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When someone gets a taste of what you create, are they hungry for more? Creating and consuming great content is no different than creating and consuming a delicious and healthy meal. Both have a direct impact on our mental and physical health. Creators, like chefs, must understand the importance of our audience connecting with our creations, leaving them feeling better and wanting 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 critical to shoulder this responsibility carefully, knowing that your content can influence someone’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 content strategy from a chef’s perspective, we’re able to compare something tangible and relatable (building a dining experience) to something newer and less familiar (developing a content strategy). Here are the six steps to developing an effective content strategy:
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1. Elaboration of the menu: content strategy
We start by building with the end in mind. We know how we want our audience to feel and taste our content when it leaves our table. Our content strategy is the menu that outlines our plans for what delicious content we will serve up. It’s essential to understand the value of investing time and energy to strategically plan our content recipes and think through an overall experience scheme.
We can think of planning our content strategy as we would a multi-course meal. We want to have content that serves as an appetizer or a lead magnet. This gives our audience a little taste of what’s to come. In the teaser, our goal is to get them clicking on our profile wanting more. With content, it can look like an entertaining video that uses trending audio that grabs attention, or an inspirational video that feels relatable and addresses a personal issue for them.
The main course, the bulk of our content, is where we provide the most value. This should include a variety of videos that educate, engage and build relationships. Every member of the audience should feel like they are sitting at the chef’s table with warm two-way conversations, answering questions and learning together.
Lastly (and my personal favorite), we have to include dessert. We want to spread opportunities to surprise and delight. This is the meal that changes our audience’s perspective, fills a desire and leaves them thinking about their experience, and ultimately coming back for more. For creators, this is the content that captures the click and turns audience members from passive viewers into a community of customers and fans.
2. Cuisine and Customers: Know your niche and understand your audience
Before buying a single ingredient for any course, we need to prepare with careful research. We need to be clear about who we will serve, as well as what tools and ingredients we will use. When you research your target market, you have a better understanding of your ideal audience. The first step is to ask 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 small bites or large, fruity portions? What do they wish they can’t find anywhere else?
Choosing your niche is like deciding which cuisine to specialize in. What topics do you know best? What do you feel most comfortable with? If you cook this kind of content every day, will you still be excited to keep cooking?
As a chef chooses his cuisine, a content creator selects his content pillars. It’s no accident that your favorite restaurants are consistently good, regardless of the day or meal. A great chef is reliable and consistent, no matter what he serves. You want to have a few great dishes that you can play around with once you understand what works and what your audience wants. Not everyone will like what you cook. That means you’re doing it right. The more in tune you are with your specific persona’s desires, the more your ideal customer will connect with your creations.
Related: The Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Niche and Target Market
3. Creator’s kitchen: tools and technology
Think about what kitchen you’ll be cooking in and what tools you’ll be using. Which tools are worth the investment? Know your audience where they are. This means, for example, identifying which platforms are best suited to your particular audience and where they are already congregating. Just as a Michelin-starred chef will find his ideal location before building a restaurant. Keep in mind that being a user of a social media platform is very different from being a creator. Just like eating in a restaurant is very different than cooking in your kitchen.
This is how chefs make sure their guests connect with the food they cook and keep coming back for more. A successful content creator considers how their audience will consume their content, just as a professional chef understands the preferences of their guests before serving them a meal.
4. Identify ingredients: recipe coils
Now that you’ve researched and understood your ideal customer, the next step is to identify the ingredients. Identify what is most important to them and the environment or delivery method in which they prefer to consume. This allows chefs to design a personalized menu and dining experience that aligns with consumers’ unique interests and preferences.
Creators should have a five-star “recipe” profile with consistent quality that serves their intended audience. When your ideal audience looks at your recipe reels (your feed’s menu of content), they should be intrigued by everything, so much so that it seems impossible to order just one thing.
We must create intentionally, knowing that our audience will consume our content in their minds, just as a chef carefully selects what ingredients his guests will put into their bodies. It can be scary to experiment with new techniques or try new ingredients that you may not yet have mastered, but it’s the only way to improve your skills and better understand your audience.
As consumers, we know how unhealthy foods change 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 a viewer and change the way they feel for the better.
5. Professional presentation: initial impression
Now you’ve done all that planning, before you click publish. Now it’s time for your audience to enjoy your dish. Remember: presentation is key to the initial impression.
What differentiates the cooking of someone from a home hobbyist to a professional chef? It is his presentation, practice and professionalism. Everyone appreciates a menu with clear headings, listed ingredients and professional photos. Adding thumbnails to your short-form videos is an easy way to take your feed’s recipe reel to the next level. It’s that extra touch that will impress your audience and make it simpler to abuse your content.
How can you go from creating content for fun to building a digital brand? Successful content creators deliver high-quality content consistently. Just like a world-renowned chef, you need to build your brand and reputation so people want to share, remember and come back.
Related: 4 Ways to Make the Best First Impression with Your Clients
6. Serving is survey: iterate and analyze
The last and most important step is to actually serve the food you cook. Don’t let perfectionism make you throw all your hard work in the trash for fear that it’s not enough. It’s always better to serve a meal than to keep it in the drafts.
Even if you’re not 100% confident in your food or ingredients, the best way to grow and improve is to share your creations with others. That’s how you can get direct feedback on what’s working and what’s not working in real time. Keep in mind that service can make or break a dining experience. If you serve an okay meal, but are an amazing server, that might make your audience more willing to share honestly. Ask your audience questions, respond to their messages, and engage in conversation to learn more.
Instead of guessing what your audience will enjoy, you can just serve them and talk to them. Survey their experiences and analyze the results. This will inform how you plan and repeat future meals.
The content you create can change the way someone sees the world. It has more impact than you might realize. Create with intention and prepare carefully. Ask yourself: Is my content made for human consumption? If so, grab an apron, pick a kitchen, and start cooking content. Your audience is waiting and hungry!