Micro Content: It Keeps Getting Shorter
- Anam Jalil | Oct 28, 2020
A few years into the century proved that this era was going to be about things getting smaller: mp3 players, computers, cellphones, and even skirts and body sizes, etc. From iPods to the trend of size zero, the early 2000s saw it all. And businesses responded to consumers’ continuing desire for smaller products and mini-versions of what they previously had.
Before we jump in to tell you about micro-content, let us tell you what businesses were not prepared for. Smaller attention spans. Yes, the turn of the century has also brought about a change in the average consumer’s attention span. However, in 2000 our attention span was more than that of a goldfish. Now, 20 years later, it has decreased from 12 seconds then to 8 seconds now. A goldfish surpasses us by one second with a 9-second attention span.
With the number of things competing for our attention: push notifications, ads, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat stories, articles, posts, and of course (how can we forget), our friends and family, it’s a miracle that we even have 8 seconds to pay attention to one thing.
This has become challenging for businesses as they must compete with all of the other content flow in order to get noticed. Businesses must first grab the attention of a consumer in the first 8 seconds. Then perhaps, they need to encourage them to stick around for a few more, all while imparting their core message and putting forth a hardcore call-to-action. If you can make the consumer act while only engaging with them for 30 seconds, you have power. This is the type of power that the current business environment demands- and this is how you can achieve it!
What is Micro Content?
Yes, long-form content like this article is still read, but what consumers view more regularly is micro-content. This is bite-sized content (copy, images, videos) that can be retained in 10-30 seconds or less. Most micro-content is used on social media and is used as bait to hook and motivate users to keep going. It is predicted that in a few years 60-80% of traffic will come through mobiles and accordingly, it is best to design content that consumers can view and engage with while on the go. Usually, micro-content serves the purpose of engaging with mobile traffic and is a shorter-clipped version of the whole message that provides enough flavor for the consumer to start longing for the whole treat.
However, micro-content isn’t only on social media or the internet but can also be used as signage for physical displays. The key is to get the consumer to look- and if we are lucky, keep looking!
This is an example of Desani’s Plant Water Bottle campaign that was placed in a mall. Instead of a regular message that says we are X% recyclable, they imparted the message in a creative manner that directly resonated with the target market, shoppers in a mall. They said we can be your next hoodie! Original, no?
Google’s snippets are another excellent example of micro content-and one that is on the web. Writing a great snippet is an art as you need to ensure your keywords are placed correctly, your snippet is engaging, and fits the character count. It can be a tumultuous task for some!
Now that we have written several hundred words to explain what micro-content is, we are going to get into the specifics of how you can master the art of writing concisely and precisely. Here is what you need to do to make a tremendous impression with as little as possible.
Who doesn’t love themes? We try to coordinate everything in our life including our parties with themes. To be honest, it sounds like being a bit too organized to have a good time! However, themes aren’t as tacky all the time and can work wonders when you are writing micro-content. Pick a theme and break down the information regarding that theme, imparting a little a day.
If we get into party mode, we can use the example of a bridal shower. You can break down all the information you need to give regarding the shower by category: dress code, time, venue music, gifts, menu, more about the bride, who organized it, etc. Then you can regularly post about this event in a series of posts imparting the information in small segments. The audience would remain engaged and your whole campaign would be awesome!
Add a picture
It sounds cliché but it is true, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. You are likely to get a lot more engagement with a visual with terrific text than text alone. However, no need to undermine the importance of words, a visual alone isn’t going to convey the message properly either. Both aspects combined make for a killer strategy. Choose visuals that aren’t too distracting or confusing and those that are easy on the eye. Putting up the picture of a puppy while talking about tax returns isn’t a viable strategy either! Keep it relevant and appealing. You can create pictures where you need to instead of going for ordinary images.
Give an Exciting Preview
When you aim for a higher click-through rate, it’ll be worth your while to properly read and/or watch your long-form content first and extract the most exciting bit. As long as that part is highly relevant to what the rest of the content is about, this is your bait and what you must use as micro-content. For example, a video about forced marriages in particular countries may show a small clip of the whole video with girls looking agitated and mourning a wedding to come and include a caption which says, “Tears instead of flowers. Pain instead of pleasure. The day of doom is not far”. Perhaps there are more exciting ways to term it, but since you aren’t asking a typical question or directly giving a call to action, you can provide a little bit of what you are thinking in order to get the audience intrigued with your line of thought.
If you are successful, your audience will click through to the bigger picture, and that’s what you want.
Write for Dummies
No matter how educated and smart we all are, when it comes to content we are surfing online, we like sticking to the basics. It’s like writing content for dummies. Use simple language and very clear, crisp images. Give a clear detailed call-to-action telling your audience exactly what you want them to do. You may divert from this from time to time and be a bit vague when you think the next step is intuitive. However, usually, you need to write out clear instructions and tell the reader exactly what you expect of them.
It doesn’t literally mean we are writing for dummies, but providing more clarity so that everyone easily understands our message. You get the gist!
Make it Scannable
When someone looks good, you usually don’t stop and start staring to see what color eyes they have (at least, you usually don’t). You scan them briefly in order to decide whether they are attractive or not (only if you develop a creepy obsession, would you go into the particulars). In the same way, if you want your audience to stop and look at your micro-content, make it scannable and attractive that way.
How? Use the right keywords and ensure they are placed at the front of a sentence. Don’t write headlines such as Information about, Headline for, Homepage for, etc. Use descriptive words that actually get the reader hooked. “Budget Analysis for 2020” is a better headline than “Information about the Budget of 2020.”
You need to make sure that when someone skims over your micro-content, their eyes catch the right words and they stop and start taking in the full picture. Sort of like love at first sight (but a little less dramatic).
Target Audience is Key
If you are using slang while talking to an 80-year old who has been an English professor all his life, you might be in hot water. In the same way, you must determine who your target audience is when dealing with micro-content. Determine who you are writing for and set your tone, style, choice of words, and everything similar accordingly.
Make sure you are solving the problem of your particular target market and giving them information that is relevant to them. Talking about life insurance plans to 20-somethings or pushing on a loud holiday to people far past their retirement may not be a good idea unless you have a very convincing pitch. If you do, then why not?
Just make sure you are psychologically in tune with your target market and are designing your micro-content accordingly.
If you follow all of these tips properly, you are likely to conquer the short attention spans that are worrying businesses in contemporary times. We can help you develop excellent micro content for your mobile-optimized website, social media, and for your blog. To check out our services and get a free consultation, click here.