Why is cooking skills content an important part of your marketing strategy?
Updated: Mar 10, 2021
62% of us now cook more meals from scratch than we did in 2019 and yet 47% of millennials don't know how to cook three meals from scratch. Even more surprisingly, two-thirds of UK adults don't know how to boil an egg. With continued uncertainly surrounding out-of-home eating opportunities caused by the pandemic, this gap in cooking skills is a real issue. Recipe content can help, of course, but for those who find cooking difficult or intimidating, a little more hand-holding can mean the difference between grabbing a ready meal and making a simple dish from scratch. This is where cooking skills content comes in, serving as a natural companion to recipe content. With such a significant number of people struggling with the basics, skills content has the potential to grab and keep the attention of aspiring home cooks.
What is cooking skills content?
'Cooking skills content' refers to any content that teaches home cooks how to complete various cooking tasks and processes, such as chopping an onion or spatchcocking a chicken. While recipe content walks home cooks through the process of creating a meal, cooking skills content gives home cooks more in-depth knowledge, zoning in on just one of the processes and increasing their confidence in the kitchen.
What are the benefits of cooking skills content?
Increase basket value as consumers become more familiar with cooking processes and through upselling. E.g. fresh herbs versus dried
Foster loyalty and drive brand awareness by adding true value
Brand collaboration opportunities with cookware manufacturers
Build a reputation as a trusted source of knowledge
Increase consumer confidence in their cooking abilities, opening up opportunities to increase sales of unfamiliar ingredients as consumers explore different cuisines
What sort of cooking skills content should you invest in?
The sort of cooking skills content you should invest in depends on your audience and their needs but it should be simple, clear and visual. Video content is particularly engaging. Let's take a look at a couple of good examples. Scrambling an egg should not necessarily require a recipe but getting the technique right isn't always easy. In fact, a J. Kenji Lopez-Alt scrambled eggs how-to went viral recently and from the New York Times Twitter poll below, it's clear that people aren't aligned on the best way to scramble eggs.
Videos that walk home cooks through the process of scrambling an egg have viewer numbers in the tens of millions. Gordon Ramsay's 4-minute video has a staggering 44 million views, while this shorter offering from Clean & Delicious has reached 8.6 million.
Chopping onions is another cooking skill home cooks struggle with, as evidenced by the 24 million views of Gordon Ramsay's 75-second video.
Shorter videos have higher views, so the aim of cooking skills video content is to explain the skill as clearly as possible in the shortest amount of time. ~85% of videos on social media are viewed without sound, so it makes sense to avoid voiceovers in your cooking skills video content and to add subtitles for accessibility if this is not possible.
Do I need to invest in video cooking skills content?
While video content is incredibly engaging, step-by-step images that clearly illustrate the process are a fantastic way to engage those who do not want the hassle of pausing and rewinding video content. Step-by-step content is already widely used online, most notably by wikiHow. It's also a standard search term when consumers are in need of more detailed instructions. In the past year, worldwide search interest in 'how to boil eggs step by step' has soared 450%, while search interest in 'how to make pizza dough step by step' increased a staggering 2,200%, making it one of the top rising Google search trends worldwide.
The first organic search result for 'how to boil eggs step by step' is from thestayathomechef.com and includes detailed step-by-step images alongside written instructions and countless five-star reviews. This is a great example of skills content that engages consumers by adding true value.
Offering cooking skills content your audience will use
There is a clear requirement for visual cooking skills content, but as with all content, it's not a case of 'add it and they will come'. Tailoring the sort of cooking skills content you offer to your audience's needs is key. If you have already curated your recipe content to suit your audience, you're in a good place.
Implement an audit of your recipe content with a focus on the following questions:
What are the most common cooking skills required to make these recipes?
Can these cooking skills be sorted by how easy or complicated they are and does every cooking skill in the easy category require step-by-step visual content?
Do your underperforming recipes have more complicated cooking skills in common that may be off-putting for home cooks?
Once you have compiled a list of cooking skills content to add to your website, it's worth choosing a small selection to A/B test before full implementation.
71% plan to continue to cook at home more often post-pandemic, so cooking skills content that helps home cooks get to grips with unfamiliar cooking techniques will continue to play an important part in keeping people engaged with home cooking into the future.