“Snackable” content is a hot topic in business-to-business marketing. According to this recent post on B2B Marketing, the average human attention span is now shorter than that of your typical goldfish.
In a professional context, we are frequently short on time and under pressure to juggle conflicting priorities and meet tight deadlines. There are countless statistics to show that easy-to-digest, short-form (and preferably visual) content wins.
Whether it is a white paper, infographic, or case study, marketers are often briefed to create compelling content. The information that we are asked to communicate is usually highly technical. It can seem like an impossible task to create bite-size material without oversimplifying the story or omitting essential details.
So, do the principles of “snackable” content still apply when looking to communicate highly complicated messages to technically demanding industrial B2B audiences?
The first question, of course, is what are the “ideal” length and type of content to use in their marketing activity? Well, the answer varies depending on the nature of the material, but you can’t get away from this simple truth: the shorter, the better.
We don’t kid ourselves. Snackable content does require a shift in mindset for some technically minded individuals. Lead generation can throw an additional consideration into the mix.
If they have been asked to provide their contact information, isn’t there a risk that the reader will feel short-changed? But the strength of the content isn’t measured by the word count. It’s the value of what you are sharing that matters; your customer or prospect doesn’t want to have to trawl through pages of dense copy to uncover key takeaways.
Producing material on a complicated subject matter is usually easier said than done. Too often, the writer’s eyes are too big for the readers’ stomachs. The reasons for producing snackable content go out the window, despite the best intentions.
How can you create content that appeals, while including all the requisite technical information?
1. Back to basics. Ask yourself three simple questions: Whom are you looking to talk to, what are their pressure points, and how are you going to help them? If you’re not sure, keep thinking or get input from somebody else.
2. Be clear. Identify your key message and make it clear that this is the purpose of the content. If you can’t summarise what you want the audience to learn from the material, then your reader won’t know either.
3. Keep firm. Don’t succumb to pressure, whatever the source, to broaden the content’s scope or include unnecessary details. It will only dilute the impact of the communication.
4. Don’t try a one-size-fits-all approach. Think about creating multiple pieces of content for different audiences and stages in the buying process. If there is too much to say, then try a series of technical papers. You don’t have to give the reader all the information in one go.
5. Think of your reader. When creating content, remember that we are all people. We process information in different ways, whether we prefer visuals, audio, or hard facts and figures. If your budget allows, consider multiple tools to deliver maximum appeal to your potential audience.
6. Evaluate the results. Always measure the success of a campaign and accept that you might not always get it right the first time. Try alternative approaches, and use the analytics to hone your approach until you nail it.
The most important thing is to enjoy the intellectual challenge. It is not always going to be easy to create “tasty” technical content, but if you think carefully about what you want to achieve, then your content is likely to work harder for you in return.
Jenny Mason is a senior account manager at at Barrett Dixon Bell (BDB), a B2B global marketing communications agency. She offers a strong background across international trade media and digital communications in the engineering, food, and professional services sectors.