Think Outside the Industry: How Cooking Panda Engages With New Audiences

Cooking Panda’s mascot holding a cupcake. Courtesy of Forbes.com

How can we keep existing — and catch new — customers’ attention? We’re all looking for answers. According to Forbes, one excellent place to look for inspiration is Cooking Panda, known for its recipe videos. Forbes.com reports: “Render Media acquired Cooking Panda in 2015 with 800,000 followers, and in less than two years they’ve built a fanbase of 7 million followers with 105 million video views per month.”

Here are two of the five lessons in producing engaging content, straight from Cooking Panda’s style guide:

Master your headline and hook. A failed headline is a failed article. If your title isn’t compelling, people won’t bother to click on your content. Crafting powerful headlines is part clever copywriting and part psychological manipulation. A catchy headline requires a deep understanding of your audience — a sense of what will make a reader pause and wonder what’s on the other side of that title.

Introductions are just as important. You could have the world’s best article or the most viral video imaginable, but if the intro isn’t engaging or entertaining, nobody will get through it long enough to share it. It will die and lie forever in the graveyard of forgotten online content.

Nobody wants that. So do yourself and your audience a favor and use a proper hook.

It might be a question, a surprising statistic, or a powerful image. If it’s a video, you might consider starting with the most exciting clips first so people don’t lose their interest in the first 5 seconds. Think like a journalist and remember: don’t bury the lede!

The audience owes you nothing. At the top of the Render Media style guide sits this friendly reminder: “The audience owes you nothing!” Every time you post new content, you have to work for your audience’s attention and give them a reason to come back for more. Past success means nothing.

Each video you post, each article you write, has to be the best one you’ve ever posted. Otherwise your fans will get tired move on to someone who’s actually willing to work for their attention.

It can feel overwhelming to the faint of heart. But it’s motivating to the Cooking Panda crew, whose audience is projected to hit 20 million followers in 2017.”

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