Question: “Lots of companies seem to use blogs these days, in a business such as mine. It’s hard to figure out what to put in such a publication… giving away recipes isn’t an option!”
– Gabrielle Murphy, Sprinkles Cake House, Surrey B.C., Canada
Ali’s answer: Hi Gabrielle. Thanks for your question! You’d be surprised how many different angles you can generate for your blog that won’t give away your golden egg, but will still offer HIGH value to your readers. Remember, the purpose of your blog is to showcase your knowledge and expertise and stay connected with your readers—and constantly churning out recipes might not be the best way to achieve those two objectives. It’s all about using a little bit of strategy, while delivering useful content.
Let’s take a look at a few effective angles you could use for your blog or ezine:
Describe a problem you’ve solved for a client/customer, and use that as a springboard to offer more general advice. Show your readers how you’ve helped customers address challenges — “case studies” if you will. This positions you as the expert in your readers’ minds more than your coming out and saying so. For your cake business, you could highlight a situation where you had to create a gluten-free cake for a customer with Celiac disease, or birthday cupcakes for a vegetarian/vegan family. If you felt like sharing more, you could recommend one simple substitution for special cakes. What you’re doing here is showing your versatility as a service provider, while giving away a useful tip—and your readers will appreciate both.
Another source for content ideas is hot issues you’ve read about specific to your field, from industry publications, conferences, workshops, seminars, or articles? The more controversial, the better. For someone in your specialty, Gabrielle, I could see you posting something where you share your take on baking with specific trays. Do you prefer one material over another? Are you cautious of certain materials that could cause harm to you and other confectioners? Don’t be afraid to offer your own opinion — your readers want to know it. After all, YOU are the expert in their eyes!
Jot down 8 questions your clients have asked you in the past. You know, the ones they ask you over and over (aside from “what’s the recipe”, of course!). Dedicate a short post on answering one of these questions. If you publish weekly, that’s two months’ worth of content, right off the bat! And if you can’t think of any questions, send all your current clients/customers a quick e-mail, asking them what topics they’re most interested in learning more about.
You can also follow my lead for what I did on today’s issue of Spotlight and recommend books and resources that you like, and offer full reviews on them. If you want to make a little extra cash, you can set up an Amazon Affiliate account and have your book recs link to it, so you can make a little commission if your readers decide to buy any of the books. How about recommending some great books on party planning, which relates to your cake business?
For a business of your type, I think a list-based post would work great for you. In this type of article, you offer a list of your top 5 or 10 tips on a certain subject. You could offer your quick tips on how to make your cake batter fluffy and light, or share your top 5 cupcake decorating no-nos, or your 10 must-have elements to a perfect celebration. If you keep it to a simple list, you won’t give it ALL away—but you will share your expertise and offer value.
Good luck Gabrielle!
Love and success,
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