Naturally Chicago Insights Series: Mastering Your Content Strategy with Simple Mills


In a world where content is king, it’s easy for consumers to feel inundated and tune out, making it extra difficult for brands to break through to bond with them. Even those who understand the important role content plays in their marketing strategy are often overwhelmed by where to begin and how to deliver engaging content.

In just a few short years, Simple Mills has earned an impressive following on social media, credited to a well defined content strategy playing a pivotal role in driving the brand’s massive success. The marketing mavens at Simple Mills joined us at SPINS last week to kick off the first inaugural Naturally Chicago Insights Series, covering best practices on how to master social media content and leverage influencers. For those who couldn’t join, we’ve recapped their top four pieces of advice to kick-start your content strategy and build an engaged social following.

(1) Know your consumer – and know your own authentic voice, too

At Simple Mills, we had a story and mission to share with our consumers, and there’s no better way to reach them than through social media. It’s an efficient, authentic way to depict a brand story. From the voice to the imagery, all content delivered on social media is meant to give consumers an experience that aligns with our mission. But we knew we had to find an authentic way to relate our story to their lives.

Our social platforms allow us to be, well, social! We have gotten to know our buyers through these channels, which enabled us to build better relationships. We paid close attention to how audiences were responding to different content and eventually honed our voice to feature food, recipes, lifestyle tips, and nutritional information that were integral to who we are and what we knew our followers were seeking out.

(2) Prioritize goals and measure against them to make the most of a limited budget

While social media is a highly cost-efficient advertising tool, budgets are always limited. To get the most out of your dollars, define and prioritize your goals, then measure accordingly. If awareness is your goal, choose eye-catching creative and aim for maximum reach/impressions. If you’re focused on trial, highlight product benefits and provide a clear call to action to entice clicks/purchases. If you’re targeting repeat buyers, invite interaction through contests and offer education to drive engagement. Most important is to pick ONE goal for each piece of content and gauge its success by that goal ONLY.

In the beginning, we allocated most of our budget towards driving awareness, allowing other programs (like demos and promotions) to handle trial and repeat. As our strategy has matured, we’ve slowly balanced this out. It’s important to consider your brand’s life stage in determining the right goals at the right time.

(3) Keep content creative – both the subject matter and how you source it

The foundation of your social media presence is your content. If it’s good, you’ll benefit in multiple ways: cost savings, increased sales, loyal customers, etc. But figuring out how to do that all the time can feel daunting. So when it comes to actually creating the content, don’t put all the pressure on yourself. You don’t need to come up with every idea on your own. Get creative on ways to source content! Look at Google trends to know what’s on your audience’s mind. Get your broader team involved by polling them for ideas, or, better yet, just ask your followers directly what they want to hear about next through contests and community polls. Featured in a recent article or cited in the news? Repurpose that content on your own platforms!

Another highly effective way to source top-quality content is by leveraging influencers and brand advocates. Our advice on influencers? Jump on the phone to vet out the partnership; don’t rely on email. Really get to know them to ensure your brands are authentically aligned, and pass on opportunities that don’t feel right.

For those with limited budget, micro influencers (<75K followers) are a great place to start. Although they have smaller followings, they tend to be highly engaged and eager to grow their own brand, which means more likely to want to partner with you for a low (or no) fee. More established macro influencers (75-500K followers) are unlikely to talk about your brand without a sponsorship, but they may be persuaded if they truly believe in your product and are well aligned to your brand. If budgets are tight, sending product samples can be an effective way of driving exposure.

And if you’re looking to grow your influencer network, lean on your current influencer partners to introduce you to others. Much like we’re in the business of networking, so are they! At Simple Mills, our influencer partners are an extension of our team. Much like hiring your own internal team, putting great people in place to help you on social will only amplify your opportunity to succeed.

(4) Test, measure, and iterate

Content marketing is an iterative, constantly evolving process – create, disseminate, amplify, analyze – and repeat! Remember your goals (awareness, trial, repeat), and measure against them (reach, impressions, clicks, purchases, engagement rate). Testing and learning is essential to mastering the content craft. Remember that failure is good if you learn from it. Embrace being wrong, and plan your next steps!

Thanks to the Simple Mills marketing team for sharing their insider tips on mastering content strategy. Stay tuned for the next edition of the Naturally Chicago Insights Series later this summer!