Last week I stumbled across a study that provided new evidence as to why every business needs a content strategy moving forward: A whopping 94 percent of teachers say their students equate “research” with using Google and other search engines, according to the Pew Research Center.
What a great blog topic, I thought. It shows how the consumers of the future will research before they purchase. But that is where the creative juices stopped flowing. The information the study provided, while significant, was self-explanatory. No blog needed.
The statistic, while it did not warrant an entire blog post, was still interesting enough to share. The challenge then became, “How do we share it?” The answer is a new but logical idea—content snacking.
What is Content Snacking?
We are all familiar with the concept of snacking. (In fact, I am enjoying delicious caramel rice snacks as I type!) But how does this translate to content marketing? Nibbling, a few small bites, a necessary bit of chocolate—however you want to put it, snacking means small and easily digestible.
Blogs require at least a handful of minutes to consume, as do videos, how-to guides, Top 10 lists, and, especially, webinars. Reaching your audience members who are busy with work, family, children, friends and attempts at relaxing, can be utterly problematic. Plus, there is that pesky matter of shrinking attention spans. This is where content snacks will provide you the most benefits.
Think small nuggets of information: a text message instead of an email, a one-image chart instead of an infographic, or a bulleted list instead of an ebook. A great example of content snacking is an image with a meaningful quote or piece of information—perhaps an evocative statistic.
Imagine scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed and coming across a post that looked like this:
People living in Cleveland will most likely stop to read the stat, and they may even consider how they could help those who are homeless in their own city. (This is a true stat, by the way.) This post could then link through to a local charity’s donation page. This snack-sized bit of content could really pull in some extra donations that go a long way in providing for those in need.
It works for products and services, too. And successful brands are already using this tecnique on Facebook and other social sharing sites. Check out this content snack about the Square Wallet Starbucks put out last week.
Notice that there were 200+ shares, more than 10,000 likes and 181 comments. Talk about a successful content snack!
If you choose to post your content snacks on Facebook, make sure you follow these guidelines to ensure your messaging isn't being cut off.
Content Snacking Best Practices
There are five characteristics of healthy snacking: adequacy, balance, control, moderation and variety (or at least that is what Nutrition Checkup tells us!). They can also be applied to content snacking.
- Adequacy: All of your content, no matter its size, should meet your audience's needs. A snack should satisfy your potential customers enough to bring them back for a full meal of information.
- Balance: Content should be equally educational and entertaining, if possible. All your content should also be balanced between top-of-the-funnel educational content and promotional information regarding your products.
- Control: Do not allow your content to get carried away. Don't put out snacks of content too often or without an appropriate tie to what you are selling.
- Moderation: Don't snack too often; you don't want your audience to get tired of your content. Set limits and stick to them. It's all about portion size, after all.
- Variety: Nobody wants to eat bananas every day. Mix it up! It's OK to give your audience a laugh every now and then.
When you apply the same aspects of a healthy diet to your content strategy, you can maintain a healthy content physique.
Have you tried content snacking yet? What are your tips? Share with us in the comment section below!
photo credit: Magic Ketchup