Millions of people across the globe will remember the early stages of quarantine during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and how social media platforms were overwhelmingly flooded with cooking and baking content. Many creators inspired the world with colorful and satiating meals for everyone to try in their own homes, especially foods that the average person does not usually make from scratch — such as bread. 

I grew up learning how to cook, and basic knowledge in the kitchen came easy to me. I didn’t feel an intense urgency to learn something new during the pandemic, but social media opened my eyes to the vast amount of people who struggle in the kitchen — whether it be with basic skills and knowledge or finding the creativity for diverse meals throughout the week. Although I was confident in my own abilities in the kitchen, I did learn a lot about my habits and where I could improve. The lessons were so powerful, I realized I could directly apply them in other areas of my life too — such as my career in marketing. In the article below I discuss how you can foster success in your content marketing strategy with five valuable lessons I have learned in the kitchen. 

1. Establish Your Foundation

At the very beginning of your cooking journey, before you even need the main ingredients that make up your branding-for-content-marketing-strategymeal, you will require  kitchen tools and foundational ingredients that will help to make your cooking journey seamless. There are a few items I use in almost every single meal I make to enhance the flavor: seasoning. Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and onion powder are just a few absolutely essential seasonings in my own cupboard. Of course, this is my preference and it may look different for someone else. The key is knowing what you like and using it to enhance your dishes. The only non-negotiable item here is salt, because it works wonders for bringing out the natural flavors in food. Oil or butter and other fats that aid in flavor and promote even cooking are crucial in my kitchen as well. As for tools, over time you’ll discover your “essentials,” but if you are at the beginning of your cooking journey, measuring cups, a nonstick pan, a spatula, a knife and a cutting board will suffice. 

In content marketing your foundation also sets you up for success and gives you a solid place to begin. Your foundation in business is your brand. Defining your brand should be the starting point for your company as it determines how you appear and relate to your customers and ultimately execute marketing campaigns. Your kitchen, the tools you keep and the contents of your cupboard tell a story of your cooking abilities, just as your logo, slogan and branding materials send a message about your company. You can learn more about branding and its importance in this Three Girls blog post

2. Plan Ahead

This may seem obvious, but cooking, like marketing, is better done with a clear and concise plan. As an example, let’s say you begin cooking, but halfway through the steps you realize you need a food processor. For certain recipes, this might be crucial, but other times you can find a way to make do with a blender or a lot of chopping. It may not be the end of the world, but finding out later on will slow down your planning-in-content-marketingprocess. 

 

Early on in your cooking journey, recipes are your plan. They provide the list of grocery items, cooking utensils and a step-by-step guide to executing your dish. Even with this plan the process may not be entirely error free, but reading the full recipe before you begin will make the process a little bit easier and help you identify areas that need attention before they become inconvenient. 

In marketing, there are crucial steps to take to successfully implement a marketing campaign. In a Three Girls blog post, CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery, shares that “creating a strategic marketing plan is necessary for business success. Without one, you will waste time and money trying to achieve a goal that isn’t clearly set. Poor marketing plans are a reason many companies fail to achieve their business goals.” 

Your foundation for a campaign begins with laying out your goals, developing a SWOT analysis and identifying your target audience. Without specific goals, what will you be working toward? Without a SWOT analysis, you may not be prepared for potential risks. Erika Taylor Montgomery discusses each of these factors and how they benefit your content marketing strategy in this article. Most notably, defining aspects of your marketing plan throughout the development process will “lead you to a clear and strategic execution.” When learning how to cook, it’s just as important to ensure this, but it’s more simple — read the full recipe, gather all the ingredients and tools needed and prep your seasonings and vegetables before you start cooking. Planning ahead in your content marketing is beneficial in the long run. Clearly defining your objectives ensures a goal-driven content marketing strategy and promotes efficiency in the process. Planning ahead aids in organization, time management and consistency in branding. 

3. Do Your Research

If you push a plan forward without any prior knowledge in the kitchen, the process can quickly turn into a disaster, or at best, the final product will not reach its full potential. Sure, you can pick up a knife and cut an onion probably just fine. But in the long run, learning safety tactics such as the proper way to hold a knife and dice an onion evenly will limit the likelihood of cutting yourself and will also increase your efficiency. There are a lot of components to making a meal and learning how to become comfortable in the kitchen will set you up for success. 

