Zero-Click Content: How to Beat the Platforms at Their Own Game
Also, always meet and work with your heroes.
This idea first appeared on the SparkToro blog earlier this week. To sum it up:
More than two-thirds of Google Search results end without a click. Social media platforms reward platform-native content — as in, content without any outbound links.
But it’s not even just the above platforms. It’s user behavior, too. Nobody opens up the Twitter app in hopes of leaving the Twitter app.
So if your day-to-day involves making sure people see your content, you would be wise to play into this zero-click behavior.
By creating zero-click content. It’s content that offers valuable, standalone insights with no need to click to leave the platform. Clicking might be additive, but it’s not required.
The best content creators have already been doing this even if they don’t consciously do so. (Think: Every Twitch streamer ever who posts YouTube highlights.) But us marketers? It goes against everything we were taught. We were taught to tease that value, dangle the juicy insight, and make it so readers have to click to learn more. After all, how else would we track ROI?
But in this attention-squeezed world, that’s the wrong strategy entirely. You need to make it so your readers gain some inherent value in that teaser, which then inspires them to click because they want more.
What are some ways to do this?
Offer the punchline upfront. Nobody is immediately primed for your 2,000-word blog. Give them the gut punch right away in your LinkedIn post or Twitter thread, and they’ll actually want the entirety of the context. To promote a SparkToro Office Hours webinar earlier this year, I gave away the punchline to a joke in the email invitation. This ended up being our most-clicked promo email of the year, and we got 900+ registrants.
If you’re promoting a listicle, reveal all but one of those items in that list. It’s just the opposite of the above: give away all the other details but withhold the punchline. Perhaps you’ve produced a how-to video with 5 steps. Consider telling tips 1-4 in your TikTok video, then tell viewers they need to click the link in your bio to learn more. Viewers will still get most of the tutorial, but by the time they’ve reached the end of your video, they’ll be chomping at the bit for the conclusion.
Summarize your long-form content. Ouch. You just spent 15 hours on that blog post (*raises hand awkwardly because this is definitely me*) and now you need to write another one that’s one-third the length? Yup. Getting meta here for a second, this is exactly what I’m doing right now. I’m rewriting my original blog post but it’s the same idea. To a slightly different audience. On a different platform. Zero-click content and distribution for the win.
But believe it or not, there actually is a lot more in my full blog post, “Zero-Click Content: The Counterintuitive Way to Succeed in a Platform-Native World.”
The post includes:
A chart of the major web and social platforms that shows which ones prioritize native content. (Shoutout to Rand Fishkin* for the assist!)
A ton of examples of gold-standard zero-click content
Frameworks for how to do this yourself
*I truly can’t thank Rand enough for his support when I asked for a loving roast of my draft. Always meet your heroes, jump at the chance to work with them, and cultivate a strong relationship where you’re comfortable giving and receiving constructive feedback.
🚀 Superside: Built for Fast Turnarounds. [Sponsor]
No one has time to vet freelancers on gig platforms. But Superside does. It’s the design subscription service that marketers at Facebook, Amazon, Salesforce, and Shopify rely on to get quick, high-quality creative assets. Superside is built for fast turnarounds.
All you have to do is share your creative brief with your project manager, and you’ll work with the top 1% of designers available on the market. No surprise or rush fees.
🤩 Skip Demo Calls With Sales Reps
Discovery calls suck. Those back-to-back demos, lead nurturing campaigns, and all those phone calls.
Here’s where TestBox comes in: a marketplace to test and compare software — no sales reps involved. They’ll pre-populate data into your testing environment so that you can make the best decision for your team—and do it all on your terms.
They’ve just announced their next category: marketing automation. Soon you can test platforms like HubSpot, Active Campaign, Klayvio, Marketo, and more.
And they’re giving away a $2,000 Airbnb gift card to one lucky person on the waitlist! Sign up for the waitlist here.
(This one’s not a sponsored post. If it comes up, tell my friend Hiba Amin I sent ya!)
🍰 Petits Fours
Four bite-sized blurbs linking to interesting content.
🔹 Instagram got shamed out of their terrible update: Shortly after announcing changes that nobody wanted — ones that were to make Instagram more similar to TikTok — the Meta company walked back those changes.
🔸 You can build an audience online without being a douche: Well… it’s probably better not to be a douche anyway. Grace Parazzoli at Demand Curve wrote this incredible playbook about how I grew my Twitter (107k) and LinkedIn (14k) followings. I sincerely mean it when I say this guide is better than anything I would have written. If you suffer from streaks of imposter syndrome and you’re seeking intellectual peers, I highly recommend reading it.
🔹 Sometimes the best way to get people though share your work... is to ask them for their feedback on it. And then integrate that feedback before you publish.
🔸 A new podcast to listen to: Ordinary Astronauts: My friend Nathan Baschez and his co-founder Dan Shipper of Every.to launched their new podcast! It’s a fly-on-the-wall experience of listening to two good friends talk about tech and startups with nuance. Fun, insightful, and casual. Each episode is great so far but my favorite one is the premiere episode.
🍚 Crispy Tofu Rice Bowl
Rice (cooked in your rice cooker, duh)
1 8oz block of extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Ghee or cooking oil
2 fistfuls Chinese broccoli or regular broccoli
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 knob of ginger, grated
Green onions (optional)
Salt and pepper
Drain and press the tofu with paper towels to dry it as much as possible. Cut into cubes. Toss in a mixing bowl with the cornstarch.
In a nonstick pan over medium heat, warm up your ghee (or whatever fat you're using). Saute the tofu until crispy on all (or most) sides, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside and sprinkle with salt.
Add more ghee to your pan. Cook the broccoli until tender crisp, 4-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger. Pour over the broccoli. Add the tofu. Stir to coat and cook until sauce thickens and the tofu warms through, about 3 minutes.
Serve over rice. Garnish with green onions if you want.
The Menu is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.