As you may know, I have two daughters, aged 15 and 13, and picking the right TV shows is always a challenge. I want something a little bit wholesome; they want something exciting and fun.

Enter my mother, the biggest Netflix viewer I know, who suggested "The Great British Baking Show." 

We LOVE this show. Every season 12 bakers compete to take the first place as the best amateur baker in Britain. And the original judges, Paul and Mary, are classic: Paul is the Simon Cowell of baking and Mary reminds me of my grandmother Hilda, who had high standards and a classy, judicious wise look. (She was also an unbelievable baker — her apple pie was flaky, with thinly sliced apples baked together into the perfect texture of gooey cinnamon ribbons of flavor).

So, Ahava, thanks for making me hungry. What does this tell me about content?

Learning Opportunities

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Does Your Content Marketing Pass the Taste Test?

Here’s what I’ve learned from watching:

  1. It has to taste and look good: Often, the bakers are very focused on the way it looks before the way it tastes, or the other way around. But Paul and Mary always comment on both. It’s true about content also. You need white space between your paragraphs to show your customers you are listening to them and letting them breathe in all of that information. You need a great setting to hold a sparkling diamond — same with content inside a website.
  2. You have to practice: The bakers are allowed to practice for both Round 1 and Round 3. Round 2 is a technical challenge that tests their know-how. But the ones who advance — and ultimately win — are the ones who spend time learning the ins and outs of the recipe. That’s why it’s so important to write every day.
  3. You need to know your stuff: During Round 2 the bakers can showcase what they truly know about baking. Did you know salt kills yeast? That adding fruit may create a soggy bottom? That certain flavors can be overpowering, like rosewater and lavender? Their experience in baking all of the time demonstrate they are worthy of being on the show. Learn the tools of your craft — what words work best together? How can you use metaphor effectively? Do you trust yourself to use the mechanics of storytelling?
  4. It needs time: Many of the challenges are under the clock, to increase the suspense of the show. It’s often not fair: the bakers need time to let the bread rise or more time to bake. In real life, however, content does take time. It can’t be created just by snapping your fingers. In fact, I often say to my writers, if you’re coming to the page and you’re stuck, it’s probably because you didn’t do enough prep work. I’m not saying you can’t dash off a great piece of content in 20 minutes — you’re reading one right now. J I am saying you need to remember that content does need time, and some types of content need more time than others.
  5. Make it your own: Many of the bakers use surprising combinations of flavor, usually stemming from their childhood homes. Indian, Pakistani, Welsh and Scottish flavors reflect the mixing bowl of British society. Mary and Paul often comment on people’s use of flavor and this is often the best way they get to know the baker. Don’t be afraid to put your mark on your content. Almost everything I read today shows a use of colloquialisms and words I often have to look up on Urban Dictionary. Even the New Yorker sometimes use the word “lit.” If the New Yorker can, you can.

I’m going to eat now. See you next time.

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