Why Cookbooks Are Great Examples of Creative Content Marketing

The original angle I had for this blog was about my 10 favorite barbecue recipes because well, it's summer in Texas and grilling outside is one of the best parts about it. Anything grilled or smoked with barbeque sauce is always amazing. Plus, I got a new cookbook a few months ago in the Texas Hill Country on a wine tour, and every recipe I've made from it has been better than the last. I also wanted to write about it because I'm a big believer in digital marketing being human and real, and not just for robots that don't have feelings or do things without computers. :) Believe it or not, all of us geeky marketers do actually still do many "normal" activities that don't involve computers like eating, cooking, and entertaining. Good food is something everyone can appreciate (although some of us do probably Google more recipes than others...or use apps like AllRecipes' dinner spinner to find ideas).

ThinkstockPhotos-510869414.jpgSo just for the hell of it, here are my three favorite summer barbecue items. Just in case any of you who don't live in Texas haven't tried them and are looking for new ideas for your July 4th festivities:

  • Stubb's barbecue sauce. The original is great but any version will do. The key here is that the flavor is more smokey than sugary, which is how much of the flavor is down here and can vary wildly across the country.
  • Smokers.These are for serious cooks. Throw pretty much any meat on these on low temperature for a few hours and your mind will be blown.
  • A good Texas cabernet sauvignon. Did you know there are over 300 vineyards in Texas? William and Chris has a beautiful vineyard in the Hill Country, and their wines are just as good. I'm no sommelier but Los Vascos from Chile also pairs pretty well in my opinion. It also has a great price for the taste at around $7.99, depending on where you get it. 

If you end up trying any of those, let me know how it goes! And if you have some barbeque or July 4th favorites of your own you want to share, feel free to add them in the comments section below.

So how does this relate to inbound marketing?

Well, it relates in a few ways. First of all, now that I've had a taste of the recipes from the Cabernet Grill cookbook, I will definitely be stopping in to check out the restaurant on a future trip. If it wasn't for the cookbook being sold at the right spot, I might not have known about it. I'd say that's a pretty good example of inbound marketing. But besides that, cookbooks aren't just for restaurants. Since we all eat, cookbooks can be a great way to attract new business or keep your name in front of current or past customers so they continue to stay engaged with your brand and come back. Here are a few examples of cookbooks created by organizations and companies that have nothing to do with the food industry:

1) Orange is the New Black

Seriously. 

“A fun read for fans of the Netflix series (lots of cast photos included!)—and a good primer for those who have only heard about the ladies of Litchfield—the cookbook features sixty-five recipes, divided by breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert, and drinks, each from a character on the show.”
—People.com

2) The Junior League of Dallas

"Long before Pinterest, there was the community cookbook, an authentic collection of shared recipes that told the story of a people and a place. We cooked from dozens of our dog-eared favorites to unearth vintage recipes for today's home cook."

3) American Girl Dolls 

"It describes the preparation and serving of foods during three time periods in American history: 1854, 1904, and 1944. It includes recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals."

The other great thing about these cookbooks is that you can create digital and hard copy versions of each book, allowing for maximum exposure. There are some great tools like issuu that can turn your PDF into a slick online magazine with a flip-through format tool for free or a low cost, depending on what you want.

Would a cookbook be a good way for your business to attract new customers or delight existing ones? Just remember to keep your target personas in mind and really flesh those out so everything resonates with them. I also recommend naming it something they'd be interested in like Cabernet Grill did with their Texas Hill Country Cuisine Cookbook. There's a reason why they didn't call it The Cabernet Grill Cookbook. They knew they would reach more people who are interested in the type of food they cook with a title that's about that, not them. And if a cookbook isn't the best fit, hopefully it opens up your mind to other out of the box ways of reaching new people or continuing to build existing relationships with creative content in ways that fit with your company's brand and goals. 

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Posted by Jackie Connors

Jackie Connors

Jackie Connors is the Founder & CEO of Digital Marketing Direction, a top tiered HubSpot partner based in Texas. She provides inbound training, consulting, and managed content services to mid market companies. Some favorites of hers include growth, Texas BBQ, and a good laugh!

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