When you cook and prepare food on Sunday ahead of time, that's meal prepping. Well, kinda, you're not a True Prepper unless you make all your meals for the week. (I don't do this personally, I don't think I own enough food containers but I will occasionally cook a big pot of food for leftovers.)

In terms of developer content, meal prepping is production with the intent of scheduling in advance. In advance of what? Some window of time. Production is cooking, obvs. Scheduling is like... on Wednesday choosing what tupperware out of the fridge you feel like eating. It's quick and easy.

The simplest (and most common?) example is scheduling a tweet. If a conference is coming up, you buffer up a bunch of relevant tweets (production) that you drip out ahead to build awareness and hype (scheduling). Any articles or videos you produce ahead of the conference are also meal prepped.

A more advanced form of meal prep would be podcast production. Since my podcast is weekly with guests, I need to take into account inviting and booking them which means I record and edit them ahead of when they are released (production), which is dripped out weekly (scheduling).

The advantages of content meal prep include:

  • Setting aside time to plan and focus
  • Creating a series of drip content
  • Not forgetting something that would cause a delay
  • Showing up at just the right moment
  • Buffering to remain consistent

But there are downsides:

  • You can't release fresh, timely content in response to something
  • You are limited to the content types that can be produced in advance
  • It requires having the time to set aside
  • It requires the skills to produce the content

What content can (or should) be prepped?

A breaking news article is timely, you can't write about something before it happens – THIS JUST IN!

What about a blog post on using React with TypeScript? Well, it depends. If it's using React 16, that isn't timely – it can be written anytime. If it's for the newest version that released yesterday, that might have been worth prepping in advance using the alpha or beta version and then releasing it the day of.

There are recipes – like chicken tortilla soup – that are conducive to meal prep. Make a gigantic pot and bam, soup for days.

But even though you could, I never prep burgers – I serve those suckers fresh and hot off the grill. (I make a mean burger btw, it's gotten testimonials.)

Why does this nuance matter?

Could the content you're prepping in advance actually be more effective if it was served in a live format?

You (and more importantly, your audience) are bound to get sick of eating soup every day. Don't forget to live in the moment.

Sure yeah, prep those soupy articles, but unless you want to have a boring Friday night, spice it up by inviting some friends over to grill a Twitch live coding series.

Have a lovely day,
Kamran

Soupy vs. flamebroiled content