What cooking and content have in common. (A lot.)

Creating great content is not unlike cooking. But then again, I don’t cook by the book.

I start with ingredients and a purpose. First, I lay out all the foods I want to work with on the bench (sometimes in order of what’s closest to its use-by date…) Then I decide what I want from this meal – something quick and easy? Rich and hearty? Or something for a specific health benefit?

Once I have the direction of the meal, it’s about figuring out which ingredients will form the main feature and which will be make up the side dishes – this is particularly easy if there’s meat involved. 

At this point I’ll flick through Google or Yummly to see what others have done with similar ingredients, and usually mix elements from a few recipes. (Given the plethora of foodies on the Internet, it’s rare you’ll have an ingredient no one has blogged about. If you do, post your recipe as soon as you’re done – that’s a content goldmine!)

As for my favourite part, it has to be adding the spices. Even if I’m sticking quite closely to a recipe, I’ll always modify the seasoning, so the result is exactly how I like it. After all, that’s the best part of eating in.

Now, let’s repeat the process with content:

  • First, start with the key ingredients – what messages are you trying to communicate?
  • Then, the purpose: should your content be a short and sweet reminder, or a long and savoury degustation?
  • Next, define your meaty content from your side dishes – identify the key message and treat the other points as supporting ‘sides’.

Now that you have a direction, go ahead and see what’s already out there. (Oh no! Someone’s already cooked up something similar? Don’t worry, that’s what the spices are for.)

  • Finally – give it your own flavour. Clichéd as it may sound, language is the spice of content, whether it’s the cheeky tone of a voiceover or the straight-talking email subject line. But don’t overdo it, or the spice will overpower your key ingredients.

Last but not least, do not underestimate the importance of presentation. It’s a well-known fact that food tastes better when it’s artfully and thoughtfully plated. Content, once again, is no different – no mater how well crafted, it’s hard to digest content when everything around it is a mess.