Many of my clients ask me to take long papers and research reports and turn them into something more “bite-size” for demand generation purposes. The challenge with longer reports is that, although they’re filled with loads of interesting information and data points, they’re often overwhelming for prospects in the early stages of the buying cycle. Creating a shorter, “snackable” piece that highlights interesting insights from the longer report increases the ROI of your original paper plus you get a compelling new piece that’s ideal for demand gen campaigns.

Creating a “Snack-Size” Report for Brocade’s Demand Gen Campaigns

A great example of a compelling teaser is the guide I wrote for a client. The demand generation manager had a meaty 22-page research report full of data and in-depth analysis on its Ethernet fabric solutions. However, while this report was a good fit for highly technical decision-makers that understood its “speeds and feeds” information, it wasn’t as well-suited for business IT executives who were early in the buying cycle.

I was asked to create a shorter “teaser” piece that highlighted the most compelling results for business IT decision-makers. The goal was to use this new, more concise guide to entice prospects’ interest and generate well-qualified leads.

Some of the advantages my client realized by repurposing the research report’s content into a teaser guide include:

• Targeting a new market segment: business IT decision-makers.

• Realizing additional ROI from the original research report.

• Gaining a new, stand-alone deliverable to use in multiple demand gen campaigns.

• Realizing efficiencies as it was more cost-effective and quicker to create the teaser than writing a report from scratch

6 Steps to Creating Snackable Content

After creating many of these “teaser” guides, I’ve learned a few best practices to make them as compelling as possible:

1. Highlight only the absolute most important takeaways. Don’t get stuck including information that’s “sort of” important. The success of this piece will hinge on highlighting the absolutely compelling takeaways that your audience finds useful.

2. Be ruthless about keeping it short. I limit these types of reports to 3 pages max. Two pages are even better. The longer the report, the more easily people can be overwhelmed and choose not to read it.

3. Include informative headers and sub-headers. Readers will skim and scan your teaser report to determine if they want to dig in deeper and read more. By writing headers and sub-headers that “tell the story”, you’ll give them a sense of what’s in it and they can better decide if they want to delve into more of the content.

4. Don’t make it a sales pitch. We purposely toned down the Brocade-specific information until the final pages of the report. Often, when I write these types of guides, we don’t mention the company or product except in a final closing paragraph.

5. Use compelling graphic design and plenty of white space. I work with a great graphic designer who used interesting graphics that reinforced the key messages and made it visually fun to read. We also pulled out important quotes and statistics to highlight in the margins and moved background information (such as “What is the Brocade VDX 8770 Switch?”) to sidebars.

6. Carefully consider your call-to-action. Think carefully about what you want readers to do after they read your report and add a web link to take them there. For the Brocade guide, we asked readers to download the full research report.

Think twice about making your call-to-action merely “Call Sales at xxx-xxx-xxxx”. If prospects want to contact your Sales team, they’ll get your phone number or email address from the boilerplate contact information at the bottom of the report. It’s a much better use of a call-to-action to direct them to additional, relevant content sources on your website.

Learn More

By the way…whenever you’re ready, here are some ways I can help you stand out the noisy tech market:

  1. Grab a copy of my report on original research, which includes all the details on how to use original research to capture prospects’ mindshare. Download it here.

You’ll learn why marketers are getting so much value out of their original research, the steps in conducting an original research study, and you’ll get my 9×14 content grid that gives you 14 content ideas to fulfill nine different marketing strategies. Get it here.

  1. Work directly with me to create an original research roadmap. There are a lot of details to running an original research study and creating content that gets results. I’ll work with you to create a roadmap plan that ensures you’ll get the biggest ROI from original research. Contact me, and I’ll get back to you with more details.