The Bake Off is back and your brand could learn some valuable content lessons from Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and the rest of the gang.
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The Great British Bake Off returns to TV screens across the UK on Wednesday August 24th at 8pm, and I for one am incredibly excited.
As a twenty-something 'millennial' working in digital, you'd be forgiven for thinking my main interests would be craft beer and quinoa, and that my idol would be either Beyonce or T-Swift. But nope. Mary Berry, an 81-year-old woman who makes cakes, is my hero. I love her. I am obsessed. I own all of her cookbooks, have memorised many of her recipes, and my kitchen cupboards are full to the brim with novelty Bake Off spatulas, pastel-coloured mixing bowls, cupcake cases in every colour and pattern, sprinkles and piping bags.
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GBBO, as it is often affectionately known, is one of the most powerful forces to have impacted on the UK in the past few years, becoming a marketing triumph in its own right.
So, what can other brands learn from the Bake Off?
The power of Bake Off
Statistics from Summit show that during last year's series of Bake Off, sales of baking-related items increased by a huge 214 per cent during the show's run and some 14.5 million people - more than the number who watched the World Cup Final in 2014 - tuned into the series final to see Nadiya Hussain crowned the winner, reducing most of the nation to tears in the process, highlighting just how powerful this TV programme about cake is.
GBBO has also had a significant impact on the keywords brands want to be seen using, with searches for 'Kitchenaid' down by 14 per cent and those for 'Kenwood' increasing by 12 per cent after the former brand of electric whisk was switched for the latter on a recent series. A 22 per cent rise in Google searches for baking products in general was also recorded.
Back in February 2012, searches for 'cake' even overtook those for 'chicken' on the BBC Good Food website, indicating the knock-on effect that Bake Off has had on encouraging people to take up baking themselves.
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What's more, in 2012 Simply Business Insurance reported a 325 per cent increase in requests for quotes from budding entrepreneurs wanting to set up their own homemade cake venture in comparison to before the series began.
Meanwhile, kitchenware retailer Lakeland experienced a 42 per cent climb in baking product sales between 2010 and 2013 following GBBO's launch, subsequently announcing plans to open an additional 40 shops.
It's clear to see that GBBO has had a colossal impact on the digital world, marketing and the popularity of baking in general, but how could some of the lessons taught during the hit programme help to boost your content strategy and overall brand?
What your brand can learn from GBBO
The power of authority: Mary Berry
Mary Berry, or 'Bezza', as co-host Paul Hollywood so affectionately calls her, is one of the most authoritative voices in the world of baking. She's got decades of experience, knows what she's talking about and always delivers her baking with precision.
In the world of content marketing, this is exactly how you should be delivering your content. Think of your relationship with your agency as you would a hotline to Mary Berry - always there to deliver advice and authority to help you create the best content/cake possible.
Don't be afraid to go the extra mile
Your content needs to stand out from the crowd. Every travel company seems to have a '5 best beaches in the world' article on their site, just as most amateur bakers know how to make a white loaf. But they don't all know how to make a lion-shaped loaf.
Take inspiration from Series 6 contestant Paul and let your content stand out, but make sure you do it well. You want to be creating the kind of content that would earn you a coveted Paul Hollywood handshake, so bear that in mind when you're devising your strategy.
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Know when enough is enough
Quirky content is great, as is using lots of different mediums to create rich content, but if this isn't done to the best of your ability and is more 'style than substance' (to use one of Mr Hollywood's favourite phrases), then it isn't going to work and capture your desired audience.
This is a problem for the GBBO contestants sometimes too - remember Flora from last year's series? She often went the extra mile with her bakes on the show, adding macarons or mini meringues to embellish her cakes. But the judges were often left unimpressed, teaching her, and us, that less is usually more - something you should apply to your content at all times.