Del Monte Foods released an interesting content campaign last November, with a focus on green bean casserole around Thanksgiving. 

The campaign involved cross-selling products and holiday cooking tips and used search, mobile social and TV, as well as lots of content. 

I've been talking to Viginia Moon, Associate Brand Manager at Del Monte about its content marketing strategy... 

How does Del Monte approach content marketing? What content campaigns have you launched? 

We try to incorporate content into most of Del Monte’s campaigns, primarily through videos and articles by bloggers and key influencers.  

Another good example, in addition to the recent Thanksgiving Green Beans campaign, is the Fruit Burst Squeezers Back to School campaign which we have executed in both 2013 and 2014. 

Moms and key influencers created articles to showcase how they incorporated Fruit Burst Squeezers into their children’s lunches and snacks and the reasons why.  

Video was also a big part of that. 

There were two key differences between the Fruit Burst Squeezers Back to School campaign and the Thanksgiving Green Beans campaign: 

  1. The Thanksgiving campaign featured commissioned content not only created by bloggers, but also by professional writers who were able to create custom, professionally written articles

  1. We were able to reach far more users within relevant content across a broad network of recipe sites for the Thanksgiving Green Beans campaign.  

    This provided more scale, and a much wider user-base than the Back to School campaign.

What are the challenges of content marketing for Del Monte? 

While we have overcome many challenges that come with content marketing, we are still navigating through the evolving space of content creation.

The primary ones that every content marketer has to face are:

  1. Guiding writers on what to say to ensure the content is in line with the brand values and campaign messaging without losing authenticity.

    We and our content suppliers need to brief content creators effectively to ensure that the content is in line with campaign messaging and brand values, but also ensures each author’s own voice comes through. They know their audience best, so it’s important to work with them that way. 

  1. Ensuring that the branded content enhances the user experience is imperative. Content created has to be specific to each product’s target audience, but to gain an appropriate return on investment, it must also be able to be scaled across the internet. 

What kinds of content did you produce? 

Del Monte enlisted the help of Vibrant Media, who commissioned content partner, Scripted, to develop compelling content to enrich Del Monte's existing branded content and to generate three pieces of original content: “Healthy Twists on a Holiday Classic”, “Top Ten Tips For Smart Holiday Entertaining” and an original green bean casserole recipe. Each item of content was developed exclusively for Del Monte.

We also asked 1,500 Americans to "go green bean" and rate their fondness for the classic green-bean casserole side dish to create the first annual “Del Monte Green Bean Index” — a ranking of the top 25 U.S. states with the highest concentration of green-bean casserole lovers for the holidays. 

Finally, through a partnership with PopSugar, Del Monte also commissioned content from bloggers to remix the classic Green Bean Casserole recipe in new, innovative ways to capture the attention of their audiences.

All of the content created across partners for this campaign, including the PopSugar blogger content, was aggregated in a custom Holiday Entertaining Hub that lived on Popsugar.com and helped the disparate pieces of content work together to tell the larger brand story for Del Monte.

Which formats and platforms worked best for you? 

Compelling, unique rich media placements were a key focus for us.

We wanted to present the Del Monte Green Beans content in an appealing format that not only engaged the audience, but also enticed them to read more content associated with the campaign. 

How do you measure the results of content campaigns?

Primarily, this campaign focused on dwell time, engagement rate and reach.

The average dwell time within the unit was 153% over industry average at 14.7 seconds. Due to a massive increase in content article views, the average engagement rate on the Mosaic unit as a whole was 220 percent higher than average at 30.72 percent. 

Secondary action on the custom hub was an important metric for this campaign, because it was vital to engage the user with the initial piece of content and keep their attention.

This ultimately deepened their relationship with our brand by associating Del Monte with high quality content aimed to improve and ease their everyday lives. 

With content campaigns there is no 'one size fits all' approach to measurement, because each execution has different objectives and the content produced can have different meanings.

It’s important to evaluate each campaign individually and determine what the campaign is trying to accomplish in order to define the metrics of success. 

In addition to achieving impressive rates of viral sharing, the Del Monte Green Bean Index content was covered on more than 100 media outlets — including top media outlets such as Bloomberg and Yahoo Travel, plus dozens of local TV news stations — garnering an estimated 80m total audience in less than two weeks.

Graham Charlton

Published 10 April, 2015 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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