This article first appeared as Anthony Bullick’s column in the Daily Post in August 2018. 

Whether B2B or B2C, the food and drink industry is incredibly competitive. A comprehensive PR and digital marketing strategy is imperative for brands to achieve success in today’s always-on world where people receive thousands of messages daily.

With resources, particularly time, a common hurdle, here are the must-do steps to maximise your chances of success.

Assuming a business plan complete with objectives exists, take time at the outset to understand your audience to increase the effectiveness of your activity. What content do they want? What problems do they have that you can solve? What channels are best to reach them? What format do they want the content in?

Once you identify a key topic or issue that you can address, map out how you can repurpose the content for a more cost-effective campaign. For example, you may identify five recipe ideas using a product you manufacture, which helps a caterer that is struggling to expand or revamp their menu.

Draft a blog post for each recipe and upload them to your website with step-by-step pictures. Film your development chef making each meal while discussing and explaining each stage of the process, and include these videos on each blog.

Produce printed marketing material showcasing the recipes, and deliver these to your customers along with their orders. In addition, send them to potential clients to illustrate the support and guidance they would receive by purchasing from you.

Contact trade media publications and influential bloggers that are read by your target audiences to earn coverage. An independent third party using your content as editorial adds huge credibility to your brand.

Share each piece of content, including media coverage, on social media and via e-newsletters. On social, use hashtags, tag relevant accounts, and use eye-catching visual content and engaging copy to grab, and retain, attention.

The content can also be used to boost your visibility in search results (search engine optimisation, SEO) for people searching online for recipe ideas. Pay-per-click (PPC), which is advertising in the search results, will allow you to place your recipe in front of a targeted audience.

As will paid social media, with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all viable options for boosting posts to ensure your content reaches as much of your target audience as possible.

Finally, interrogate and interpret your analytics and feed the data back in to your PR and digital marketing plan to constantly improve results.