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Beef Checkoff, Oklahoma Beef Council moving forward

Heather Buckmaster Oklahoma Beef Council
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

EDITOR’S NOTE: Heather Buckmaster, executive director of the Oklahoma Beef Council, is a regular speaker during Cattlemen’s Week every June in Pawhuska. She generally offers a presentation at the same luncheon where the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association announces its Hall of Fame inductees. Due to concerns about preventing the spread of COVID-19, that luncheon will not be held this June. The Journal-Capital offered Buckmaster the opportunity to share her comments this year in the newspaper.

COVID-19 has presented a wide range of challenges to beef producers and beef demand. The Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC), a nonprofit led by beef farmer and rancher volunteers serving Oklahoma’s 50,000 farming and ranching families through the Beef Checkoff, a federal commodity program, is working to address them.

For example, as restaurants closed and at-home food preparation became the norm, national Beef Checkoff staff, the OBC and state beef councils throughout the country worked to leverage an extensive content library, including ads, recipes, cooking videos and educational materials to help consumers safely prepare beef at home. Fortunately, the Beef Checkoff program was well prepared to focus on online education and digital marketing. The following represents a snapshot of state and national efforts.

Oklahoma digital marketing efforts

It started with a 10-month digital marketing campaign kicked off by OBC in November featuring YouTube and Google search advertising. The YouTube campaign showcased inspiration videos focused on highlighting beef’s nutrition, versatility, and taste; the people that raise beef; and the Steven Adams Academy of Smashing Steaks campaign. The Google search campaign concentrated on driving consumers to the OBC website, www.oklabeef.org, for information on topics like recipes and beef cooking tips.

At the mid-way point of the campaign – 136 days in – the campaign has delivered more than 3.6 million engagements. What does this statistic mean? It means consumers either watched an inspiration beef video or clicked to the OBC website for more information 3.6 million times. The campaign has resulted in 6.9 million impressions for beef, which is essentially the number of times consumers were exposed to OBC content.

What is most exciting is that the YouTube campaign had view rate of almost 50%, meaning five in ten viewers chose to watch and complete the entire video they were served. The campaign will finish in September, at which time the final results will be available.

In March when the NBA season closed down due to Covid-19, the OBC retargeted funds away from its Steven Adams Smashing Steaks campaign and toward a focus on inspirational beef videos on YouTube and Google search advertising focused on beef recipes and cooking information. Across the board, the Beef Checkoff has seen significant increases in consumers seeking more recipe and beef cookery education information. In fact, beefitswhatsfordinner.com has experienced a 65% increase in traffic to its website.

The checkoff launches multiple new videos

Grilling season kicked off with a new video, “Summer Grilling Season Brought To You By Beef Farmers and Ranchers.” Produced with the iconic “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” tagline and Aaron Copeland’s “Rodeo” music, it highlights beef farmers and ranchers’ role in making summer all about gathering around the table to eat beef.

The OBC has launched multiple new videos since April 1, 2020. The themes of the videos have highlighted the ranching community, easy cooking tips and recipes such as “prep ahead” and “meals and beef meals four ways,” Mother’s Day and health and fitness on the ranch. Check them out at facebook.com/oklahomabeef or on our YouTube channel.

National Beef Burger Day, May 28

The Beef Checkoff launched the National Beef Burger Day on May 28. This campaign resulted in 141 news stories with a reach of more than 30 million consumers, and a beef burger segment was included in the lifestyle show “Celebrity Page TV” which has an audience of 10 million. The campaign continued the next week as celebrity chef Lamar Moore did a live burger cooking demonstration on GoodMorningAmerica.com. There was also a contest for people to post photos of their burger creations for a chance to win a grilling set. Social media promotion of the National Beef Burger Day contest reached more than 3.5 million people and received over 16,000 engagements.

The OBC supported the campaign on social media. In addition, it hosted a beef burger feed with Eskimo Joe’s for the staff and volunteers at the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab who have stepped up to perform COVID-19 testing for Oklahoma. The event received coverage on KOCO-TV as well as on Eskimo Joe’s social media.

Inspirational story goes viral

In case you missed it – health coach Kiah Twisselman, formerly of the Kentucky Beef Council, was featured in People magazine for her inspirational weight-loss journey. The story was immediately picked up by “Good Morning America” and has generated more than 20 stories and growing in various outlets with a combined reach of more than 800 million. In the People Magazine story, which was facilitated by the checkoff-funded Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. team, Twisselman talks about her life as a cattle rancher and how beef was an integral part of her weight loss story. She shared “I felt so hypocritical up there sharing about the amazing benefits of beef and not looking like an image of health. And I was like, ‘I want to walk the talk.’”

To learn more about Beef Checkoff efforts in Oklahoma and across the nation and around the world, beef producers can visit drivingdemandforbeef.com and sign up for a newsletter mailed quarterly.