Snackable Content Marketing Strategy

optimize your content

As a B2B marketer, I LOVE LinkedIn — some of my best friends (and prospects) hang out there. So, when I saw this on Mashable today, I just had to share LinkedIn’s ideas for creating a snackable content marketing strategy. Employing this strategy will help your business succeed by providing value to visitors, encouraging them to read your content, and, surprisingly, improve your rank in search results so more visitors find your website.

snackable content marketing strategy

Obviously, you need a content marketing strategy. If you still don’t believe that, you need to look at the image from Hubspot. Posting less than 1/week you really see a drop in new customers and you see a big gain when you publish more than once a day.

But, before you quickly scroll down to view this awesome infographic, let me share my perspective on creating a snackable content marketing strategy.

Snackability is one of the 3 important elements of a sound content marketing strategy — the others are searchability and sharability.

Snackable content marketing strategy

In creating your content marketing strategy, I think you have to think about your readers — duh, that’s a no-brainer. The content you create should FIT the needs of your readers — providing rich insights and value while respecting their time. Thus, your content calendar should contain long-form posts to your website, short, visually appealing content shared on social media, and content for other platforms such as email, video platforms like TikTok and YouTube, and even SMS (short message services like WeChat).

Creating valuable content on a consistent basis is crucial for success in today’s crowded social media marketing world as it’s a major factor impacting your ability to show up near the top when a user’s query matches your keywords. In fact, content marketing is responsible for significant improvements to your ROI.

blog post frequency
Image courtesy of Hubspot

Snackable content

The secret to success in content marketing is to create content that’s snackable. When we talk about snackable content, we mean content that visitors can quickly scan to find answers to their questions or valuable information without reading the entire post. In fact, a study by Nielsen found that only 16% of readers read a post word for word.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t want really great meals — longer content that fills them up. For instance, a recent study found that pages containing between 1500 and 2500 words perform best for SEO and social sharing. The big question is how can both of these facts be right? How can long-form content perform best while visitors only read a fraction of each post?

That’s because readers often consume content in short little bites — waiting for an appointment or meeting, standing in line at the grocery store, waiting to pick up the kids from soccer, whatever.

Readers don’t want War and Peace, they want something they can snack on and fill the few minutes they have to consume content.

Snackable content marketing

This means you must adjust your content marketing strategy to produce snackable content for your website and other platforms you use. Below are some elements to include in your website content that make it more snackable:

  • A table of contents, although I prefer to only create a table of contents for really long posts, especially ones where I review products or suggest various strategies you might employ rather than a post like this where the elements build on each other to form a cogent strategy.
  • Include an introduction that clearly identifies your topic and why visitors should read the content.
  • Headings and subheadings help readers find the content they might find valuable. By using colors, font size, and bolding the content, you draw the reader’s eye to these elements so they can quickly find what they need. Ensure your headings are descriptive of the content following the heading.
  • Bullet points are excellent for listing important elements as well as drawing the reader’s eye to find what they need.
  • Grammar that matches what we were all taught in school. That means short paragraphs that contain a single idea.
  • Links to high authority websites also draw the reader’s eye as well as indicating that the content is well-researched. Links increase the credibility of your content.
  • Images to break up blocks of text. I like to include illustrative images that support the text rather than stock images or something that’s simply pretty.

Interestingly, these same factors help your content rank better with search engines because these tools are designed to help users find valuable content.

Creating a balanced, snackable content marketing strategy

I really like the infographic (scroll to the bottom of this post to view the infographic) and the way LinkedIn defined elements like Desserts, Grains, Meat, Condiments, etc.

But, I would change some of this. Follow along with my notion of how to balance your content marketing with a variety of content types and topics. If you want some help in crafting this strategy, check out my content marketing calendar template to help keep you on track with creating content on a consistent basis, varying your topics and target market, and reducing the time and effort needed to create content. This is especially valuable for larger firms using a team of content creators. You can download the template that underpins this calendar for free.

content calendar template

Desserts

Desserts are those elements that fill your need for whimsy and design.

First off, I’d include a LOT more desserts — of course, that’s my strategy for planning my real meals, as well. In fact, now that the kids are grown, I often substitute a dessert for a meal.

My experience tells me the same thing is true for readers — they want lots of desserts. Load up your site with great graphics, video, and other easily digestible and yummy content (then get a great hosting company that can deliver your image-rich site FAST), and visitors will leave happy. Don’t just take my word for it — the link is from Jeff Bullas who shares the case study of ShuttleRock, which increased just about everything (shares, ROI …) by increasing visual content on the site.

