The Six Elements of Snackable Content

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When asked to define snackable content, many marketers will use the infamous quote: “I know it when I see it.

This is because the definition of snackable content lacks clearly defined parameters. This can give the term a subjective meaning. Even I’ll define it here in simple terms.

“Content is snackable when it is designed
for simple and flexible audience consumption.”

The content’s overall design makes it easier to consume, the audience more likely to consume it and it extends from the story and includes how the content is transmitted and shared.

As many as six different factors can make content snackable. And while all six aren’t required for content to be considered snacakable, they are all part of the broader content experience.

1. Story: Does the article tell the audience a story or sell them a product? Even the most basic story framework (beginning, middle and end) can help ensure useful content is created for the audience.

2. Headline: A good headline grabs reader attention – not to mention Google’s. Timely headlines that are informed by the editorial strategy are key. Other best practices from Outbrain include headline word count, headlines asking readers a question, using a colon in the headline and serving up an odd-numbered list of tips on a topic.

3. Visuals: Research shows we process visuals more quickly than text. In addition to helping reduce word count, visuals draw in the reader by grabbing their attention and creating interest in learning more. Visuals also help the content stand out when it’s being shared over social networks. Whether an article has a relevant photo accompanying it or the visual is an infographic and the focus of the article, visuals help generate click throughs. While BuzzFeed exemplifies many of the snackable factors we’re identifying here, a quick visit to their site will tell you that photos are definitely part of this “viral content machine’s” recipe for generating reader engagement.

4. Sharing: According to ShareThis, more than 5.5 million GB of content is shared daily. Earned content syndication through sharing is critical to content marketing success. Sharing that’s responsive to any device should be standard, making it dead simple for users to pass your content along to its network. Minimizing the steps required to share is also critical – one click too many may prevent the audience from sharing it at all.

5. Graphic Design: Even if the best content is armed with the above items, without good graphic design, it won’t matter. A site can make content look its best by applying a mix of aesthetic and utility to attract readers and making it easy for them to browse and consume. Twitter joined Facebook recently in making its news stream more flexible. Instead of having to leave the site to watch a video or view images, everything takes place in stream.

6. Flexible: Responsive design makes it easier than ever to be compatible across platforms. But you can’t rely on this when it comes to publishing content. If you’re not testing the mobile experience first, you’re risking missing the largest window you have with an audience — downtime. From the daily commute to unexpected delays that take place throughout the day, a quick read on the smartphone tends to be the way to optimize this time. Your content must be ready for these moments.

Even Long Form Content Can Be Snackable
You’ll notice I never mentioned the length of an article as an ultimate consideration as to whether or not it’s snackable. Consider a new breed of stories like the New York Times’ “Snow Fall” or Memphis Commercial Appeal’s “6:01.” These long-form stories are designed to serve as a meal in several courses instead of a buffet. They keep reader attention with individual pieces of content, including large visuals and video back story, while leading readers through the larger story.

More than ever, good content is multifaceted — representing the convergence of editorial, design and development. Considering all three when it comes to content creation – snackable content in particular – is critical.

Kevin Dugan – has written 51 posts on this site.
My content creation habits were formed as a kid -- filling notebooks with writing and taking stacks of pictures. These habits have evolved through my 20 years in marketing, as I’ve been immersed in all forms of content, social media and online technology. As Editor-In-Chief of Media is Power, I guide editorial strategy and ensure your needs are met. This is one way I help tell The Empower Group’s story as the director of marketing.

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9 Responses to “The Six Elements of Snackable Content”

  1. Paul
    October 24, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    I think it’s smart to highlight the content being flexible. Especially if you are developing content for syndication and not just for your own site.

  2. Doug Wolfgram
    October 26, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    I agree with Paul above. Flexibility is something that most people overlook.

  3. Maikel Michiels
    October 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Very informative article, especially telling a story.

    In my opinion storytelling is one of the most powerful marketing tools
    that are available, period. I guess for myself I should try and make my own content more snackable, as I usually provide the complete dinner (including desert lol).

  4. Simon Richomme
    October 28, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    A great review of the necessary elements to got viral on social networks and/or enjoyed by users ;) Not always easy to do, but obviously things to think about every time you make a post !

    Thanks for sharing ;)

  5. Nikki Ng (@nikki_ng)
    October 28, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    We just have too much distractions these days that trying to capture the audience’s attention is rather tough. I’m more of a visual person and infographics speak louder to me.

  6. JM
    October 29, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Definitely: long form content in bite-sized pieces.

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