How Good Content Marketing is Like a Good Meal

beefchilenumbingoilGood food and good content have much in common.  This fact is often reinforced to me when I visit the offices of The Content Factor, a content marketing firm that conveniently shares office space with The Food Movement, who manage the largest food truck commissary kitchen in the southeast, and provide, cooking team building and other culinary challenges.  Often the two worlds intersect, as in “The Content Factor’s “Snackable Content” workshop that features a cook off where team members work together and then learn to write succinctly about the experience.

Upon reflection it occurs to me that there are several other connections that indicate the food and content go together well – like peanut butter and infographics ( er, jelly!)

Getting started is the hardest part.

You’re tired, uninspired, and feeling lazy.  Just getting started is the hard part. Ugh!  You have to come up with a plan, assemble the ingredients, spend time blending them together and serving up the final product, then hope that everyone likes it.   Am I describing cooking up family dinner or cooking up a blog post?  Whether it’s putting words together in the morning or dinner on the table at night, motivation sometimes does not come easy.  But once you get started, the juices start to flow, and voila, you produce a masterpiece.

Portion control.

Portion control is one of the foundations of a healthy diet, and today mainstream food industries have hooked onto the merits of limiting calorie counts through smaller sizes.

Snackable content” is the marketing world’s equivalent of portion control.  Snackable content is an easy concept to grasp — it is described as bite-sized chunks of info that can be quickly “consumed” by its audience.  Snackable content isn’t necessarily a dumbing down of media, just a reflection that everything is getting smaller, faster and more mobile. It kind of goes along with today’s media savvy audience limited attention span combined with an overwhelming amount of content for them to consume. The phrase “kid in a candy store” comes to mind.    Omnichannel users want to consume it quickly, possibly on the go, and then hopefully return later, hungry for more.

Personalized taste

What is it about your favorite restaurant that appeals to you?  It could be the ambience, prices, or service?  Most likely, though it’s the taste of the food.  It appeals to you on a strictly personal level. It doesn’t really matter to you whether your neighbors prefer the same food, what matters is satisfying your individual palate. And everybody has different taste, that’s why there are so many restaurants out there.   Of all the Chinese restaurants near my house, Canton Cooks is my favorite.  There is something truly special about those chicken wings that draws me back.

The best writing has a similar effect on the consumer.   It is based on thorough understanding of the demographics of their target market, what their interests are, and how they communicate.  Walk in my shoes and you are better equipped to grab my attention.  Trying to appeal to everyone (i.e., ignoring the concept of a target market) can be counterproductive, causing your writing and it effect to become diluted, tasteless and bland.

Authenticity

Barely a day goes by without a restaurant, cookbook or TV chef shouting about their “authenticity” credentials. But what on earth is “authentic” food, and most importantly, does it taste better?. Private chef Maunika Gowardhan who writes the cookinacurry blog, says: “There is always a core recipe, which in a way works as a guide. If you’re emulating flavours that have a history, then steering away … [from them] … will in no way make that traditional. But of course, adding your own take or influence … certainly isn’t flawed or wrong.

Bottom line: It’s useful for cooks to learn about a dish’s origins, its ingredients, its cultural context and the nuances that makes it what it is.

KISSmetrics  says authentic businesses and authentic content serve a similar purpose.  You might think that by its very nature marketing isn’t authentic, but in the digital age where people are increasingly savvy that preconception is being forced to change. What people really want now is not just a product or a service, it’s an experience. An experience that is more honest and transparent.

Strive hard to show empathy and identification with your target audiences trials and tribulations.  People today have very acute sense of BS and over promoting your own products and services can be an instant turnoff.

Indicators are everywhere – for example consider a 2012 Goodpurpose study demonstrated that where quality and price were equal the leading purchase driver for 53 percent of consumers was ‘social purpose’. In many cases the only way businesses are going to get their news seen is if friends share it, and to achieve that they’re going to have to be convincingly honest and authentic.

So, next time you are struggling with a challenging content assignment, thinking about your favorite food or restaurant, may give you just the inspiration you need. Just remember to keep it real, snackable,  and personal.

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