Overcome Short Attention Spans with Micro-Content

What can your advertising do in 10 seconds? Not a whole lot, you might think. But in a study from University of Hamburg and University of Hannover researchers proved that over 50 percent of Internet users stay on a webpage for less than 10 seconds. Accordingly, advertisers are now focusing on micro-content – clever, persuasive, and concise messages to target an audience with barely-there attention spans.

Micro-content should play a big role in your content strategy. We’ve already shown you how to create micro-content time- and cost-efficiently using your existing visual assets. Now, we give you five smart tips on making the most of that micro-content:

1. Embrace Images and Keep Posts Short On Social Media

The numbers don’t lie; including an image or video in social media posts can do wonders for your engagement rates. Tweets with image links are twice as engaging as those without. Facebook posts with photos account for 93 percent of the most engaging posts on the platform.

Keep Tweets and Facebook posts down to a sentence or two at most. Facebook posts with less than 70 characters garner the most likes. Couple images with sentence-long quips for maximum social media engagement.

2. Make it Stackable

With so many media options available – from TVs and laptops to smartphones and tablets – consumers are often engaging with multiple platforms at the same time. Millward Brown’s recent AdReaction study found that more than 40 percent of 16-45 year-old multi-screen consumers in the US use devices simultaneously. You can serve this audience well by crafting stackable content that meshes with other platforms and encourages sharing.

Stackable content examples include gaming apps with short – but addictive – gameplay mechanisms such as Dots, short form videos from Vine or Instagram and immersive second screen experiences like The Walking Dead’s Story Sync app.

3. Don’t Skimp on the Copywriting

AMC’s Mad Men shows the power of Madison Avenue copywriters during the 1960s, and today the art of copywriting is anything but antiquated. In the digital age, creating an attention-grabbing headline or first sentence can make or break any blog post, article or tweet. Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich’s blog post on headline copywriting is a must-read for anyone looking to fine-tune their wordsmith skills. For example, his chart below suggests that verbs and adverbs will elicit more engagement than nouns and adjectives. Considering the agile nature of mico-content platforms, this makes sense.

Use action words: more verbs, fewer nouns
Photo by Buffer

 4. Play to Your Platform and Audience

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the leading social media platforms, but posting the same message the same way on all three is simply asking to be ignored. Each platform skews to a different user base, and each platform posts content differently. Instagram is centered around photos and videos rather than text, Twitter has an exact character limit, and Facebook posts can cleanly combine a user’s comment with an image, title and description of the link that is being shared.

Before you share any content on these or any other platforms, be sure to go through this simple three-step checklist:

  1. Determine which platforms are resonating the strongest with your audience.
  2. Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each platform.
  3. Customize your content to fit each platform’s strength.

5. Make the Connection

Micro-content is only as powerful as the connection that it makes back to the brand or advertiser. Content marketing does not exist in a bubble, and micro-content is hardly an exception. With every blog, social media post, app download or micro video, there must be a call to action or larger connection back to the brand. Think of micro-content as the first minute of a sitcom before the theme song – compelling enough to draw you in for the next half hour, but not too informational, as to give away the entire episode’s plot.

Micro-content may be bite-sized, but that doesn’t mean you should spend minimal time planning for it. Tips and best practices like writing good headlines and keeping posts short and stackable and should be part of your organization’s on-going discussion and training as content marketers. Picking the right platform(s) for your audience and planning how to make an emotional connection with them is a bit trickier, but you should be able to uncover the answers to those questions in your strategy planning sessions. When executed with a plan that’s targeted to the right audience, micro-content has the potential to be just as effective as standard and long form content.

This article originally appeared on Visual.ly.

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