Anyone who engages in online content marketing needs to ensure they pass the "Strawberry test", which involves making it inviting, bite-sized and healthful, says Forbes guest columnist William Arruda, founder of CareerBlast.
Arruda points out that the competition to gain online readers is intense at best, with 130,000 new long-form posts published to LinkedIn every single week. There are also more than 500 million tweets per day on Twitter, and 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute. So how the hell do you make your own content stand out?
Arruda says the only way is to ensure your content passes the "strawberry test":
Inviting: Arruda says your message must be compelling, immediately. "With so much content vying for our attention, we are only going to consider the truly enticing ones,” Arruda notes. “In a split second, we will decide whether to keep reading.”
Bite-Sized: A 2000 study by Statistics Brain Institute found that the average person's attention span was just 12 seconds. By 2015, that had shrunk to just 8.25 seconds. Therefore, your content needs to take this into account by being short, sweet and "scannable", Arruda says.
Healthful: Last but not least, your content needs to be "healthful", Arruda says. By that he means that readers need to believe they're actually going to gain some useful knowledge from it. “Perhaps they want to learn and grow, solve a problem, laugh. This is the ‘nourishment’ element,” he wrote. Arruda also notes the more valuable your content can be, the greater the likelihood it will garner social actions such as liking, commenting, and sharing.
Arruda says that content creators need to ensure they tick at least two of these three boxes at a minimum. However, if they can tick all three boxes "it will have a lot more impact on your brand". Still, he says that the vast majority of content posted online only ticks one of the three boxes at best.
As an added tip, Arruda says it's possible to entice readers further by ensuring your content is "dipped in chocolate," something that he says is typically achieved "with the headline or title and first few sentences (or seconds of a video) and/or the associated image—drawing in the viewer the same way the chocolate-covered strawberry calls to you from the plate.