Change Your Content Diet: Salty is the New Sticky #socialmedia


When blogs became popular – back when the internet was only made up of a few hundred thousand websites – the idea of “sticky content” was born. As the number of websites and blogs grew at an exponential rate the demand for eyeballs increased. The goal of the content game became keeping visitors on your site, and if possible converting them to a subscriber.

Sticky content refers to content published on a website, which has the purpose of getting a user to return to that particular website or hold their attention and get them to spend longer periods of time at that site.

But the Internet landscape has since changed, and sticky content is losing. In the past decade, the World Wide Web has grown into billions of websites, and thousands more are being created daily. Networks like Twitter and Facebook have evolved into the next generation of news sources where millions of people are finding content that interests them without having to look for it. Recently, search engines like Google and Bing have also begun to integrate social feeds into their algorithms to determine relevant search results.

Sticky content loses because memorable content and subscribers do not drive your search results or discoverability

In today’s internet, sticky content loses because memorable content and subscribers do not drive your search results or discoverability – nor does sharing your content all by yourself. With the growing selection of content choices available and large sites packed with data, people may never even find your site with SEO. 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.

The content itself needs to not only intrigue the visitor but also generate new visitors in the vast sea of websites.

Salty content is more effective in today’s World Wide Web environment. People can easily consume it and most importantly are enticed to share it. Salty content gets visitors to use their many social networks to push your content to their own audiences, giving you exponential reach that increases site traffic. It also feeds the search engines flavorful posts from your website, which increases search rankings.

Salty content is highly sensitive to the visitor’s own ideas and frame of mind, which makes it difficult to master. To be effective, salty content has to speak to a person’s ideologies. 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 subsequent YouTube videos and Netflix episodes. Salty content captures the person’s attention and must be well-crafted to pull them in. It is a true test of your story telling abilities.

Salty content can be long-form. In this case it must be broken into bite-sized pieces that are easier 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 this tactic. Just be careful, the longer your content, the higher risk of diluting its saltiness.

Salty content captures the person’s attention and must be well-crafted to pull them in.

There are social networks that have embraced the concept of salty content as well. Vine and Tumblr are prime examples. Both networks encourage a micro-blogging level of content that is easily consumed by visitors in a timely fashion. Secondly, they both incorporate sharing features that give content exponential reach (“revine” on Vine and “reblog” on Tumblr). The most popular users on these networks have embraced thematic salty content; they generated series of pieces that speak to the person and leave them wanting more.

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.

It’s time for your content diet to change! Start cooking up salty content.


Examples of Salty Content: – this has content broken into distinct categories, common themes, and well-designed pieces.
AsapScience on YouTube – this team has found a working formula and has a great series of salty content. – this site has a great theme and broken it into multiple categories.



Merlin U Ward is an author, passionate marketer, strategist, and beer geek! He is a proponent of building better business and doing better marketing through better understanding of your customers. His book “You Get What You Give” explores five distinct social media marketing strategies that strengthen the customer and brand relationship. You'll find him in the mix enjoying good beer and wearing funky socks!

  • TedCoine

    Merlin, what a compelling piece. You’ve got this website-leader’s gears turning…. Plus, I love beer and Shawn’s big into his funky socks, so you’re a good fit around these parts. I can’t wait to read your next insight.

  • heidicohen

    Merlin–Love the concept. Useful way for marketers to think about information. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Janet Fouts

    It’s an interesting idea. I see in my own Analytics that people do read longform content. I think the real message here is to stay focused on your own niche and not be too diverse. It can confuse the reader and then they don’t return

  • Mila Araujo

    Love the idea of this salty content Merlin :) I think its critical to add something to your posts that brings out a flavor that appeals to varied audiences by making the tone something easy for them to relate to. I think people are becoming more accustomed to less formal forms of writing- hence the emergence of the storytelling phase in content production. Oddly, many companies are still sticking to their old style instead of switching to this newer form of writing…Content creation seems to be quite challenging due to the mindset too many are stuck in. Love this “salty content”. Great post and glad to see you here on ExchangeGain!

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