Presumably, we've all come to understand that your business needs content in order to drive traffic to your website--searchable, keyword-rich, usable content. We've also come to understand that if readers don't share your content, all the work you've done (and the money you've spent) won't be maximized.

So how can you encourage people to share your content, to make it "snackable," thereby earning the most benefit for your effort?

Here are three ingredients required of "snackable" content, as gleaned from conversations with a trio of industry insiders.

1. Think of your content as a building block, not a campaign

With social media now generating nearly as much traffic to websites as Google searches, businesses tend to think they need to create content that's more than just long-form blog posts.

"What brands and businesses really find challenging right now is figuring out what content they should make, and which channels to plan for," says John McCrory, director of content strategy at Brooklyn-based digital shop Huge.

So don't approach your content thinking about how it's going to be optimized for a Facebook campaign or a Twitter #hashtag. "Instead, create content that's agnostic of where it's going to appear," says McCrory.

You'll then have material that's usable in multiple channels. The key is creating material that's useful to readers, which leads us to … 

2. Get your product out of the way

Traditional advertising campaigns tend to push the product--its user benefits or lifestyle attributes--into the spotlight. Content marketing employs a different tactic. When devising your content, start by asking yourself what your brand stands for beyond the product. Explore your company's belief system and its history. If you're the founder, how did you initially position the brand?

"If you're able to then unlock that story line, that will give you very fertile territory to begin to develop creative ideas," says Doug Scott, founder and president of Ogilvy Entertainment.

3. Take the Thrillist approach

As an email service, the success of Thrillist is instructive because it relies almost exclusively on sharing content. What encourages a reader to forward a piece of content to a friend or colleague? I asked Thrillist Media Group CEO Ben Lerer. "Image-heavy content plays well," he says. "People don't really like to read, but they will make their choice via an image, then they'll read and then they're more likely to share."

Remember these three tips when you're producing your content--and watch your social mind-share, forwards, and clicks increase.

Published on: Aug 28, 2014