The Parallels of Content Marketing and a Pink Butcher Shop
By Evelyn Hoover | August 11, 2023
What does a pink butcher shop have to do with content marketing? Here, MSPC VP of B2B content Evelyn Hoover shares three surprising content marketing lessons from a small-town butcher shop.
As we pulled into the small town of Wanamingo, Minnesota, my husband and I were puzzled and intrigued by the small pink building standing near the grain elevators. The sign outside, complete with a cowgirl cutout, proclaimed, “Blondie’s Butcher Shop.” We looked at each other and thought, what exactly is this? We knew we had to check it out.
I grew up on a family farm about 120 miles west of Wanamingo, so my father took me to butcher shops from time to time. The butcher shops of my youth were run by older men wearing blood-stained white aprons. The smell of blood and cigarette smoke hung in the air.
None of them was anything like Blondie’s. Everything about the place announces that it’s not your typical butcher shop. Blondie’s, a woman-owned and -operated (and mostly staffed) butcher shop, goes whole hog (forgive the pun) on creating a niche.
Blondie’s sells great products, including aged steaks, store-made brats, homemade rolls and buns, and much more, but the shop’s owner, Lindsey Loken, doesn’t stop there. Her approach to the meat industry parallels the content marketing advice given by Joe Pulizzi and Brian Piper in their recent book, “Epic Content Marketing Second Edition.”
- Know your audience. Loken, a native of the surrounding area, understands her buyers, many of whom live near the town of 1,100 people in southeastern Minnesota. From the “support your local farmer” type signage to the tongue-in-cheek “complaint department, press red button” (the red button is the center of a trap), to the country music streaming from the speakers, she knows what her buyers want.
Understanding audience needs (often before they know it themselves) is a cornerstone of content marketing. In chapter 10 of the book, Pulizzi advises, “If you are not striving to be the go-to number one resource for your industry niche, you are settling for the comfortable, whatever that means to you in goal-setting terms.”
- Stand out from the crowd. Eleven years ago, Loken became the fourth person to own a butcher shop in that same location. When she took over, she could have painted the building brown or gray so it blended in with the other buildings nearby. Instead, she opted for pink accents that visually shout, “Look at me.” She could have left the walls bare inside (and outside). Instead, she chose to decorate with some playful signs that show her shop’s personality.
Because Blondie’s is unique, it’s generated earned media, being featured on the National Geographic Channel as well as local TV news and newspapers. If the Wanamingo butcher shop, which has been in operation since 1937, closed tomorrow, it would leave a hole.
What if your content was gone? Would anyone notice? “If the answer is no, then you’ve got a problem,” Pulizzi says. “You should have your customers and prospects needing–no, longing for–your content. It ought to be part of their lives and their jobs.”
- Become a trusted expert. Loken has big plans to expand her reach. She recently launched a website that will include e-commerce options as well as videos to help customers get the most from their purchases. She is also active on the local legislative scene and the shop uses several social media channels. To give back, Loken teaches classes to local high school students on butchering techniques, as well.
It’s this same advice that Pulizzi offers content marketers: Become a trusted expert in your industry. It’s the way to sell more consistently. “Today it’s harder and harder to buy attention. You have to earn it. Earn it today, tomorrow and five years from now by delivering the most impactful information your customer could ever ask for,” he says.
As we drove away from Wanamingo that morning, I thought about Blondie’s and about content marketing. If you were to ask Loken, I think she would advise, “Don’t be afraid to try something that differentiates.” So go ahead and create content that truly stands out from your competition. Don’t get lost in the sea of sameness. Think pink. Think originality. Think like Blondie’s.