6 elements of snackable content

It doesn’t have to be bite-size. It simply should be easily digestible, with a mix of storytelling and delectable visuals. And make sure it’s ready for on-the-go consumption (read: smartphones).

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

The concept of snackable content lacks clear parameters, so its meaning has become subjective.

I’ll define it here: “Content is snackable when it is designed for simple and flexible audience consumption.”

The content’s format makes it easier to consume and share. Six factors can make content snackable. Not all are required, but each is important:

1. Story

Does the article tell a story or sell a product? Even the most basic story framework (beginning, middle, and end) can help you in creating useful content for the audience.

2. Headline

A good headline grabs a reader’s attention—and Google’s. Timely headlines that conform to your editorial strategy are essential.

Other headline best practices include using a low word count, asking readers a question, using a colon in the headline, and serving an odd-numbered list of tips.

3. Visuals

Research shows that we process visuals more quickly than text. In addition to reducing word count, visuals grab attention and interest the audience in learning more. Visuals also help the content stand out on social networks.

Whether an article includes a relevant photo or focuses on an infographic, visuals generate click-throughs. A quick visit to BuzzFeed will tell you that photos are a big part of the viral content machine’s recipe for engaging readers.

4. Sharing

According to ShareThis, people share more than 5.5 million GB of content daily, and sharing is crucial to content marketing success. The ease of sharing is essential-on mobile devices as well as on desktop computers. One click too many could prevent your audience from sharing your content at all.

5. Graphic design

Even the best content can fail without good graphic design. Apply a mix of aesthetics and utility to attract readers, and make it easy for them to browse and consume. Twitter recently made its news stream more flexible: Instead of having to leave the site to watch a video or view images, everything takes place in the stream.

6. Flexibility

Responsive design makes it easier than ever for content to work across multiple platforms, but you must test the mobile experience before you publish. Otherwise, you risk missing the largest window you have with an audience—downtime. From the daily commute to unexpected delays throughout the day, most people pass this time on their smartphones. Your content must be available and accessible.

Even long-form content can be snackable

You’ll notice I never mentioned how long snackable content should be. 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 constructed as a multi-course meal instead of a buffet. They keep readers’ attention with individual pieces of content, including large visuals and a video back story, while leading readers through the larger story.

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

A version of this article originally appeared on MediaIsPower.com.

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