Craft Beer and Website Content: When to Brew Your Own and When to Contract Out

Last time I posted, I talked about what homebrewing has in common with writing SEO content. Since beer is always a good conversation starter – whether you are talking about it or consuming it – I’m going to again compare brewing with what we do here at Brandpoint. Today, I’ll use the websites of our local craft brewers to help you determine when you should write your own Web copy, and when you should hire a professional website content writer to do the job for you.

When to hire a website content writer

For many companies, the top reason for hiring a website content writer from outside is simply, “We don’t have time to delegate this task to someone on staff.” While that’s certainly a good reason to hire someone to write your content, it’s also good to do a little thinking about how someone from outside your business might be able to help you best tell your story.

Here are a few types of content that lend themselves well to being written by outside content writers:

  • Content that aims to give the consumer a broad understanding of your products. A contractor can write content that will appeal to a general audience, not necessarily experts, so your website copy won’t fly over the head of your average consumer.
  • SEO-focused content. Working with a company that provides both professional writing services paired with SEO expertise can help you determine what your customers might be searching for, and position your content to be found in those searches.

An obvious fit for these types of services would be your product pages. Take a look at Minnetonka-based Lucid Brewing’s descriptions of their beers. It’s not filled with technical terms such as IBUs and OG, terms with which only beer snobs (I mean that lovingly) are familiar. Instead, they tell you how the beer tastes in terms the layperson can understand and how this beer can be best enjoyed.

Provide your content writer with as much information on your product as possible, so he or she can pick out what might be of most interest to the consumer.

When to brew your own

For brewers, there is a time and a place to talk about IBUs and OG, because there is a portion of the market that is interested in such things – it’s just that most of us aren’t. And since an outside writer likely doesn’t have the expertise to go there, this is the type of content that’s better kept in-house. Otherwise, you run the risk of sounding like this guy.

Minneapolis-based Harriet Brewing (update: no longer in business) does a great job of explaining their beers to the average person on their website, but they also provide deeper accounts of the brewing process through their email newsletter. These accounts are written by the brewer, who is really the only person in the world with the expertise to tackle this.

If you have insider or highly technical knowledge that’s worth sharing with a certain demographic, it’s best to write it yourself and deliver it specifically to that audience. Your personal blog is also a good place for this.

Where good website content and craft brewing meet

Craft brewers are excellent storytellers who are very adept at sharing information with potential customers. Craft beer connoisseurs are a very passionate lot who want to know everything there is to know about how the beer in their glass came to be and will go to great lengths to get the beer they love. Successful breweries draw back the curtain to let their fans in on the process, which does more to build their brands than any ad campaign ever could.

Many of today’s thriving craft breweries were doing content marketing before content marketing was cool, whether they knew it or not. The breweries with the best websites have also found that there’s more than one way to tell a story, which is where professional website content writers, in conjunction with the brewmasters, can help.

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