In episode 134 of The Content 10x Podcast, I talked about how the classic ‘customer journey’ has changed since social media, consumed on mobile devices, has become a primary way customers discover businesses and end up becoming customers.
Most customers discover businesses when on mobile devices. They start with our shorter, snackable content on social media and slowly build their understanding and trust, before moving onto our longer-form content. That process cements their relationship with us and puts them in a position to confidently buy our product/service because they know, like, and trust us.
Once I started thinking about how the customer journey now often starts with bite-size, snackable content…I realized there’s a perfect metaphor here. I’m a serious foodie so any metaphor that involved food, I’m all over (and hungry too)!
Grab a bite to eat now because this post is going to get seriously tasty!
Let’s take this a few steps further, I believe that your content should be like a 7 course meal for your audience… get ready for a mouth-watering metaphor!
Course 1 – hors d’oeuvres
Course one gives your customers their very first, tiny taste of you and your business.
So this is often nice snackable finger-food – maybe a mini bruschetta, chicken satay skewers, goat cheese crostini…canapes are a type of hors d’oeuvres.
Your hors d’oeuvres content should be ‘finger food’ too, this is just a glimpse to help them form an initial impression of you – your branding, your profile photo, your bio. I spoke to Phil Pallen about the importance of branding in your content for episode 77 of the podcast – it’s definitely worth checking out!
Getting course one right means making sure these basics of your online presence clearly show off what you do, how you do it, and taps into the feelings you want people to have about your brand.
When people are just scanning or browsing your profile, you need them to get a taste of who you are and what you do really quickly and clearly.
Get this first course right and you’ll set their stomachs rumbling!
Course 2 – amuse-bouche
Okay, now we’re getting into something a little more tantalizing!
This course gives your customers a real taste of what’s to come, but in a smaller serving. Yes, smaller than hors d’oeuvres even, an amuse-bouche is typically just one or two bites.
If you haven’t heard of or tried an amuse-bouche then it’s a French term meaning ‘mouth amuser’.
This isn’t something you order, it’s something that the chef comes up with and provides you for free. These are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse of the chef's style.
Designed to be small but packed full of flavor, this course primes your pallet for the next one. They are often crafted to be really beautiful, too.
So your amuse-bouche content course should be priming your customers’ pallets so that they go on to consume more.
Your amuse-bouche content is easy to consume. You’re not asking for anything from them. You’re not taking up much time. You want to get their attention for a short, brief moment and pique their interest. Your amuse-bouche tastes great on its own, but it’s all about preparing for what comes after it.
Your amuse-bouche could be a meme, a selfie, a short-form video post, Instagram story content, TikTok video, a tweet – this course gives people a look at you and a small insight into what you’re about.
One of the tenets of great social media presence is not trying to sell all the time. It’s meant to be social, not salesy! Posting content that isn’t tied to a specific product or service gives people the chance to understand and appreciate your brand without being bombarded with “buy, buy, buy”!
Course 3 – starter/appetizer
Right after you’ve served up the perfectly-seasoned, delicious amuse-bouche, the next course comes along.
Something still small and simple (though a bit more ‘meaty’ now), enjoyable, and that leaves them excited for more.
Your customers have gone past just seeing your profile and a free snippet of content, and are looking at your content now with intrigue. This is where your light-hearted, light-touch content shines.
Your goal with your starter is to really gain more interest and attention, you want them to want more and it’s clear from your starter that there is more, too. Your content can’t stop here.
It’s very rare we go to a restaurant and we’re given a menu that consists only of starters (although I’d actually like to try this restaurant if it exists because I love starters!).
For podcasters, this could be an audiogram from your latest episode. For video creators, this could be a short teaser clip or highlight. Maybe a quote image and engaging social copy…
Or, learn How to Repurpose Videos for Social Media and create perfect teaser videos
And then check out why you shouldn’t forget The Importance of Visual Content
Note here that what we’re doing is taking our main course and breaking it down into the starter. Now, of course you wouldn’t do this in a restaurant with food, so that’s probably where the food analogy ends with this example. But that’s where the beauty of content repurposing comes in. We cook our main course first, and then we create our starter FROM our main course.
What a time saver!
From the starters, your customers know you and what you’re about, and this is giving them their first real taste of what you do best – moving on from the initial tease. The key here is that you’re introducing it in a small, snackable way that catches their attention and gets them excited for the main course.
Speaking of which…
Course 4 – main course
Isn’t it just the best feeling when you see your food coming to your table? When you’ve had some delicious smaller courses but you’re ready for the main event, a hearty serving of mouth-watering mastery? That’s where your customers should be at this point.
By now you know the chef is great, the flavors and ideas are right up your street, and now you can’t wait to try more.
Then along comes the main course: for you, this is your long-form content – your podcast episode, your blog post or article, your video, your livestream… whatever it is, they know it’s going to be good and they’re keen to consume it.
