On Airtable Universe, people from all walks of life can showcase their passions to the whole world. Every month, we profile one of our favorite Universe bases.
The Culinary Institute of America was the first school to teach culinary arts in the United States, and to this day it remains one of the most renowned culinary schools in the entire world.
Joshua Auerbach, the CIA's social media and web content manager, is responsible for ensuring that the venerable institution has an online presence to match its brand. One content series that he worked on was a partnership with the Associated Press, in which the CIA developed a variety of recipes for distribution through AP channels.
To keep track of the recipes as they make their way across syndication channels, Auerbach put together an Airtable base—and later published it on Universe.
Managing SEO, content, and the web presence for a revered institution like the Culinary Institute of America must be a huge challenge. What tools do you use to keep everything organized? Do you have any workflow tips that you can share?
Airtable, of course, has been a significant help! Recently we completed an audit of our 100+ social media accounts using Airtable as our database. The ability to switch between various filtered views made this enormous effort much easier to complete.
Google Analytics is also essential, especially when it comes to SEO and content. We need to know it’s working and going to the source for the information is probably a good idea.
It really comes down to finding those individual services that work for your company’s needs.
Recently we started using TrackMaven. For reporting and measuring content, not to mention the competition, it’s great! In brief terms, I look at it as a dual-layer Google Analytics. What I mean by that is TrackMaven allows for multiple queries in reports and thus that additional layer for comparative data analysis.
Hubspot is our publishing platform for all of our social media accounts. We post natively only when there are no other options, like Facebook Live as an example. Otherwise, it’s great to have all your publishing together in one application.
Those are just our mainstays and in combination they are very effective. I’d like to say there is one solution for everything, but it really comes down to finding those individual services that work for your company’s needs.
We love this base that you published on Airtable Universe! Could you walk us through the life of a recipe, from ideation to testing to publication?
Our recipes come from many sources—our students, our professors, and sometimes our alumni—and thus recipes rarely follow the same path from idea to publication. In most cases, our chefs can spend years before finalizing a recipe. Once they're happy with it, our writers will look it over for grammar, edits, and add copy if necessary. The recipe then gets published to our blog or our enthusiast's page. After this, it’s then up to our social media team to distribute the recipe via social media or release it for third-party publication.
Being part of the social media team, I personally am only involved in the later stages of this process. I’m am sure there are even more details and nuance to the process that I just can’t speak for.
With so much food-related content and digital-first food publications these days, how does the CIA stand out?
It's not easy! We always try and put our best foot forward with in-demand recipes and ingredients, as well as great photos to go along with them. That’s the obvious answer, of course; the real work is in monitoring and forecasting trends.
Trends these days are shorter and shorter, so the time window to get stuff out is smaller and smaller, and we have to be ready. Making sure we follow and subscribe to our competition and influencers to see what they’re up to is crucial.
Internally, it’s the job of the institution as a whole, to be on top of the latest and greatest, so fortunately we can rely to some extent on the going-ons around here to provide us with the food-related content and digital-first to maintain our standing as the world’s premier culinary college.