“Hi, my name is Jackie, and I love Twinkies,” were my first words at the local chapter of Twinkie Eaters Anonymous (TEA), a group that met clandestinely every week during the 8 months that Twinkies were off the shelves. Members reminisced about the snack cake, repeated rumors of secret bunkers full of Twinkies, and, in their most desperate hours, shared recipes for homemade, bootleg Twinkies. For me, and for America’s other Twinkie lovers, Monday, July 15, the day the Twinkie returned, will always be magical. For content marketers, however, the return of the Twinkie should be savored for its five delicious lessons:

Content Marketing Lessons

1. Unlock the Value of Content – Twinkies disappeared because Hostess could not find a way to make, distribute, and sell them profitably. Two private equity firms purchased Hostess’s assets and are trying to put them to better use. As an agency that offers content marketing, we help our clients efficiently deploy content to maximize ROI. Do you have valuable content locked away that you should be sharing?

2. Be Generous – The most successful content marketers give away WOW-worthy content. Right before Hostess closed up shop, its management decided to make the Twinkie smaller to lower costs. That management is gone. Rarely is it the right answer to a business problem to find a way to deliver less to your customer. In contrast, Glasses.com gives away a free tool that allows visitors to its eyeglasses site to use an iPad app to scan their faces and try on pairs of glasses virtually. By creating tools and content that make it easier to do business, Glasses.com is thriving and has garnered positive mentions of their tool and products. Are you consistently creating content that is WOW-worthy?

3. Play as a Team – The story of the demise of Twinkies has lots of possible villains. Some point the finger at the Baker’s Union because its members refused to make concessions that might have kept Hostess operating, even though segments of Hostess’s unionized workforce had. Regardless of who gets the blame, at some level, the failure is one of teamwork. Successful content marketing is a team game. It requires sound strategy at the conceptual level, a genuine understanding of the needs and wants of the audience, the creative talent to consistently create compelling content, the analytics talent to identify and track the right metrics, and the management talent to ensure that the day-to-day tasks happen and that the right course adjustments are made. Does your content team have all of the bases covered?

4. Extend the Shelf Life of Content – The new Twinkies have a shelf life that is three weeks longer than that of the old ones. Fresh for longer means more revenue to the private equity firms. As content marketers, we should be thinking of ways to extend the shelf life of the content we create and share in ways small and large. Perhaps, your business blog should give visitors easy access to its most popular and the most shared content. Perhaps, you can extend the life of the presentation you gave at an industry conference by putting it on a share site.

5. Master the Intricacies of Distribution – Two of the changes that the private equity firms made were to close the stand-alone Hostess stores and to contract with a company to bring Hostess snacks to smaller C-stores that previously did not carry them. Although the results are not yet in, I predict smarter distribution will result in lower costs, higher sales, and more revenue. Where and how well you share your content makes a huge difference. Are you sharing the best content from your business blog on LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social sites? Do you have a program to reach out to influential bloggers to guest post? How could your content distribution be better?

Feel free to share your bootleg Twinkie recipes, your map to a Twinkie-filled bunker, or other lessons you learned from what the new owners of the Twinkie called “The sweetest comeback in the history of ever.”

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