What Content Creation and Opening a Restaurant Have in Common
If content creation is an obstacle for you as a marketer, you’re not alone. A recent report from the Content Marketing Institute stated that one-third of all B2B companies find content creation to be a challenge. While content creation may sound simple in theory, it can be overwhelming for organizations to develop the quality assets that add business value and are aligned with organizational priorities.
But like other business processes, such as constructing a new building or opening a restaurant, marketers can easily manage the content creation process by breaking it down step-by-step. Here’s a few steps marketers can follow to create great content.
Begin With a Content Creation Plan
Rather than simply developing a content calendar, organizations need to start by thinking big picture, and instead develop a comprehensive business plan for their content. Like the phrase "form follows function," first you must determine the function you want your content to serve before you create it.
Just like a chef can’t create a menu before understanding what kind of food will be served when opening a restaurant, marketers must fully understand the go-to-market strategy before creating the content plan. So, when developing a content plan, it’s important that the plan follows your organizational business plan.
Take this scenario for example: Imagine gathering a group of chefs in one room, each with different specialties and backgrounds, and asking them to come up with a theme for a new restaurant. It’s not going to be easy to get them to agree on a concept and work together to develop a menu. But, what if you came in with information about the target market, what kind of food they liked, and what other restaurants are already in the area. In this scenario, you have a much better chance of getting the group to agree on the menu. With valid criteria for a content business plan, the right pieces can be built to support it, allowing you to develop your menu (so to speak).
Develop a Recipe for Good Content
With a business plan in place for a restaurant, the next step requires thinking about how to go about making the perfect dish. It’s not possible to try something new every time without knowing what worked or didn’t work.
Whether you’re creating a specific food dish or good content, you need a recipe to follow. It provides a list of the ingredients needed, how much of each to put in, and how long it’s going to take to make and serve. It also lets you know how much it’s going to cost and how many people are needed to make it.
The information needed as you create content can be thought of as the ingredients in the recipe, the creative team as a restaurant staff that needs to have time scheduled, and the menu as the deliverables that have deadlines. Every successful team needs these components working together in perfect harmony to create great content (or pizza).
Expand Your Content Menu
Just like not everyone likes the same types of dishes, expanding beyond the content basics will help you reach more people. Experiment and see what works — what people like and don’t like. However, that doesn’t mean you should rewrite your entire menu — or content message — just because your audience likes a dish or two. Stick to what you’re good at, don’t try to be something you’re not but pay attention to what's working with any new experiments and consider how they can fit into your content mix.
Once you know what type of options your audience likes, you can find the right mix, serve it in different ways, franchise it, or get it in the local market. But first you have to build the audience by making the dish — or content — they love.
And before you can create great food, you have to get your kitchen in order. Align your plan with your business strategy, create a recipe to work from, and build your menu from there. Then optimize the processes involved so you can create efficiencies across your organization and scale as your business grows.
Lisa Sharapata is the senior director of brand experience at Aprimo. For over 20 years she has been helping brands of all sizes transform their image and messaging beyond “features and functions,” as well as identify and discuss true differentiators that have meaning to their audience at every touch point.