Why Content Marketing Is Like Celiac Disease

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Whilst a content driven approach is less frequent in the UK than the US, at least it’s becoming recognised as an approach that works.

However, it only works if you are committed to it.

It made me think whilst on holiday this week (in Center Parcs) about the gluten free breakfast that I ordered. Keep with me here, this will make sense. I am about to create an article that links content marketing with celiac disease, somehow I don’t think that will be a search term.

I suffer from celiac disease and as May is Celiac Awareness Month, does this mean that I am newsjacking?

To those who aren’t aware, celiac disease is a condition that causes damage to the small intestine. When someone who is celiac ingests gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley the effect is ‘turbulent’ and usually results in me having to find the nearest loo not long after (or in some cases I’m in bed for the next 48 hours).

Can I just confirm that cutting out gluten is not the equivalent of the Atkins Diet where it becomes a dietary fad and people think it’s all to do with healthy living. I wish it were so.

So, what is this link between content marketing and celiac disease?

Throughout Center Parcs there were restaurants that have their own gluten free menu. A few years ago this would have been unheard of and the only option if you had a burger, was to put the bun to one side and eat the burger with a knife and fork (I can confirm that is a rubbish way to consume).

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What began as a few single voices introducing adapted menus, has now become more and more restaurants that are now recognising that there is a specific audience who will buy from them. It works, it helps others and there are now more restaurants choosing the gluten free menu approach. There are also more and businesses adopting the ‘target a specific audience’ approach.

This is what I see with a content marketing approach over the past three years. What was once applied by a few is now growing in precedence as businesses understand this approach can work if they have a mindset of perseverance. For instance, if a restaurant took away a gluten menu it becomes a waste of time as what was originally committed to, is dropped. The time and effort to look at menus, see what ingredients work and then make it public becomes the equivalent of a campaign mindset where many give it a go for three months and then drop as it didn’t result in a doubling of turnover. Similarly, if businesses give a content approach a go for three months and then pull the plug, it becomes a complete waste of time, so I would say don’t bother if you are looking for an immediate return (you can listen to more on this subject in Marketing Homebrew show three).

We Haven’t Cracked It, But We’re Trying

While we’re still adapting to new approaches we have to hold our hands up and say that we haven’t the definitive answer, but at least we’re looking.

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Take for instance my breakfast. Gluten free bread, check, eggs, check, mushrooms, check, bacon, check, hash brown, hold on a minute that contains wheat! However, what person would say ‘no’ to a hash brown?

So, whilst restaurants can introduce gluten free menus, they may not be 100% by the letter.

This is what we are finding out with our current content efforts. A true content mindset is creating assets where you have complete control and the whole aim is to inform, advise and entertain an audience in spaces that are yours (the website, the blog, the podcast and email for example). However, sometimes we can creep back into self-promotional mode. Hands up here, we all do it on Twitter where we promote ourselves and our products and services. Hey, I’ve even got a book that has just been published, why not find out more about The Content Revolution.

I have been to a few restaurants that highlight gluten free options, but have been pretty uninspiring, such as the burger that was served between two slices of bread. Although it did take me back to my mum’s homemade McDonalds.

To do well you have to recognise the direction you need to go in to get better. Take for example the gluten free menu at Center Parcs, maybe in the future they can become an advocate for the celiac posse and create an offering that people want to travel to.

This is similar for our businesses, we need to understand the course we are on, so that in time, other people realise that we have values that they can associate with.

Our aim is to now create assets that are relevant to an audience and connect with a niche. This isn’t about thinking that you have to target everyone (don’t you dare think about buying that database of complete strangers, just because they are in an area you’d like to target), it’s about catering for an audience who will come back for more and know where you are.

A gluten free menu is there for people who know there is an alternative option that is just as valid as a ‘normal’ menu and tastes just as good. Similarly to the content that we create, it has to be for an audience who can take something from and come back (whether into a customer or advocate for your brand).

Recognising that a practice works can take your business in an alternative direction. See I told you that I’d make that link between celiac disease and content marketing.

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