I may be a lousy cook, but am a huge fan of good cooking shows. Why? Because I get many useful business lessons from world class chefs. Here are nine things chefs can teach us about effective content marketing:
Share everything. Chefs share their recipes, write books, host TV shows, and release iPad apps. Being open doesn’t take away any business from them. Rather it increases their reputation and eventually grows their business.
Share everything you learn with your present and prospective clients. If your business depends on ‘hoarding the trade secrets’, you don’t have a sustainable business to start with.
Chefs create audiences – a group of targeted people who are always listening and tuning into their recommendations. In business? Imagine the ‘audience’ of Steve Job’s hour-long commercials. Enough said.
No matter how good the food tastes, few would like a badly presented dish. In business, presentation matters on every front. Be careful how you present yourself – starting with your namecards, PowerPoint presentations to the website. If you don’t have the required skills, don’t take a chance – hire a professional designer.
Chefs repeat their ingredients and methods at least once. Follow that in every presentation or pitch you do. You might be the center of your own universe, but not others. A quick repetition by highlighting key points is a good habit.
(Good) Chefs don’t suggest a complex cooking method or a hard-to-find ingredient. Simplicity is a key success factor. Edit out jargon from your sales pitches and business processes. Check out Startcooking.com – great and simple recipes, awesome presentation. In fact you can learn a lot about presentation from Startcooking.com. Here is one:
At the end of a show or recipe, chefs often tell their viewers/readers to write back to them with your suggestions. They are providing a broad template. It is up to you to make it your own by experimenting with ingredients and proportion.
In business as well, don’t ape or simply regurgitate. Let your own experience guide you; wrap your head around what you learn, assimilate it, and synthesize it with what you already know (your domain expertise). That way, you don’t just enrich yourself – you add to the knowledge base.
Not all recipes are success stories. There are many chefs, who run shows and write cookbooks for more than 10, 15 years, and still manage to keep things fresh and interesting. If an e-Book you produced didn’t take off well, look hard at the content and perhaps repurpose it into an infographic. Keep re-inventing and re-imagining.
Chefs first envision how the dish will turn out. And while they are meticulous about the intermediate steps, they don’t fret over the intricacies. They know that some things can be adjusted later on, and some ‘oops’ moments could turn out to be that ‘special touch’ that the gourmand would love.
When creating B2B content, don’t pour out your efforts on the perfect headline, grammar, paragraphing, fonts, design, images, etc. Be clear about the message you want your reader/viewer to leave with and begin from there.
Good chefs are articulate and precise. They don’t waste time (again Startcooking.com is a case in point). Be concise and precise in your business communications – emails, web page writeup, presentations, blog posts, etc. People don’t have an eternity for your stories. Tell them how you are going to make their life better and shut up.
And that’s a sign for me to stop stirring the pot. Are you a fan of cooking shows? What else can chefs teach us? Do chime in.
Read more: Thoughtful, well-designed content marketing solutions to engage your audience, from GetIT Comms