The antithesis of white papers – why you need snackable contentThe antithesis of white papers – why you need snackable content

The antithesis of white papers – why you need snackable content

Written by Naters Philip on 5th Jan 2016

You know what content you want to get across to your consumers and now, Twitter can be your handle.

Although I (somewhat begrudgingly) see the value of large scrolls of information like white papers, I also believe that when it comes to marketing, sometimes it’s better to hold fire on tapping fingers across the keyboard too much.

To begin with, simply ask yourself an honest question: what length of content do you find yourself reading most often on the old internet?

White papers?

News Articles?

Tweets summarising everything you want to know in 140 characters or less?

There are times white papers can be great if you need to take an academic look at a topic, or perhaps for the purposes of a downloadable ebook. However, often people can find them too long, over-stimulating and frankly, a bit dull.

All that is grand, but realistically if you’re tired of reading swathes of text, then why wouldn’t your target audience feel the same way?

Ironically, this blog is going to be a lot longer than I would like it to be for me to make my point.

A big issue with producing loads of content is that it can lead to a watered down message that nobody can relate to, rendering it effectively useless.

One way to get around this problem in-house is simple, you can easily condense a white paper down to a one-pager, which should typically be no longer than 500 words. Just by doing this, you have found a way to get all of the information you need into one page and no-one is going to skim read it – hurrah!

However, where you might need some outside help is when it comes to creating stratospheric, Michelin-star grade snackable content. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?


The reason for creating snackable content, is to get your information across as quickly and succinctly as possible, and to get it in front of as many relevant eyes as you can.

You know you need to change the way you’re working and you want to create something reactive, so it’s with all the sense in the world that we look towards the glorious power of tweets.

Tweets are about as snackable as content comes; a bite here, a nibble there, scrolling through updates constantly on your daily commute… Tweets are the true antithesis of the white paper and I’m all praise for them.


Buzzsumo wrote that micro-content (they meant to say snackable I’m sure) like tweets are growing at breakneck speeds and they aren’t showing any signs of stopping.

Statistics of people using Twitter are verging on ridiculous: 500 million tweets are sent on average every day and 63 per cent of users, use it as a news source.

When we look to mobiles, 250 million people have Twitter on their phone with 80% of Twitter’s active users being on mobile.

People are starting to twig that one of the best ways to get information in front of people is through Twitter, so much so that figures from July indicate that 25 per cent of Twitter’s advertising is dedicated to mobile. (Figures from and based on Twitter’s findings).

Forbes, among most other people who are paying attention, only expect snackable content, like Twitter to grow and a large reason for its popularity is fomo.

Fomo, or fear of missing out for anyone who lives in a box, is a product of having information that is increasingly readily available.

Mashable has previously reported that 56 per cent of people who use social media have fomo, because they need to engage with information constantly.

I’m sure there isn’t one person among us that hasn’t felt fomo’s keen sting, but with regards to marketing, it’s important to tap into this to help produce stellar snackable content.

Although it’s less than 200 characters, a tweet can be a daunting thing to construct, perhaps this is because – like all things on the internet – they’re written in ink and not in pencil.

You can make a mistake on a tweet, delete it and have it reposted in 10 seconds, but in that time someone has screenshotted it, posted it, it’s been retweeted twice already and no-one has fomo on your mistake.

Think about what response you are trying to get from your audience and what motivates people who use social media.

The New York Times did research last year on just that and the top three reasons for sharing other posts were: to entertain other people, to define themselves to others and grow relationships.

A social media expert can help you get into the persona mindset of your target audience to help you construct the perfect snackable content, which is time better spent than slogging over a 50-page white paper that may only garner a few cursory glances.

The tools are there for you to create amazing snackable content: Stephen King said last year that often, story ideas are like cups without handles.

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