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I was discussing content one day over beers (no surprise there) with my friend Kevin Davis, the founder of the citizen journalism app Rawporter. Kevin is in a unique position because he sees a variety of content flowing through his business daily. Through our conversation, we both came to realize that there has been a shift in how content is being produced — or rather, why it is being produced. We reminisced about the days of “sticky content,” but acknowledged that the world it came from has changed. Sticky content refers to content that is published on a website with the purpose of getting a user to return to that particular website, or at least hold the user’s attention to get him or her to spend longer periods of time on that site.

But the Internet landscape has since changed, and sticky content is losing. The World Wide Web has grown into billions of websites, and thousands more are being created every day. People no longer have the attention span to hang around one site for hours, albeit 10 minutes! People now cruise the Internet with multiple tabs open on their browsers, a behavior that is also common among mobile users. No one wants to be stuck on a website.

Trying to get people to stay on your site is becoming increasingly difficult, yet paradoxically, millions of people are moving online. What Kevin and I realized that day over those delicious lagers was that the game has shifted when it comes to where traffic comes from. We realized the content of old is no longer sufficient. Networks like Twitter and Facebook have evolved into the next generation of news sources; they’re where millions of people are finding content that interests them without even having to look for it. Search engines like Google and Bing have also begun to integrate social feeds into their algorithms to determine relevant search results. The new game is not about getting people stuck on your content, but rather sharing it to so that it gets discovered! This requires a new type of content. The content itself needs to not only intrigue the visitor but also generate new visitors in the vast sea of websites. This new type of content is the better, tastier, “salty” content.

What Kevin and I realized that day over those delicious lagers was that the game has shifted when it comes to where traffic comes from. We realized the content of old is no longer sufficient.

salty_content

Salty content is more effective in today’s online environment. People can easily consume it and, more importantly, are enticed to share it. Visitors use their many social networks to push salty content to their own audiences, giving you, the publisher of said content, exponential reach that increases site traffic. Their sharing also feeds the search engines flavorful posts from your website, which increases search rankings. Also, unlike sticky content, it is sensitive to the available time visitors have to view your content, and takes into account the fact they are inundated with many content choices. It instead increases time on site by being thematic. A palatable series of salty content tempts visitors to explore multiple pieces of content on a similar subject. This behavior is not unusual. Despite people reportedly not having time to digest long-form content, they spend hours watching YouTube videos and Netflix episodes. Salty content captures a person’s attention, and must be well-crafted to pull him or her in. It is a true test of story-telling abilities.

Kevin and I both agree that salty content can be long-form. In this case it must be broken into bite-sized pieces that are easy to digest. In written pieces, this means shorter paragraphs and breaking up sections with imagery. In the case of video, the content must have ebb and flow in the story arc that creates suspense for the next scene. Dramatic and humorous content alike use these tactics. Just be careful: The longer your content, the higher the risk of diluting its saltiness.

Salty content captures a person’s attention, and must be well-crafted to pull him or her in.

Content creators can no longer rely on the shortsighted strategy of “stickiness.” The Web has become too large and users have shorter attention spans. Only focused, thematic and shareable salty content will drive new visitors to your website. To find out more about salty content, follow the hashtag, and subscribe to the Salty Content Daily!

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