By Emily Mata
There is something profoundly rewarding about being able to create something out of nothing. Whether it’s filling a blank page with words, a naked canvas with paint or mixing ingredients together to bake a cake, there is nothing quite like seeing your hard work come to fruition. There are a lot of similarities between my professional work — strategic communications — and my hobby of decorating cakes: they both hinge on creativity, dedication to detail, and strong visual storytelling.
Here’s a peek at the ways that cake decorating and strategic communications are surprisingly similar — and how my hobby allows me to explore my skills and strengths in a different, non-digital way:
Inspiration can be drawn from anywhere and everyone finds different things inspiring. I draw a lot of inspiration for cake and cookie decorating from various social platforms, particularly Pinterest and Instagram. There are so many incredibly talented people on social media — sweetbakes, cakestyle, brookiescookiesco, and sweetambs, to name a few — it’s hard to scroll through platforms and not feel inspired.
Having a vision:
As my high school history teacher always used to say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Before I begin decorating a cake or a batch of cookies, I always start with a vision — very much in the same way that I do when working on a PR campaign. Brainstorming, visioning, problem solving and message development take equally as much creative thought and energy as baking and decorating a cake.
Paying attention to detail:
I take decorating cakes and cookies very seriously. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I take painstaking care to make sure that my finished product will turn out as I have planned it in my mind’s eye. I take everything into consideration — from the recipe for the cake to the texture and consistency of the frosting. Taking the same consideration to detail is imperative in communications, as well. Following AP style, using proper grammar and appropriate tone are paramount in strategic communications, as well as meticulous editing and fact-checking — especially when working with a client.
Being flexible and adapting:
The methods I use to decorate cakes are not the same styles and techniques that I use to decorate cookies — very much in the same way that the style and tone I use when writing social media posts differ from the style and tone that I use when writing something for a client. An important part of baking — and PR — is having the ability to seamlessly switch back and forth between different styles, tones and deliveries.
Hobbies and passions can make you better at your job, and vice versa, by allowing you to explore skills and strengths in different ways. Whether decorating cakes or cookies or crafting a strategic message, I’m using my creative license to tell a story.
What is your favorite hobby? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and be sure to tag us using #CreateZone.
Bonus: Want to try your hand at cake decorating? Here are my go-to recipes for vanilla cake and buttercream frosting.