the case of the guacamole release. Think about it — can you really imagine McDonald’s releasing a recipe for anything? “Here’s how to make a Big Mac…Whip up your own McNuggets!”
Chipotle’s mythos of farm-fresh ingredients is perfectly reflected into the act of the recipe release. The only statement Chipotle released was this, which focused on providing value to its customers while hinting at the freshness of its brand:
[blockquote]“We know that you know that guac is extra, but have you ever thought about what makes it so delicious? Well, it starts with sourcing the best whole ingredients possible, and ends with a quick mash in our restaurant. In fact, it’s so easy, we’re going to show you how to do it…”[/blockquote]
As content marketers, providing information to people in need builds trust. And the more you become the source of information that addresses people’s specific needs, the more they will naturally form a relationship with you. Take it a step further and start to give them a complete experience with your content, and you’ll have them hooked.
People are looking for information that helps them make an informed decision. Businesses that gain their trust by providing this information will win.
Chipotle provided a recipe to its fans without much fanfare — a simple blog, gif, and text content. The act of transparency helps build a trusting relationship with its customers, which, in turn, creates a loyal following that always comes back for more.
Even though we all now have the recipe, most of us will still choose to go into a Chipotle location for the experience and convenience the whole brand provides…even if it costs $2 extra.
Trust begets loyalty. Loyalty begets trust. Both can be nurtured through content that is useful, relevant and helpful.
Take The Content; Leave the Guacamole
Now that I’ve explained why guacamole can teach us a lot about content marketing, I want you to forget about the guacamole altogether. Our favorite green topping may be a fun example to use to explore this idea, but it’s really just an opening to a larger conversation.
[pullquote]Transparency, trust, and loyalty are the most important ingredients for your content marketing.[/pullquote]
Transparency, trust and loyalty are the most important ingredients for your content marketing. These are the values that move your strategy forward, regardless of what content you may create. Remember to use these values as guidelines for your content marketing strategy, and you’ll be on your way to a delicious outcome.