There’s been a lot of talk lately about microcontent, and almost as many definitions of it as there are people fretting over it. Figure I’d wade into the fray.
What is microcontent, anyway?
For my purposes, microcontent is short content designed specifically for easy comsumption by people and search engines. And that is, admittedly, a lot of stuff:
- Headlines and subheads
- Cutlines/captions for photos
- Slide content (including “notes”)
- Short listicles
- Photos and photo titles
- Product descriptions and personnel bios under 100 words
- Meta titles
- Meta descriptions
- Social posts
There might even be more, but these are the obvious ones to me.
There are probably a bunch of ways to create microcontent. Here are three straightforward and easy-to-implement ones:
1. Integrate microcontent into the content creation process.
- Strategists/Team Members: When you start planning for content, integrate a discussion about possible content types (micro and otherwise) that make sense for the topic, audience and purpose. Then bake those types into the core assignment.
- Writers: When we assign articles, we task the writer with developing a set of microcontent, too. That includes the usual “writerly” elements like heads, subheads and cutlines. But we also assign them the meta data, so all that’s done before anything even gets filed. For some clients, we go an additional step and create social posts (at a length specified by the client). We load all the required elements into our template, complete with key words and optimal word and character counts, so it’s a seamless process. We use similar tasking when creating infographics and slide decks.
- Editors: Editors look at all long-form content with an eye toward smaller “chunks” that can be shared on their own or as a teaser. Those suggestions travel with the article for easy access when it’s time to promote. They also take a look at how each piece of content fits in the ecosystem, identifying related content (and tagging in the client’s CMS if possible) so creating “recommended reading” ideas with similar articles is easier. This is also a great way to create listicles of links on a particular topic—and more microcontent!
2. Generate original microcontent.
It’s always smart to keep your eyes peeled for great one-off microcontent. Maybe you find a perfect image that relates to your business or product and create a robust cutline for posting on social media. Or perhaps you realize you’ve got a treasure trove of data for a fantastic infographic like this one we did for Staples. Make ‘em! But also consider how else you can use that content. A contest for audience members to submit their own photos on the topic with the winners going in a slide deck of their own? Individual data points from that infographic as tweets with a link back to the image? Microcontent is a terrific inspiration for more and longer content, too.
3. Repurpose/reenergize existing or evergreen content.
If you’re going to the trouble of refreshing your evergreen/existing content—and you are, right?—add a microcontent component to the package. You don’t want to mess with the meta title, but you sure can change the H1 and H2s, the meta descriptions and excerpts and the images. Use updated data points to tease the refreshed article on Twitter, or share the new image on Instagram or Facebook with a fresh cutline and link to the article.
Being more deliberate about microcontent doesn’t have to be a drag on your productivity. Build it into existing processes and encourage your team to think up one-off’s, too. So doing allows you to produce more content more easily.
Want some help creating a microcontent production process for your team? We can show you how.
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We work with companies like Staples and Lionbridge to help them create awesome content. We’d love to work with you. Reach out!