At the beginning of 2018 we predicted that this would be the year of the recipe and that prediction is still on track. Not only have we seen an explosion in interest in our celebrity chef and white label recipe content, but retailers are making their recipes shoppable and smart appliance manufacturers are putting recipes at the centre of the smart kitchen. According to the latest L2 Content and Commerce report, savvy brands are partnering with influencers to produce content that connects with target audiences. In grocery, that means one thing: recipes.
Recipes are engaging and add real value to consumers, but a 'build it and they will come' approach misses the point of recipe content. Rather than adding recipe content to your e-commerce or lifestyle website and hoping for the best, a more structured recipe content strategy is required.
In marketing, everything begins and ends with data, and a recipe content strategy is no exception. Recipes are only engaging to those who have an interest, and data is the vital first step in understanding your customers' interests. It may seem like an obvious step, but when you are curating recipe content the importance of data cannot be overemphasised. Buzzfeed Tasty engages people for a variety of reasons, but the key to their success lies in their recipes. They understand their followers' interests. Their recipe strategy has been refined by intelligent use of data. Ingredients such as chocolate, bacon and cheese are the backbone of their recipes, many of which are creative and outrageous. Bacon-wrapped prime rib might not be for everyone, but Buzzfeed Tasty knows it will elicit a response. Similarly, if your data suggests that your audience comprises mostly of millennial parents on a budget, your starting point may be a budget-friendly take on current food trends with a family-friendly twist.
A Gartner study suggested that companies that employ personalisation strategies generate 20% more revenue than those that don't. Personalisation has moved beyond simply merging names into email subject lines. Consumers expect companies to personalise offers and website content in order to create a seamless browsing and shopping experience. Grocery retailers that offer loyalty cards and online grocery shopping have all the data they need to offer a hyper-personalised experience to their customers. Once you've curated your recipe content, the next vital step is putting it in front of the right people at the right time, and that's where hyper-personalisation comes in. Using behavioural data to analyse the browsing and shopping habits of your customers enables you to send a well-timed email with a relevant recipe or to personalise your website's homepage with a selection of Sunday roast recipes for a customer that logs in to do their weekend grocery shopping on a Thursday evening. Taking things a step further, 'intelligent content' is an exciting development that promises to personalise email content based on the time of day the email is opened, rather than when it is sent. Implemented correctly, hyper-personalisation of recipe content can make the customer feel more valued in a seamless, subtle way.
Make your recipes shoppable
Tesco and Sainsbury's are amongst the grocery retailers that have made their recipes shoppable. Amazon is also on board with shoppable recipes, partnering with Meredith and Fexy Media to make websites such as Allrecipes and Serious Eats shoppable. Shoppable recipes combine the inspiration consumers love with the efficiency they crave. Once you've curated recipes based on data, and employed personalisation strategies, the next logical step is to make those recipes shoppable. Shoppable recipes essentially act as an alternative to meal kits, enabling consumers to add recipes to their basket at the touch of a button. They may even represent a more engaging opportunity than meal kits because of the variety of recipes on offer. One website that does this right is Myxx. Their huge collection of recipes together with their partnerships with retailers such as Kroger mean they're well positioned to take advantage of the online grocery boom. Since companies such as ChannelSight exist to make content shoppable, it has never been easier to jump on board with this important trend in retail and recipes.
Create clever partnerships
The final step in creating a killer recipe content strategy is informed and optimised through the first three steps. Creating clever partnerships with food brands is a smart way to enhance your recipe content through leveraging the popularity of particular brands. Data enables retailers to choose brand partners that resonate most with consumers. Branded recipe content that is placed in front of the right person at the right time through hyper-personalisation will engage consumers in a fresh way. Shoppable recipes make this a mutually beneficial partnership. Not only do branded recipes re-engage consumers, but food brands benefit from being added to the basket by default.
The key to creating a smart recipe content strategy lies in truly understanding what your audience really wants. Whether the objective is to increase sales through a user-friendly, seamless website experience, or to increase brand recognition and participation through engaging videos and images on social media, giving the consumers a taste of what they really want remains at the heart of creating a recipe content strategy that works.