Food for thought on the revival of print content

Print is often touted as a floundering format. But marketers should pay attention to how food fans are using magazines to season their content strategies

The most recent data paints a mixed picture for print. Some of its devotees have witnessed impressive growth while others are just managing to keep their heads above water. Predictions concerning the platform’s doom continue to swirl.

Whatever the commentators say, the resilience of print can’t be questioned. Publishers continue to boost their content marketing efforts by harnessing its unique benefits.

The food industry provides an interesting case study. Although the companies listed below are actively employing digital strategies, they have made print a cornerstone of their marketing efforts.

So sit back, grab a knife and fork and get stuck in to this lip-smacking plate of content marketing inspiration.

Driving purchases

Here at Progressive Content, we produce a quarterly magazine for the foodservice industry – the aptly named Foodservice Consultant. In addition to keeping subscribers up to date with cutting-edge developments in the world of foodservice, it contains a wealth of information on new innovations.

The content benefits everyone. Consultants are informed about new industry developments while manufacturers gain a ready market that they can sell their products to. Steady and enthusiastic engagement means Foodservice Consultant has become a core part of Foodservice Consultants Society International’s (FCSI) efforts to connect with its members. The recent reader survey shows 91% of readers rating the editorial content highly and 63% sharing the magazine with friends or colleagues.


The favoured condiment of any profit-pursuing firm is a generous dollop of publicity. In the restaurateur’s cut-throat world, gaining an edge over rivals is essential.

Some chefs are turning to print for answers. Chef Thomas Keller’s Finesse magazine has been making the most of the format since 2010, providing customers with a glossy memento to remind them of their eating experience and create a dedicated fanbase for his American bistros and bakeries.

In addition to reinforcing guest experiences, Finesse offers a platform for Keller’s expertise on the culinary world. The combination of brand evangelism and wise insight encapsulated by Finesse represents some exemplary content marketing.

Keep it local

The benefits of giving your content a local twist have been thoroughly extolled on this blog, whether making the most of innovations in marketing technologies or acquiring an enraptured audience by taking a stand on local issues.

Celebrating local food has caused a stir from Cleveland to the Cotswolds. Although an online presence is important, print has taken centre stage as a content vehicle in both cases. According to Noelle Celeste, editor of Edible Cleveland, giving readers something physical to pore over has been pivotal to the magazine’s success: “It gets people excited when they see one”, she says.

Combining the convenience of digital content with the old-fashioned authenticity of hard copy has proved to be a recipe for success for local food fans. It’s certainly one worth experimenting with for content marketers looking to take their reach to new heights.

Know the audience

Waitrose shoppers are a distinguished bunch – TGI survey data suggests the average customer is a 49-year-old with a penchant for cooking and trying out new recipes.

The supermarket’s own publication, Waitrose Food, capitalises on these trends. The magazine offers cooking tricks and recipe tips at a time when a more mature audience increasingly favours print. It’s ideally suited to Waitrose shoppers and has proved to be a storming success since launch – there’s been a marked sales uplift in products mentioned in recipes and some impressive ad sales revenue to boot.

Waitrose Food mixes brand loyalty with originality to create a tasty mix of content marketing. Audience awareness is essential for content marketers as technological advances accelerate the pace of content personalisation – something the Waitrose marketing department has skillfully tapped into.

Your content marketing recipe should contain many ingredients, measured out accordingly. Used wisely, and to a high enough quality, print could well be the egg that holds it all together.

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