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Package Reports Online for Readers that Bite, Snack, and Eat the Meal

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A bite, a snack, and a meal is a concept used for website content that considers each type of reader.  The metaphor applies to packaging for different kinds of readers—the biters, the snackers, and the meal eaters.  This is helpful when creating a web page on a report, speech, or longer document.  This is a simple concept, and it is everywhere on the web.

A bite is the heading, and maybe a photo or graph that explains the document in easy-to-read language.  Today, there are many more “Five things to know about a topic,” This appeals to people who scan or surf the web to identify whether content serves their needs. 

Generally, a heading can be used in social media, so it is helpful to consider document titles that best explain the topic or issue. Jargon like impact assessment, research report, or sector review in headings is not as compelling as the takeaway of the document in its heading.  It is also possible to have the web page title and social media not match the heading of the actual report if the author is committed to jargon in their report title.

The snack is the two or three lines that highlight the document’s findings, policy, or issues.  If someone is scanning their phone, this is enough to understand the takeaways they need to know. This can be a shortened version of a report’s executive summary and often can be recycled for press releases or social media posts.  Given viewer attention spans on websites and social media, the snack is the most critical content and should take the bulk of time to craft.  The traditional media examines these three lines and determines whether this is worth coverage.

The meal is the document for extensive readers wanting to know more.  Stakeholders, experts, and sector leaders will most likely read the whole document, but if the snack is compelling enough, ordinary web visitors will click on the whole meal.

Different types of readers can be measured through website metrics. How long people stay on the page, or whether they “bounce” quickly, is worth understanding.  The downloads of the report will show how many extensive readers come for the full meal.  Mapping views and downloads from similar reports will identify whether this content is getting interest, or whether this needs more promotion.