Launching a strong brand.

FoodBev.com is one of the leading food trade publications, specialising in “reporting and analysing change, trends and innovation in the international food and beverage industry”. It offers a broad range of services to inform the the food and drink sector, including printed magazines, podcasts, videos, newsletters, and global awards events. Its flagship publication is the website itself, which I developed and edited for seven years.

As managing editor of FoodBev.com, I developed the website, grew and maintained social networks, discovered, edited and uploaded stories to our proprietary CMS, produced videos and podcasts, conducted interviews, managed an editorial assistant, sourced and edited images, monitored copyright issues, proofread and rewrote other editors’ work, attended and covered industry events, and improved brand visibility as much as possible.

Taming the beast.

FoodBev became a beast to manage, and it was great seeing its traffic steadily climb. Not only that, its content was rich and interesting, focusing on innovation and new products in food and drink, as well as trade event coverage around the world.

I grew the brand from seed at the end of 2007, developing a community through social media and a strong LinkedIn group. By 2015, we had surpassed a million visitors a year, developing from its basic beginnings to becoming an evolving information hub that delivered news, insight, podcasts, video, galleries, events, newsletters and magazine subscriptions. We operated an advertising model, challenging the company to transform its publishing business. This led to the company changing its name to FoodBev Media.

Launching the FoodBev podcast.

The FoodBev podcast was hosted on Libsyn, with a feed through iTunes. Video was hosted on YouTube and Vimeo. I produced 70 podcasts for FoodBev, and hosted most of them. The podcast was a great success, showcasing not only our coverage of news and events, but highlighting our connections with important trade bodies, as well as some of the biggest names across the sector.

The FoodBev podcast, produced by Shaun Weston, was hosted on Libsyn and was aggregated via iTunes.

Galleries were published to Flickr, while our social media reach extended to Twitter and LinkedIn, the latter having a particularly strong following (14,000 members at the time).

The site back-end transformed over time. I managed this transition, taking it from a static, difficult-to-adapt design to a flexible and mobile-responsive portal with WordPress at its core.

Two instances of the FoodBev.com website, with an older design on the left, and the design when it was redeveloped for WordPress.

Consistent content development.

To ensure a consistent stream of content, I attended festivals, awards shows and conferences around the world, increasing our voice in the industry and procuring exclusive coverage of important trade events, such as Glanbia moving to gluten-free oats, and Tetra Pak’s innovation in packaging and recycling.

The idea behind FoodBev was to support the sale of magazine subscriptions. By the time of leaving, the website was the company’s core product, with surviving magazines set up to support the site. The company changed its name to reflect the name of the site, and has become one of the world’s biggest competitors for news, analysis and opinion of the food and beverage sector.

From its humble beginnings in 2007-08 to the time I left in 2015, and to its current status under new supervision, FoodBev represents the best of up to date online trade publishing, and I’m very proud to have played a part in its success.

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