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Do you create content for human consumption? Let’s find out.

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Once someone gets a taste of what you make, are they hungry for more? Creating and consuming great content is no different than creating and consuming a delicious, healthy meal. They both have a direct impact on our mental and physical health. Creators, like chefs, need to understand how important it is for our audiences to connect with our creations, making them feel better and want more.

Just as we watch what ingredients we consume in our bodies, we need to watch what information we consume in our minds. As creators, it’s critical to handle this responsibility carefully, knowing that your content can influence someone’s mood, energy, and experiences. Do you create content for human consumption?

Let’s look at the analogy of successful content creators as professional chefs. When we approach content strategy from a chef’s perspective, we are able to compare something tangible and familiar (building a dining experience) with something new and less known (developing a content strategy). Here are the six steps to developing an effective content strategy:

Related: 6 Important Tips to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

1. Creating the Menu: Content Strategy

We start building with the end in mind. We know how we want our audience to feel and taste our content when they leave our table. Our content strategy is the menu that outlines our plans for what delicious content we will serve. Understanding the value of investing time and energy in strategically planning our content recipes and thinking through an overview of the total experience is essential.

We can plan our content strategy as a multi-course meal. We want to have content that serves as an appetizer or as a lead magnet. This gives our audience a little taste of what’s to come. In the appetizer, our goal is for them to click on our profile and want more. With content, this can look like an entertaining video with trending audio that grabs attention or an inspirational video that feels relatable and tackles a personal issue.

The main course, the bulk of our content, is what we add the most value to. This should include a variety of videos that inform, engage and build relationships. Every audience member should feel like they are sitting at the chef’s table with warm two-way conversations, answering questions and learning together.

Finally (and my personal favorite), we have to include dessert. We want to seize opportunities to surprise and delight. This is the meal that changes our audience’s perspective, fulfills a desire and makes them think about their experience – eventually coming back for more. For creators, this is the content that captures the click and converts viewers from passive viewers to a community of customers and fans.

2. Kitchen and Customers: Know Your Niche and Understand Your Audience

Before buying a single ingredient for a course, we must prepare with thoughtful research. We need to be clear about who we’re going to serve, as well as what tools and ingredients we’ll be using. 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?”

Every experienced chef builds 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 fertile portions? What do they crave that they can’t find anywhere else?

Choosing your niche is like deciding which cuisine you want to specialize in. Which topics do you know best? What do you feel most comfortable with? If you cook this kind of content every day, are you still excited to keep cooking?

Just as a chef chooses his cuisine, a content creator selects his content pillars. It’s no coincidence that your favorite restaurants are always good, no matter the day or meal. A great cook is reliable and consistent no matter what he serves. You want to have some excellent dishes that you can replicate once you understand what works and what your audience craves. Not everyone will like what you cook. This means you’re doing it right. The more aware you are of your specific persona’s needs, the more your ideal customer will connect with your creations.

Related: The Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Niche and Target Market

3. The Maker’s Kitchen: Tools and Technology

Think in which kitchen you will cook and which tools you will use. Which tools are worth the investment? Meet your audience where they are. That means, for example, identifying which platforms are best suited to your specific audience and where they are already gathering. Similar to how a Michelin star chef finds 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 connect with the food they cook and keep coming back for more. A successful content creator considers how his audience will consume his content, much like a professional chef understands his guests’ preferences before serving them a meal.

4. Identify Ingredients: Recipe Rolls

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 custom menu and dining experience that aligns with consumers’ unique interests and preferences.

Creators should have a profile feed with consistent quality five-star recipes for an intended audience. When your ideal audience looks at your recipe rolls (the content menu in your feed), everything should intrigue them, 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 heads, just as a chef carefully selects which ingredients their guests will put in their bodies. It can be scary to experiment with new techniques or try new ingredients that you may not have mastered yet, but it’s the only way to improve your skills and better understand your audience.

As consumers, we know how unhealthy food changes how we feel. It lowers our energy levels 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: first impression

You’ve done all that planning now, even before you hit publish. Now it’s time for your audience to enjoy your dish. Remember: presentation is key to the first impression.

What distinguishes one’s cooking from just a hobby at home to a professional chef? It is their presentation, practice and professionalism. Everyone appreciates a menu with clear titles, list of ingredients and professional photos. Adding thumbnails to your short videos is an easy way to take the recipe roll in your feed to the next level. It’s that perk that will impress your audience and make it easy for them to binge your content.

How can you move from creating content for fun to building a digital brand? Successful content creators consistently deliver high-quality content. Like a world-renowned chef, you need to build your brand and your reputation so that people want to share, remember and return.

Related: 4 Ways to Make the Best First Impressions with Your Customers

6. Presenting is researching: repeating and analyzing

The last and most important step is actually serving the food you are cooking. Don’t let perfectionism make you throw all your hard work in the trash for fear it isn’t enough. It is always better to serve a meal than to keep it in your draft.

Even if you’re not 100% sure about your meal or your ingredients, the best way to grow and improve is to actually share your creations with others. This way you get real-time direct feedback about what works and what doesn’t. Keep in mind that service can make or break a dining experience. If you serve a great meal, but you’re an incredible server, it can make your audience more willing to share fairly. Ask your audience questions, reply to their messages, and engage in conversation to learn more.

Instead of guessing what your audience will like, just dish it up and talk about it. Research their experiences and analyze the results. This will inform you about how you plan and repeat future meals.

The content you create can change how someone sees the world. It has more impact than you may realize. Create with intention and prepare consciously. Ask yourself: is my content made for human consumption? If so, grab an apron, pick a kitchen, and get to cooking contents. Your audience is waiting – and they are hungry!

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