boudin bakery fisherman The Surprising Lesson From A Bakery

We recently had some friends visiting San Francisco from Washington, DC, so we went up to spend time with them.

We saw a lot of things I haven’t seen, even though I’d lived 30-40 minutes from San Francisco for most of my life.

One of the places we saw was the Boudin Bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf.

While we were there I learned some interesting things about the bakery that I didn’t know.

And in the process, I learned some important lessons that apply to content marketing.

Here are some of the things that I learned:

  • Boudin Bakery was started in 1849 by a French baker named Isadore Boudin.
  • He came to San Francisco and started his bakery in North Beach because of the Gold Rush population boom that had happened the year before.
  • It is the oldest bakery in the West.
  • It’s one of the oldest businesses in San Francisco.
  • He used a traditional European technique of capturing natural yeast found in the air for his “mother dough”.
  • They still use the same “mother dough” to this day!

The 166-Year-Old “Mother Dough”

boundin bakery and mother dough

Did you hear what I said?

Boudin still uses the same “Mother Dough” that they first used back in 1849.

Isidore captured the original yeast from the air 166 years ago and he was happy with it. It produced a flavor in the bread that was pleasing to him.

So instead of trying to capture the yeast again and trying to duplicate it, he did what bakers have done for thousands of years: he kept part of that original “mother dough” to use in the next batch.

That is how Boudin Bakery has continued to produce consistently delicious bread for all these years!

They don’t start completely from “scratch” with each new batch.

They always begin with a part of Isidore Boudin’s original dough.

The original dough is replenished daily with flour and water, so that the strains of yeast that he captured way back in the 1800s can continue to survive and can be used to make another loaf of bread today and tomorrow.

The Secret of Today’s Publishing Empires

Effective content marketing comes from two things.

It comes from using a powerful content marketing strategy and from utilizing great content.

What you need to realize is that people who produce great content and harness effective content marketing strategies hardly ever start from “scratch.”

They almost always have some sort of “mother dough” that they use as a “starter.”

Content Marketing Strategies

The “secret” of many of today’s publishing empires such as:,,,, and is that they are all using the same content marketing strategy based on the same “mother dough.”

What do I mean?

They all began by using a portion of a content strategy “mother dough” that has been used for 214 years.

What is the strategy? It’s amazingly simple, but powerful

The basic strategy is made up of just two steps:

1. Create a content channel for your target market.

2. Invite leading authorities to create content for you.

(Want to learn more? I go into much more detail about this here and explain how I discovered this same strategy was used to establish a bookstore in France that began using the strategy way back in 1801.)

How To Unleash Your Content Marketing Creativity

But you need to understand that this doesn’t just apply to content marketing strategy.

It also applies to content marketing creativity.

That means that if you want to come up with new ideas for your content marketing, you don’t have to try to come up with them out of the blue.

Great Content

Let me explain by sharing with you a practice that copywriters have been using for decades.

Years and years ago copywriters learned a powerful secret to creativity.

Instead of starting from scratch every time they wrote an new ad, they discovered that it was better to use a previously written successful ad and use it for inspiration and ideas.

They created what became known as a “swipe file,” which was a file of copywriting that had already proven to be effective.

They would look over the samples that they gathered in this swipe file and use them to unlock ideas and inspiration for any and all new copywriting ideas.

(Want to learn more? I go into much more detail about this creativity secret here and I explain four ways to gain new ideas and insights for your content marketing.)

What I am trying to get you to see is that the way to come up with the best content marketing ideas is not to start from scratch every single time.

The best way to come up with content marketing ideas is to use some sort of “Content Marketing Swipe File” as your “mother dough.”

The Way That Leads To Effective And Consistent Results

The Boudin Bakery has successfully produced amazing sourdough bread for 166 years, because they use the same “mother dough” that produced the first amazing loaf.

If you want to produce effective content marketing, then you must do the same thing.

Don’t start completely from “scratch.” That’s too risky.

Instead use a portion of the “mother dough” from a strategy or idea that has already proven itself to be effective.

Then add your own ingredients and twists to it.

That is how you consistently produce great content marketing.

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