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7 Content Marketing Tips from Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Five Guys Burgers and FriesI just read an outstanding article in the April issue of Inc. Magazine on Jerry Murrell and Five Guys Burgers and Fries (I’ll be going to my first Five Guys this week, so I’ll keep you posted). As of this post, the electronic version was not available.

Beside the fact that this is a must-read article for anyone in business today, I thought that Jerry’s take on business has too many similarities when it comes to thinking about your content marketing (yes, I know, of course I made this link).  Here are my key takeaways:

  1. Keep it simple. Jerry took his restaurant launch advice from JW Marriott – “Anyone can make money in the food business as long as you have a good product, reasonable price, and a clean place.” So many times in editorial content we make it harder than it should be.  “Keep a focus, make it relevant, make it actionable” for example is the simple way to go.
  2. Spend the money on the product and let the customer do the marketing for you.  In today’s social media world, this is possible.  Great research, insight and compelling content gets shared…IF the information is truly helpful, unique and relevant in some way.
  3. Never cut corners on content.  Your customers will notice. Jerry and Five Guys gets potatoes north of the 42nd parallel because they grow slower and are more solid. They soak all their fries in water so they won’t absorb any oil when they are fried.  The beef is never frozen and all burgers ordered are fresh. My favorite: always two slices of tomatoes…no matter what and even in the current tomato crisis. That’s Five Guys secret sauce.  Your content marketing must be different in some way.  I’m getting tired of all the sites I go to that simply just aggregate content all day or say the same thing as everyone else.  How does that help your brand story?
  4. Great content marketing doesn’t need a PR manager. Five Guys has never solicited a review because their product is that good.  Just look at this Twitter Stream on Five Guys. This one says it all. With valuable and compelling content comes mentions, interviews, word-of-mouth and more.
  5. Set parameters to your content – what you will and will not do or say. Take a stand. This might be my favorite.  Your content marketing MUST have a point-of-view that you stick with through think and thin.  Five Guys doesn’t deliver…ever.  When the Pentagon called up and wanted delivery, they said no, and then proceeded to put a 22-foot-long banner in front of their store that said “Absolutely No Delivery.” Today their business with the Pentagon has never been better.  Take a stand with your content. Chances are you’ll get rewarded for your point-of-view.
  6. Pay more for quality. I have this discussion all the time with marketers that want cheaper.  Cheaper is usually a bad decision.  Pay for quality content marketing and it will pay for you.  Five Guys has been using some of their vendors for over 20 years, even though some are more expensive.  (btw, paying can also mean dedicating quality internal resources as well.)
  7. Get your employees involved in your content marketing. Five Guys creates incentive programs for everyone in the company to perform better.  The same goes for your content marketing. Don’t wall off your content in marketing or pr.  Figure out a way to get the entire company to create content that helps your customers.

For more on developing your content marketing strategy based on these tips, check out this content marketing white paper from Junta42.