Condiments

And just like condiments add flavor and zest to just about everything, use condiments liberally across your entire content marketing strategy — don’t just drop them in occasionally. I think readers really respond to my somewhat folksy style that makes my content approachable and I certainly get a lot of comments to that effect. Adding too much jargon makes it hard for readers to find value because they don’t understand what you’re saying. Of course, the obverse of that is breaking down principles in such simple terms that your readers are bored or evaluate your content as uneducated. It’s a hard balance to find.

In creating my content, I always have a target reader in mind. That reader comes to me with a specific problem they need to solve. Some are simple problems. Take this post, for example. It’s pretty basic and the problem is pretty generic — the need to create content that resonates with visitors. Others visit my site looking for more specific information or something beyond the basics. Some of my analytics posts are like that so they delve deeply into how to build insights from your data. Newbies to digital marketing likely won’t understand these posts but they’re not the target audience for them. I like to provide a mixture of different content for different visitors.

Plus, as an academic, it’s just natural for me to include a bunch of links in my posts, which is a condiment that builds confidence and trust in my content. After all, why should you believe anything I have to say? So, I like to back up my statements with facts and link to the original sources of those facts whenever possible.

Meat

The meat of your content is long-form content beyond simply producing blog posts. Just as dietitians recommend easing up on your meat consumption and researchers show how meat clogs up your digestive system, I think your blog can easily become overloaded with meat.

For instance, it seems I get at least 1 email from Hubspot every week inviting me to download a white paper or ebook. After a while, I began to question how ANYONE could produce that much VALUABLE long-form content every week. In fact, after downloading many of their ebooks and other resources, I’ve discovered they contain little value, so I’ve stopped downloading them.

My advice is to provide meat sparingly and make sure it’s of the highest quality. But, don’t overdo it. I’m working with a client right now who has an entire novel he’s willing to share. I suggested we just share the first chapter, then distribute the rest of the book in smaller, snackable content marketing chunks.

Also, meat is expensive, so you should get a little more for sharing yours. I usually distribute meat in 1 of 3 ways:

  1. after subscribing to my email marketing program
  2. in exchange for sharing a link to the content to encourage others to read the content
  3. as a premium for becoming a member

Besides, readers think something is more valuable when you don’t just give it away.

Veggies and grains

I actually like to create a few posts that fall into these categories (ie. how-to, repurposing old content, and guest posts are grains while veggies include thought leadership and case studies) so I diverge from LinkedIn’s advice and from that of dietitians everywhere.

Your content should sparkle. If you don’t have something valuable to share, then don’t post anything. Now, I’m not going to say that every post I create is fabulous, but I don’t post if I don’t think what I say is new and interesting.

I don’t talk just to hear the sound of my own voice.

And, with Google’s new semantics and natural language processing, repurposing old content can be a little dangerous. The same goes for keeping old content on your site once it’s no longer relevant. For instance, this post was originally created in 2014 and lots of it had to go while I added a bunch of new stuff. That’s the right way to repurpose old content.

That said, I do like to share great content from other smart folks — like the infographic below. But, as you can see from this post, I only share things that meet 3 criteria:

  1. They create tremendous value
  2. They’re unique
  3. I have something to add to make the content my own — after all, if I’m just sharing someone else’s content, I’ll simply Tweet it out.

Mix it up

The key to success is to mix up the types of content you create as well as meet the needs of all your visitors not just creating snackable content for the sake of creating something to share. Generative AI is a great tool to aid in your efforts at snackable content marketing. I use tools like ChatGPT to:

  • identify trending topics
  • create headlines that might excite my readers
  • write drafts of upcoming posts to reduce my efforts and the time needed

Don’t go overboard with using these AI tools, however.

  1. Some of the content they deliver is just wrong or biased and that won’t help your credibility or build an engaged reader.
  2. Most tools don’t provide links to the original content, which violates my personal ethics and may end up creating bigger problems.
  3. Although Google doesn’t currently penalize content created by generative AI, that may change in the future.
  4. Content created though AI tools tends to be bland and doesn’t match the voice you cultivated on your website.

Your turn

So, do you think I’ve done a good job of sharing this infographic?

Do you agree with my notion of creating a snackable content marketing strategy or do you prefer LinkedIN’s balanced content marketing strategy?

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snackable content marketing strategy
Image courtesy of Mashable