“Content is King” has been the credo of digital marketers ever since Bill Gates coined the phrase back in 1996. With the battle for top search engine rankings, and the rise of keyword driven SEO (search engine optimization), content has continued to reign. But the Internet of today is a much different place than the pre-Google, pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-SEO world of the 90s.
Today, PR and marketing are inseparable from social media, and social media is all about short, shareable bursts of text and eye-catching images. That’s why some have begun using a more web 2.0-friendly credo, proclaiming Micro Content is also King.
Micro-content requires a whole different set of skills than long-form copy. To succeed in the era of micro-content, you must be able to craft punchy headlines, engaging tweets and click-worth summaries. Here are 5 Tips for writing microcopy that will stand out:
1. Get Strategic
Before you set fingers to keys, perform a micro content strategy. Who is your target audience? What action do you want them to take? Which social media sites do they use?
Say your audience is urban, 30 to 50 year-old women, and you want them to subscribe to your lifestyle newsletter. With a little research you discover that Facebook and Twitter are most popular with your demographic. Armed with this information, you can now write micro content that is targeted and actionable from the first draft.
2. Craft Stand-Alone Headlines (i.e., Write for Goldfish)
Did you know that the average attention span has shrunk from 12 seconds to 8 over the last decade? That’s shorter than a goldfish, which can apparently stay focused for a full 9 seconds!
- Say it Up Front: Tell readers what they need to know right off the bat with clear and captivating headlines. If a headline is so vague or clever that readers can’t tell what you’re about to give them, they won’t bother finding out.
- Don’t Rely on Context: Headlines appear differently online than in print. They frequently show-up in a list of other links, in search engine results, or re-tweeted without supporting text.
3. Be Clear
Internet users don’t read, they glance. Make your item brief, clear, and explanatory. As we just learned, your audience is likely to see bits of content out of context before they click through to the web page (if they actually do). Make sure you state the essential information, and make sense to inundated readers.
4. Write Visually: Visual language is engaging and memorable—two objectives all marketers strive for. Don’t mistake visual writing for flowery writing. Too many adjectives make for a slow and clunky read. Instead, use descriptive nouns and verbs to paint a vivid image with as few keystrokes as possible. For example, “Zoo Acquires New Animal” becomes much more click-worthy as, “Baby Elephant Reunited with Worried Mom.” And including actual visuals never hurts. Tack on a twitpic of the elephant’s reunion, or a link to the zoo’s photo gallery.
5. Make it Personal: To get personal, you have to be personal. Whenever possible, give your social accounts a face. Readers trust micro content that is shared by a human with a name, profile picture, title and background story. They are also more comfortable sharing content, commenting and generally interacting with human accounts. Personalize your content and steer clear of empty, mass marketing lingo. You’ll be rewarded with loyal followers.
Bottom line: the micro-content revolution has already occurred. The best way to join in is to spend time in the social media world and see what has traction. Learn the language and identify the key players of each platform, then get in there and claim your niche.[END]