On August 4 we celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (and we can always use some positive, gooey, delicious vibes in our lives). In honor of this yummy day, I’ve outlined 4 ways your content is like a good batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Great content requires a good mix
Think of the best chocolate chip cookie you’ve eaten. What made it great? It’s likely you can’t put your finger on just one thing. It was all the ingredients that came together to make the cookie great. Think of your content in the same way.
Great content isn’t one video or one social media post. It’s not using one channel or idea. It’s all of the types of content (and distribution channels) that come together to provide education, resources and support to your audience in a variety of ways. Think about the best website, blog or social media page that you visit time and time again. What is it about the content on those sites that make you come back for more? My guess is that those sites provide you with a variety of content that meet your needs in different ways. Things like:
- How-to guides
- Video snippets
- Visuals, infographics and charts
- Interviews and examples
The sites you continue to visit time and time again probably make you feel a certain way. Does that content:
- Make you laugh
- Give you a warm feeling
- Leave you with positive thoughts
- Provide education
- Give insight or answers to a problem you needed solved
- Show you how to do something
- Support research you’re conducting
The mix of your content depends on many things–your audience, your active channels, your customers’ needs. The same is true for that delicious cookie. For example, while baking soda is a necessary ingredient in the recipe, it is not a dominant ingredient that affects taste as much as the rest. It’s there to support the ingredients so that the cookie is whole–without it, you get a flat cookie. If your mix of content isn’t working together, it falls flat.
While you may have a variety of content ingredients, you also want to prioritize the quantity of those content pieces. Feedback from your audience (let’s call them our taste testers) will help you understand which content ingredients should move to the top of the recipe and which ones play more of a supporting role. This mix can change throughout the year; check in with your taste testers often. Change the content recipe up and see if they’re still enjoy the mix. Analyze and review often.
Every ingredient plays an important role
While the best cookie is made from a measured-out mix of ingredients, if you took one away, it would be a whole new cookie (and likely, not as good). My example of baking soda still stands. It has a very important role in the cookie by itself as an ingredient as part of the mix and as a standalone piece. Same is true with the chocolate chips. They work best when they are part of the whole cookie (by themselves, they’re just chocolate chips and without them, it’s a whole different cookie entirely).
Understand the role your content plays. Think about the type of content that you create and know its purpose. For each content type, can you answer:
- Who is our key audience?
- What is the purpose of this content?
- How will we track the success of this content?
The same is true for your content channels. Think about those content channels differently and prioritize which of them will be used for brand awareness and engagement, sales solicitation, lead generation, etc.
Timing is key
How many times have we read a recipe, set our timers for the exact amount of time it calls for, only to find that what we were making came out too soft, too hard, under-cooked or over-cooked? In the past few years I’d like to think I have perfected the timing of my chocolate chip cookies yet, it still depends on the size of the scoop on each cookie sheet and the type of oven I’m using. All of this took patience and time.
I bet you can see where I’m going with this. Your content requires timing evaluation and this may change throughout the year. If we set and forget our content as we send it out to the world we may find ourselves in a few sticky scenarios such as:
- Negative feedback is being passed around online and we aren’t there to even realize it
- The content was so well received that the amount of incoming leads isn’t manageable by our small team
- Potential customers are engaging with us online, only to get frustrated because we aren’t there to provide answers
- We tend to get really great engagement and leads when our content is distributed but we can’t predict those increases since our distribution isn’t regulated or few and far between
And the list will continue. As you develop your content strategy, ensure that you have a solid handle on the timing of your content. When will it go live? How will it be distributed? How often will we send out an email, post to Facebook, release a new how-to video, etc.? Your content is only as strong as the distribution strategy behind it.
Each batch may look different
In our house, we joke that the ultimate taste tester is actually the head of quality control. So, while you have your audience taste testers digesting all of the content you’ve created just for them, you also need a stellar team in-house to manage quality control.
Who are those ultimate quality control managers in your organization? Who will be monitoring your content, pulling metrics, looking for engagement trends and outlining which content topics are best received by your customers? As they go through this process, give them the power to tweak the recipe slightly based on results. Need some guidance? My Marketing ROI Tracker (free download as part of our #12MonthsOfMarketing templates) will guide you through initial metrics in a variety of content areas with templates you can use to start your analysis.
If you’re new to the chocolate chip cookie baking … er … content marketing business, start slow. Find a recipe you love and emulate that. Think about your audience (who are you trying to feed) and build a recipe that will suit them. Don’t be afraid to try new ingredients and tweak as you go. Deliciousness takes time.
In closing, I was going to share with you my mom’s go-to chocolate chip cook recipe (which also happens to be my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe). In full disclosure, I didn’t know much about where the recipe originated, only that I’ve copied it several times from the recipe cards in my mom’s kitchen. After some research, I discovered that “Mom’s” recipe is the Nestle Toll House recipe (Phoebe from Friends, anyone??). However, I also know that these cookies are delicious and haven’t failed me yet. So, while you’re thinking about how to mix up your marketing ingredients successfully for the remainder of the year, why not make a batch and do so over a glass of milk and a cookie (or two)?