9 Ingredients to Bake a Better Content Marketing Strategy

by Gerry Moran

If your content marketing strategy is like baking a cake, then are your customers coming back for seconds?

Think of your content as delicious cake and your social media channels as the in which you deliver it to your customers. How are you serving up your messaging to your clients?

We’ve all seen it.  The lines of customers – on Sunday mornings –  lining up at our favorite bakery, donut or pastry shop. What is it that keeps customers coming back for more cake? Well, it’s a fully baked strategy!

Do You Measure The Right Ingredients For Your Content Strategy?

  • Today’s Top Social Media & Content Marketing Challenges. Hootsuite indicates the top three challenges organizations face creating a strategy, reporting on its performance, and optimizing the results – suggesting many need a better plan to bake their strategy!
  • Many Brands Do Not Have The Right Cooks In The Kitchen. Hootsuite reports 59% of organizations to have the challenge of improving their coworkers’ social media skills – indicating there are bakers in the bakery that might not be creating tasty cakes!
  • B2B Customers Consume Many Pieces Of Content. Google’s Zero Moment of Truth research reports the average customer checks 10.4 pieces of content before buying. And Forrester reports B2B buyers to find three pieces of content about your brand for each piece of content you’ve created – indicating your audience finds your content via social media sources, influencers, and general audience sharing – so make it great!

Social Media Strategy

The Big Takeaway From This Social & Content Research

The three questions every brand, entrepreneur, or socially aware thought leader should ask themselves is, “Am I thinking through my social media and content marketing strategy like it’s a recipe? Will my readers and my network come back for more after serving my first slice of insights, ideas, and subject matter expertise? Or, will they look at the presentation and say … ugh, I think I will try something else.

9 Ingredients To Bake Your Social Media & Content Marketing Strategy

1. Ensure social media and content marketing strategy is added at the right time in the planning process – and that’s not at the end.  You have to add sugar to your cake at the right time to make your cake taste great – otherwise, it just won’t work. Just like sprinkling sugar on your cake at the end of the baking process, you cannot add social media at the end of your marketing planning process.

2. Let internal stakeholders customize and adapt the foundational social media and content strategy – and don’t let them create it from scratch. Bake the cake for everyone – then give them the option to ice it … or put whatever else on it to make it theirs. It is best to create the foundational social and content strategy in some organizations and let other very competent team members adjust it for their geography or industry. This way, your core plan will be executed.

3. Use only the best ingredients for your content – video, graphics, and storytelling copy.  The best baking ingredients make the best results – so, make sure to use only the best content elements – factual text, videos, factoids, infographics, etc. for cooking your communication.

4. Create content that ‘tastes good’ for your variety of customers. Some people like chocolate cake instead of vanilla – so you have to figure how to bake cakes for all dessert lovers. Your job as a content and social media marketer is to develop the solution for each audience or persona to drive your business results. You have to deliver the right message to the right audience on the right channel at the right time, right?

5. Create content in smaller and ‘snackable’ formats, so your prospects can sample – and then commit. Sometimes you can only get people to eat your cake after they sample your cupcakes. So plan to use a portion of your batter before you use it all to bake your cake. You may think handing out slices of cake for samples might be a solution, but all of a sudden, they are not so convenient when you take your cake outside the store. The convenience, snackability, and ease of consumption apply to content as cakes – Vine videos, Instagram post, factoid graphics … and cupcakes.

6. Think of your social media & content strategy as a baking production line – everyone has a role. Many great bakers and pastry chefs do not create cakes by themselves from start to finish. Instead, they treat their cake baking like a supply chain – with every point in the process assigned to a different person. When mixing your social media strategy, think of the discrete steps needed – from writing to schedule – to ensure things get done the right way.

7. Make sure to have the right resources to create your social strategy, measure it and optimize your operation. I’ve often tried to bake a cake from great-grandmother Michaelena’s recipe, and it never quite tastes the same. Most cannot bake a cake the same way Buddy Valastro (a.k.a. The Cake Boss) does from the same recipe. Having the recipe is one thing … being able to execute instructions and handle the bumps in the road – like having margarine vs. butter – is another. Just because a millennial is a digital native does not mean they can pull off creating and executing a plan – so make sure you hire the right type of person to bake your strategy.

8. Sometimes, when you want to make your point. It’s all about the presentation. You may have the most delicious cake in the world, but if the icing is uneven and the sprinkles are falling off, then many might move on to the next cake. The same goes for planning content and social media amplification. Make sure your profiles are professional, and your blog posts are built format to further engage your audience.

9. Make it easy for audiences to find you – and deepen their relationship with you. If people like your cake, then they will want more – so make it easy to find your kitchen, store, or bakery to become their go-to cakery. Make sure your content is linked to the right blog post, white paper, video, etc. – so it’s a natural progression in the relationship.

Do you have a different baking tip for your social media or content strategy? If so, then please share below. Or, reach out to me at gerry@marketingthink.com.

Unlike the insightful idiom, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it, too’, with good planning you can have your cake and eat it, too, when it comes to social media and content marketing strategy. You can serve up slices of virtual cake – or cupcakes – that keep on getting consumed and passed along to others!

NOTE: This blog post was originally published on September 16th, 2015 and was refreshed on January 21, 2021.

Gerry Moran is a social media and content marketing strategist who's worked for large global brands and digital agencies. He's spent significant time in hands-on marketing leadership roles with HBO, IKEA, Ralston Purina, Kodak, and numerous digital agencies. He spent his last ten years working at SAP and Cognizant, where he built their content marketing operating models, developed social media training programs, and helped thousands with their LinkedIn makeovers and personal branding strategies.

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