Content creators are having difficulties in choosing between creating short-form or long-form content to beat the content overload. Even more when they have to take into account the quality, consistency and time it takes to make quality content. And at the same time we are told that our digital attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. Nonsense! We still determine for ourselves where, how and when we want to consume content.
Snackable content: a collective term for digital content that can be easily consumed because of its visual appearance.
In the current content marketing landscape, we see that snackable content is perfect for grabbing the (first) attention of the target group. It is often scroll-stopping content that visually stands out. Content that is recognizable, relevant and immediately understood, delivered in a bite-sized format. You would even want to take another bite.
Two types of content
We, therefore, want to make a distinction between two types of snackable content. In most marketing blogs you read about short-form content that needs to be designed quickly and comprehensively. With a focus on mobile-first, this type of content is often shared in the form of short videos, stories, memes, images, GIFs and audio files via social media and messaging apps.
They are content snacks for on-the-go consumption. A principle that in my eyes is perfectly executed by Gary Vaynerchuck, as he also describes in his own content model (pdf). The goal is, in the first few seconds of our attention, to gain more reach, views, clicks, likes and shares. And to warm up the target audience for the main course: the long-form or evergreen content.
Compare it to a trailer or teaser of a movie. You often know from the trailer whether you want to see the entire film. And still, you have control over when you want to watch it. And that's how it also works with this type of snackable content. It is an attractive way to satisfy our appetite for more information. Because of the fast, easily scannable and shareable format, it has the potential to reach and engage a larger and wider audience.
Another example of this is Food Inspiration Magazine, who are stimulating readers with beautiful food photography, short blogs and quotes via their social media channels to read the online magazine. Give readers a first taste and let them crave more.
The main course
But in our opinion, snackable content is not just about a quick branded message. Brands and organizations have more to say. But they can't tell it in just a single-sided post on social media or a short blog. And therein lies the challenge for most content creators. They want their long-form content (such as a blog, whitepaper or e-book) can be enjoyed and consumed just like we do with smaller bite-sized content. Our brain loves images, which are much easier to digest and remember than text only. Meaning: we need to let readers enjoy every bite they take.
But how can you present and design a large amount of content in such a way that every (relevant) information is crystal clear at a glance? You need to shorten texts and support them with descriptive images, graphs and headlines. This way you bring a clear structure and layout. Content that is easy on the eyes and can be understood quickly. Make it snackable! Arouse the curiosity of the reader and invite them to take another bite, as this example of the BBC shows.
No empty calories
Snackable content contains anything but empty calories. In those few seconds that you gained the reader's attention, you have the opportunity to involve them with your content. And with the available technology and tools of today, we are now able to add interactive elements to it. As a result, for example, longreads offer readers a new reading experience in a bite-sized form.
Publications such as Millennials are screwed by Highline (Huffpost) or Retour Rumoer by NOS show that you can captivate and engage readers for minutes with a well-thought-out mix of interactivity, animation, images and text. Snackable content that is finger-lickin' good.
Finding the right ingredients
The use of both types of snackable content in your content marketing strategy contributes to growing brand awareness and engagement. But its creation does not only lies in the hands of the content creators. To convert long-form content into a snackable content format, several skills are needed - the right ingredients. Texts supported with infographics, animations, bullet lists, quotes, video or audio snippets make a long piece of content much easier to read.
The advantage is that you can reuse old content and give it a new look. The ROEM cycle (from Gerretsen and Machielse) and the aforementioned GaryVee content model can help bring a team of marketers, designers, developers, storytellers and copywriters together in creating effective content.
Determine the preconditions. Organize content creation. Ensure careful planning. And establish the right metrics to evaluate the results. Good quality long-form content is easy to convert to multiple content snacks (short-form), the other way around is more difficult. Multidisciplinary ingredients are indispensable in a recipe for snackable content.
Icing on the cake
You can see the impact of snackable content through various metrics. Short-form content is perfect for data-insights such as reach, clicks and shares. Long-form content offers more insights into the reading behaviour of the target group, such as average session duration, scroll depth, click-through rate, bounce and even conversion percentages. With both this quantitative and qualitative data you can assess how snackable content contributes to the needs of the target group. Once you know what they like, you can serve your returning visitors!
So what type of content do you prefer to serve your target audience?
This article appeared earlier on the popular Dutch content marketing platform Frankwatching.