Sometimes I wonder … what was the business world like before the digital revolution? My career started with the advent of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s. Ever since, it honestly feels like both pace and pressure to optimize efficiencies have been increasing in critical mass with each passing day. Mix this with the ever-evolving landscape that marketers must manage, and you have a recipe best served to those who thrive in a hyperactive environment.
Over the past few years, content marketing has become one of the biggest focuses for marketing decision makers. Even the way we define content marketing is evolving. Just last year, the widely accepted definition of content marketing was “the creation and distribution of educational and/or compelling content in multiple media formats to attract and/or retain customers.” Today, the Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
The gauntlet has been thrown down to content marketers for their content to be super-savvy, generating prospects and nurturing them to the point of being a profitable customer. So, with limited time, talent and treasure how do we as marketers fulfill this venti-sized order?
Start by serving your prospects with “snackable” content. For example, take that whitepaper or webinar that demonstrates your bold, innovative intellectual property and break it down into bite-sized chunks. By all means don’t stop developing your long form deep-dive content; just make it work harder for you. Consider “snackable” content as one of the most affordable, budget-stretching, prospect nurturing arrows you have in your marketing quiver.
With that in mind, here are three tips for developing snackable content that deliver the levels of engagement marketers seek.
1. Make it relevant.
Think quality, not quantity. Search engines like Google have become sophisticated machines that prioritize content that offers more value to the user. The key here is KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Understand their entire buying cycle. Make sure you understand the conversations and questions that interest them. Know how those conversations and questions vary when they are garnering awareness of your offering vs. when they desire it. Smart marketers focus on creating compelling content that is relevant to each specific audience.
2. Be creative.
Creativity gives your content legs. Your intellectual property makes your content strategically sound, and your understanding of your audience ensures its relevancy. But what will make it stand out among the zettabytes of other digital data out there? Creativity. Use your “snackable” content as a vehicle to convey your brand’s personality. Tell a story with your content in such a manner that your audience is compelled to share it with their network. Few things are more powerful than getting your brand introduced through the confidence of a referral.
3. Know when to check for an ID.
In this age of marketing automation, cookies and forms, we can become too eager to identify a prospect before they are ready. Many marketers are busy trying to put up gates around all their content so they can identify their prospects early and often. Unfortunately, that tends to scare off many and does not allow them to proceed along their buyer’s journey. Rather it attempts to cram them into your sales cycle. Take a look at the people who do this best … the creators of the various marketing automation platforms. Act-On, Marketo, Hubspot, etc. all provide entry level content at no cost and with no commitment of providing your email or contact info. They understand you are on a journey and in the beginning are likely seeking information without the interest of interaction. They understand their prospects and know which questions and conversations indicate a hot prospect that is willing and interested in providing contact information. “Snack” them with short-form snackable content first to gain credibility. Then, when they are ready, serve them up the gated long-form content meal they’re hungry for.
At the core of it all is taking the time to know your audience. From there, your path to snackable content marketing success is much easier to navigate. If you’ve got other ideas for how to optimize your time, talent and treasure around content generation, we’d love to hear them.
Hungry to learn more about snackable content and other considerations to developing a content marketing strategy? Download our article, Content Marketing Strategy: A 5-Step Proven Process.