Better still, they have chosen to consume it, because they have loved what they experienced so far.
They’ll be really warmed up to you now, happy in the knowledge of who you are, what you’re about, and they trust you. What started with a tiny portion (your profile and social posts) has led perfectly into the main course (your long-form content).
You have to take people on this journey, because consuming long-form content takes time and intent.
For example, let’s look at podcasts. A podcast episode could be 1 hour long. To consume it, you are expecting someone to go to a podcasting app and find the episode, and they need to factor the time out of their day to listen.
Sure, this may be alongside walking the dog, exercising at the gym, driving to work, but they need to consciously decide to devote that time to your show. This is a big ask.
We should never underestimate what we have achieved with every single listen our episodes receive.
But to expect someone to start immediately at that stage, from not knowing you at all to listening to your 1 hour episode, is a huge ask and honestly a bit naive.
The same goes for watching a video or reading a blog post. We constantly have other things competing for our time and attention, getting people to choose your content is not easy.
That’s why we start easy and take them on a journey.
Course 5 – dessert
There’s always room for dessert. I’m convinced we have a second stomach that is reserved only for delicious desserts! So, make sure you give your customers something rich and satisfying after their main course!
After their main course (i.e. they have consumed your long-form core content) they’re (hopefully) very happy and convinced by your ability to solve their problems. Now is the perfect time to top that up and give them even more value with a content upgrade – something of value directly related to the content that will be delivered in exchange for an email address.
Learn the secrets behind Repurposing Your Content Into A Content Upgrade if you’re after more info on this!
Just as we’re happy to find some space for dessert, your customers will be happy to give you their email address after enjoying your fantastic core content – if they believe you can help them and it will add value to their life.
Content upgrades are an amazing resource – whether it’s a checklist, a swipe file, a short course, a test, an infographic – they’re mega-effective if they’re designed to accompany your free content. For example, my recent article about repurposing videos for social media was accompanied with a content upgrade that was a detailed, step-by-step walk-through that made the process even easier to follow.
Appeal to your customers’ sweet tooth and give them something they can’t refuse.
Course 6 – the cheese course
Stuffed, smiling, and very satisfied, your customers are loving life at your table.
“Another course…surely not?”
“Ah”, you smile, “but this one will really hit the spot.”
They trust you. After all, the last five courses have been mind-blowingly great and they’ve all fitted in very naturally one after the other.
Now is when you start selling your service or product.
They’re engaged with you on social media, they love your content, and you’ve got them on your email list. With a series of emails and perhaps some retargeting ads on social media, you can be confident in putting your service or product in front of your audience.
If you’d brought out a plate of ‘experimental’ cheese when they first sat down, maybe they would have bolted. Now that they know you, they trust you, and they’ve had an amazing experience five times over…they’ll happily give it a try.
Tailor your emails and/or ads to them – perhaps even offer an exclusive discount – and you’ll be good to go.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that your product or service is the course itself here, but rather the way you deliver it.
We are back to short, simple messaging. You need to be really clear, in as few words as possible, about what you can help people with and how you do it. Let’s not confuse the sales message. Confusion leads to indecision which leads to inaction.
A small portion of a lovely sharp cheese – it’s all you need!
Course 7 – coffee and petits fours
No more food. Nope. Not another bite. No way.
Ah, but perhaps a coffee. Just to round things off. With delightful little petits fours on the side?
Your customers are full – they loved your social media presence, which took them to your long-form content, they trusted you and they’re happily paying for your products and services.
But never stop communicating with them. Never stop delighting them.
You’ve got some very happy customers on your hands – kick back and have a little drink with them… through the power of Zoom and streaming platforms you literally can kick back and spend time with them if you want to, simply be there to answer their questions – either 1:1 or as a group. You can always repurpose those live videos, too!
From a content perspective, you can create content to upsell additional products and services or you could be offering premium content and offerings for your ‘superfans’.
Also, create content for your superfans – the people who will go the extra mile to work with you and who buy into everything you’re about. This isn’t a hard sell, but it’s about offering a final tier of amazing, detailed services that only your existing customers would love or understand.
Create the most important course… and repurpose it!
Every course in this severely-stretched metaphor is important in its own right, but the standout has to be your long-form content – your main course.
This is the largest, most-involved part of the meal. Creating a great main course means you can create the other accompanying courses sympathetically, congruently, and consistently with that standout centerpiece main course.
Content repurposing will help you develop those six other courses from your main.
If the whole meal fits together, you make your customers’ journey much easier and far more appealing. If you don’t, it’s a bit like trying to combine dishes from India, Mexico, Thailand, Peru, England, Ethiopia, and Russia into one meal. Nobody will know what’s going on and they’ll probably be scared to try it!
Each course has to make sense in relation to what precedes and follows it.
With content repurposing, you’ll have your Michelin star in no time.