In addition to researching safety aspects of cooking, if you’re stumped in the kitchen the internet holds all the answers you might need. Whether it’s how to boil an egg, what temperature to cook a certain vegetable at or what in the world “blanching” means, the internet is there to answer your questions and help you become a confident chef. 

Just as in the kitchen, conducting marketing research can provide incredibly powerful insight into your market, your audience, your competitors and more. This insight can be used to drive your business forward by taking all variables into perspective and adjusting your marketing strategy to reflect that. One of the ways marketers can research is by examining their competitors.

According to a recent article by Relative Insight, “Identifying what differentiates your brand, product or service from other players in the industry is one of the main benefits of competitor analysis, and is crucial to increasing sales and building customer loyalty. By understanding the strengths of your brand, recognising your weaknesses and finding your unique value proposition, you’ll know exactly what it is that you bring to the table. Armed with this knowledge, you can communicate your true value to consumers, adapt your brand and communications strategy accordingly and win back market share.” 

Brands are constantly competing for visibility in a saturated market and researching your competitors and your industry as a whole will help ground your company and help you map out an effective business strategy. 

4. Get Creative, Challenge Yourself And Practice

After you’ve done your research and feel as though you’ve mastered your basics, it’s time to take your cooking to the next level. Once you understand the fundamentals and are comfortable with widely used and valuable cooking tactics such as steaming, sauteing, mincing and reducing, the next step is to practice and challenge yourself. 

If your only source of inspiration is coming from recipes you find on the internet, getting outside of that could Ideas-for-content-marketinginspire you. Try going to a bookstore and see if any colorful cookbook covers excite you. Or browse through a cookbook that has recipes you’ve never seen before or learn how to cook dishes from another culture. Another way to get creative and challenge yourself is to visit your local farmers market. Peruse the beautiful produce that is local to your region and pick something vibrant or something you’ve never cooked with before. Talk to the farmers too! It’s likely they have fantastic ideas for how to prepare their crops. There are many ways to find inspiration and challenge yourself in the kitchen. Practicing new techniques and working with new flavors will eventually make you a seasoned home chef — pun intended. 

Just as it takes time to get comfortable in the kitchen, it can take time to become comfortable in marketing. The more time you dedicate to the process, the stronger your skills develop. This leads to confidence, which can help you during your creative process. Content creation plays an enormous role in marketing efforts, and practicing design, voice and all other components regularly will strengthen your capabilities and expand your creativity. Three Girls’ Marketing & PR Specialist Danielle Winski shared in a blog post how to spark your creativity for content creation. In it, she shares the tip “think outside the content creation.” She goes on to say: “Repeating the same processes will give you the same results. To break through and reach new creative goals, it is helpful to take a step back to look at the endpoint and the different ways you can get there. Whether you choose alternative tools, a new format or change direction completely, taking a calculated risk by trying a new approach can spark your creativity with content marketing.” 

5. Don’t Overthink It And Be Patient

The bottom line is, cooking and content marketing should be fun. Both require a certain skillset and knowledge, but after those are established, your best work will come from having fun by challenging yourself and accessing your creativity.. In cooking, if it becomes an ominous or frustrating task, just remember to have fun with it and cook in a manner that makes sense to and excites you. In my experience, in both marketing and cooking, challenges are easily misunderstood as a setback when it is actually an opportunity to improve and grow as a marketer and a chef. This change in perspective will support your creativity. 

In an article by Content Marketing Institute, Sujan Patel discusses the fallbacks of striving for perfection in your content marketing, saying doing so “can mean you never start.” He elaborates with: “Sometimes a marketer or business owner will talk to me about creating a blog, or if they already have a blog, they say how they want to create content more regularly. When I ask what’s stopping them, I almost always know what they’re going to say: They can’t think of what content to create. If that sounds like a different problem than what’s up for discussion here, it isn’t – most of the time, at least. When someone says they can’t think of anything to write about, what they usually mean is they can’t think of anything they believe is good enough for them to write about. While you shouldn’t lower your standards to the point of creating just anything, something has to change if attaining a mythical ideal stops you from creating anything at all. The first step you need to take to stop overthinking content, and start writing what your customers love …” 

No matter where you are in your cooking or content marketing journey, these tips are a general reminder of how to ground yourself and promote your success. 

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