I love watching the Best British Baking Show. Amateur, but passionate, bakers of all ages and walks of life compete to see who will get Star Baker and who will leave the tent each week, culminating in the finale where one takes home the coveted cake plate.
Enjoying the latest season got me thinking about how much good content is like good baking. You have to tick all the boxes for your audience to truly want to consume it: it has to look good, be well thought-out, executed perfectly, interesting for the eye and the brain, and fresh.
You want your audience to consume your content from start to finish and then look forward to the next thing your brand produces. Unfortunately, a lot of marketing content doesn’t live up to Star Baker standards. Here’s why:
When a contestant on the Best British Baking Show under-bakes something, the judges (Paul and Prue, in the latest season) call them out on it. Paul announcing that something is inedible makes everyone cringe.
Similarly, you can render your content unconsumable because it’s not finished correctly. Would you want to read, watch or listen to content if you notice that it doesn’t seem to make sense or the flow is all wrong and confusing? What if there’s an abundance of typos and grammar errors? You’d wonder why it wasn’t copyedited and proofread before it was published.
Wrong size or shape
When Paul and Prue set a technical challenge, it often requires baking something delicious that also meets an expectation for a certain size and shape. The contestants know that donuts should be round, not square. Pita bread should be oval and flat, not round and high.
If you call something a white paper, it shouldn’t actually be a case study. Nor should it be one page of high-level content. White papers have a certain heft, and your audience expects you to deliver a longer, more developed piece. Likewise, someone looking to read a report assumes that it provides an objective take on a certain subject, not a product datasheet in disguise that extolls the virtues of your solution.
If something looks unappetizing, no one really wants to try it, even though it may taste wonderful. If you spend all your time (and money) on the content, but the presentation is terrible, your audience may walk away without giving it a chance.
Your content must look the part: attractive, interesting, and enjoyable to consume. Make sure that your design, illustrations, images and charts are eye-catching and meaningful. Monotony is not appetizing and no one gets excited about reading paragraph after paragraph or bullet after bullet with no visual interest whatsoever. Even white papers can benefit greatly from visual treatment that breaks up the content and makes it easier to digest.
Amateur or not, the bakers on the Best British Baking Show know that they have to deliver professional quality results. This means not just copying everyone else, but thinking outside of the baking tin.
By delivering run-of-the-mill white papers, ebooks, blogs, and so on that don’t offer new information, ideas or stories, you run the risk of boring your audience and potentially turning them off. Instead of creating content that looks and reads like everyone else’s, make yours unique to your brand in its voice, tone, look-and-feel, format, and more. Don’t be afraid to try new formats for traditional content.
And the winner is …
If there were a Best Technology Content Show, would your content land your brand a place in the competition? Think about this the next time your team produces a piece of content. Will your audience love it? Will it impress them?
You’ve got your challenge. Ready, set, create!
About the author
An award-winning marketing writer with more than three decades of experience in the technology industry, Penny specializes in content creation for technology companies. She helps technology clients cost-effectively reach and exceed their marketing and sales goals by engaging decision makers and influencers with convincing content.
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