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Once someone gets a taste of what you’ve made, are they hungry for more? Creating and consuming great ingredients is no different than making and consuming a delicious, healthy meal. Both of these have a direct impact on our mental and physical health. Like chefs, creators must understand the importance of our audiences engaging with our creations, making them feel better and crave more.
Just as we watch what ingredients we consume in our bodies, we must watch what information we consume in our minds. As creators, it’s important to handle this responsibility carefully, knowing that your content can affect one’s mood, energy, and experiences. Are you creating content for human consumption?
Let’s dive into the analogy of successful content creators as professional chefs. When we approach a content strategy from a chef’s perspective, we are able to compare something tangible and relatable (creating a food experience) with something new and less familiar (developing a content strategy). Here are six steps to develop an effective content strategy:
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1. Creating Menus: Content Strategy
We begin construction with the end in mind. We know that we want our audience to feel and taste our ingredients when they walk out of our tables. Our content strategy is the menu that outlines our plans for what delicious ingredients we will serve. Understanding the value of investing time and energy in strategic planning of our ingredients, recipes and thinking through the profiling of the big-picture experience is essential.
We might think of planning our content strategy as we would a multi-course meal. We want content that acts as an appetizer or lead magnet. It gives our viewers a small taste of what is to come. At Appetizers, we aim to make them click on our profile who crave more. With content, it can look like an entertaining video using trending audio that grabs attention or an inspirational video that seems relatable and solves a personal problem for them.
The core curriculum, the bulk of our content, is where we bring the most value. It should include a variety of videos that educate, engage and build relationships. Each member of the audience should feel as though they are sitting at the chef’s table with warm bi-directional conversation, answering questions and learning together.
Lastly (and my personal favorite), we must include the dessert. We want to sprinkle in opportunities for surprise and delight. It’s the food that changes our audience’s perspective, fills a craving and leaves them thinking about their experience – eventually coming back for more. For creators, it’s the content that captures clicks and converts audience members from passive audiences to a community of subscribers and fans.
2. Cuisine and Customers: Know Your Niche, and Understand Your Audience
Before buying a material for any course, we should prepare with careful research. We need to be clear about who we will serve, as well as what tools and materials we will use. When you research your target market, you have a strong understanding of your ideal audience. The first step is asking yourself: “Who am I cooking for?”
Each experienced chef creates a meal with a specific guest in mind. What do they like or dislike? What are they hungry for? Where will they consume it? What are their consumption habits? Do they prefer a variety of smaller bites or larger fruity portions? What are they craving that they can’t find anywhere else?
Choosing your niche is like determining which cuisine to specialize in. Which subjects do you know best? Who are you most comfortable with? If you cook these kinds of ingredients every day, will you still be excited to keep cooking?
As a chef chooses his dish, an ingredients producer selects his ingredient columns. It’s no coincidence that your favorite restaurants are consistently good, whether by day or by meal. A great cook is reliable and consistent no matter what they serve. You want some excellent recipes that you can make once you understand what works and what your audience wants. Not everyone will like what you cook. It means you are doing it right. The more you engage with the desires of your unique personality, the more your ideal customer will engage with your creations.
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3. Maker’s Kitchen: Tools and Techniques
Think about what kitchen you’ll be cooking in and what appliances you’ll be using. Which equipment is worth the investment? Meet your audience where they are. This means, for example, identifying which platforms are best suited for your particular audience and where they are already congregating. Similarly a Michelin star chef will find his ideal location before building a restaurant. Keep in mind that being a user on a social media platform is very different from being a creator. Just like eating in a restaurant is very different from cooking in their kitchen.
This is how chefs ensure that their guests engage with the food they cook and keep coming back for more. A successful content creator considers how their audience will consume their content, much the same way a professional chef understands their guests’ preferences before serving food.
4. Identify the Ingredients: Recipe Reel
Now that you have researched and understood your ideal customer, the next step is to identify the content. Identify what is most important to them and the environment or distribution method in which they prefer to consume. This allows chefs to design a custom menu and dining experience that aligns with the unique interests and preferences of consumers.
Creators must have a profile feed of five-star “recipes” with consistent quality serving a target audience. When your ideal audience looks at your recipe reels (the menu of ingredients in your feed), everything should be so appealing to them that ordering just one thing seems impossible.
We must create consciously, knowing that our audience will eat our ingredients on their mind, just like a cook carefully chooses what ingredients their guests will put into their bodies. It can be scary to experiment with new techniques or try out new materials that you haven’t mastered yet, but it’s the only way to hone your skills and better understand your audience.
As consumers, we know how unhealthy food changes the way we feel. It lowers our energy level and changes our mood. We want our content to be made for human consumption. We want our feed to fill an audience and change the way they feel for the better.
5. Business Presentation: Initial Impressions
You’ve got all that planning done now, before you hit publication. Now it’s time for your visitors to enjoy your dish. Remember: Presentation is key to the initial impression.
What’s the difference between someone cooking at home just a hobby from a professional chef? This is his presentation, practice and professionalism. Everyone appreciates a menu with clear titles, listed ingredients, and professional photos. Adding thumbnails to your short-form videos is an easy way to take the recipe reel on your feed to the next level. It’s that extra touch that will impress your audience and make it easier for them to binge your content.
How can you transition from creating content for entertainment to building a digital brand? Successful content creators consistently provide high quality content. Like a world-renowned chef, you must build your brand and your reputation so that people will want to share, remember and return.
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6. Serving Surveys: Iteration and Analysis
The last and most important step is actually serving the food you’re cooking. Don’t let perfectionism cause you to throw all your hard work in the trash for fear that it’s not enough. It is always better to serve food than to keep it in your draft.
Even if you’re not 100% confident in your food or your ingredients, the best way to grow and improve is by actually sharing your creations with others. That way you can get direct feedback on what works and what doesn’t in real-time. Keep in mind that service can make or break the dining experience. If you serve a great meal, but you’re an unreliable server, it can make your audience more willing to share honestly. Ask your audience questions, answer their messages, and join the conversation to learn more.
Instead of guessing what your audience will like, you can simply serve it to them and talk to them about it. Survey their experiences, and analyze the results. This will inform how you plan and iterate future meals.
The content you create can change how someone sees the world. It has more impact than you may have realized. Create with intention, and prepare with mind. Ask yourself: is my content made for human consumption? If so, grab an apron, choose a kitchen, and prepare the ingredients. Your audience is waiting—and they’re hungry!