As the name suggests, micro content is short and sweet and easy to digest. Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen coined the term in 1998, long before the digital revolution, but it’s clear he was onto something even during the dawn of online content creation and consumption. He defined micro content as short text fragments, like headlines, subject lines and page titles for example, that should be immediately clear and inviting to a reader. On their own, they also need to make sense when removed from their original context.
The irony is that we could go on ad nauseum, unpacking micro content and its advantages and applications, making this more of a macro content or long form piece. And blog entries themselves are not technically considered micro content. Technicalities aside, and in the spirit of teaching and learning, we’ll make this 4 minute read worth your while. By the end you’ll have a better understanding of the what, how and why of micro content and be on your way to creating your own.
Examples of Micro Content
Log onto any social media channel and it may seem like you’re wading in a sea of micro content. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? More importantly, as marketers or creators, how do you produce more wheat, less chaff?
Social media is but one avenue for micro content distribution. Examples of micro content are utilized throughout our own website, blog and social channels but we’ve listed the most common types, below:
- Video clips / teasers
- Grids / Charts / Maps
- Concise Copy
- Quotes / Text Blocks
- Email Subject Lines
- Audio Clips
Advantages of Micro Content
So why is micro content important? In an era where our attention spans are less than that of a goldfish and the limited focus we do have is divided multiple ways, it’s crucial to create content that captivates and cuts through the noise. Micro content should solve a problem or answer a question in a very concise way while leaving an impression. Executed successfully, the chances that your audience will consume your long-form content, read beyond the subject line of your email or click on your website in a list of SERPs increases exponentially.
Beyond the attention-grabbing (and holding) effect of micro content, its shareability is another reason to invest in creating a micro content strategy. The low-risk investment and smaller budget required are even more reasons to start developing your plan. Micro content executed successfully will pay dividends in the form of more shares, an increased captive audience, lead generation, links to macro content and more. We’ll dive into more ways to create micro content but always remember to leave your audience wanting more.
One way to do this is with visuals. A visual concept that supports your textual message is an effective way to communicate to your audience in a way that helps them retain and recall your message. You can read more about the power of pairing visuals with text in previous Brain Science blog entries. Furthermore, visuals have been proven to enhance learning by up to 400 percent. This is in part because information paired with a visual increases the chance of that data being stored in your long-term memory, instead of your short-term memory.
Creating Micro Content
Now that we’ve laid out the “what” and “why” of micro content, it’s time to move onto the “how”. If you’re uncertain where to begin with creating micro content, here’s an exercise to help get you started:
- Write down the keywords or phrases that describe what you do. If this is too daunting, narrow your focus to a specific aspect of your business.
- Brainstorm images, shapes and colours that represent your brand or the aspect of your brand you want to convey.
- Select some fact based statistics that support your product or service.
Remember, when you’re analyzing your product or service for the purpose of micro content, you’ll need to distill your offering into a few simple statements. Working with your creative team or a production company such as Switch Video, create concise pieces of micro content that encapsulate the components of your 3-step brand exercise. This will result in a range of micro content; everything from compelling infographics that highlight your statistical successes to attention-grabbing social media content that tells a story. Executed successfully, micro content should be more than just pleasing to the eyes of your audience. It should give them an understanding of what it is you’re trying to say and persuade them to learn more.
Applications of Micro Content
Now that you’ve created your micro content, you’re ready to share it with the world (wide web, in most cases)!
Social media is a natural fit for micro content but it’s important to know what mediums are optimal for each platform. Visual-based micro content is well suited for a visual-based platform, such as Instagram or Pinterest, whereas video-based micro content might be more appropriate on Facebook or YouTube. Twitter is a great platform for gifs, memes and snippets of textual content, as well as a hook and a link to your long form content. Listicles or quick tips are well suited for a platform like LinkedIn. Whichever platform you choose, keep in mind the long game of getting your audience into your funnel using micro content.
In addition to social media, email can be a great tool to deliver your micro content, as well as blogs, landing pages, surveys and websites.
You know your business and your audience best. Don’t be afraid to experiment with distribution of micro content and listen to your audience. Regularly evaluate your performance and metrics to see where tweaks can be made and you’ll be on your way to a micro content distribution method that works best for your business. Repeat this cycle each time you produce content of any kind (micro or macro).
If you’re feeling inspired to create your own micro content, here’s some homework: Using the GaryVee “reverse pyramid” content model as inspiration, start by taking an existing piece of macro content that you’ve created. It may be a blog entry, campaign or longform video, for example. From this single piece of content, explore how you can derive several, if not dozens of pieces of micro content to support it. Take this blog entry for example; using our animation team, we’ll create several visually appealing and relevant graphics that encapsulate our key message. We might choose to develop an email nurture campaign with subject lines that articulate the message behind micro content, enticing the recipient to open and consume our long form content. We’ll also distill this longform entry into a few lines of concise copy that we can use to promote this post on other channels.
Now that you know the what and why of micro content, we challenge you to create a micro content plan. Using a calendar or project management tool, map out upcoming milestones or campaigns and brainstorm ways that you can develop micro content to support those. Evaluate how your existing content can be incorporated. Can you bring new life to an older piece of content using various types of micro content?
If animated video is part of your micro content strategy (hint: it should be *wink*), get in touch with us to see how we can support your brand or business.