Content marketing is in surplus. There is too much-branded content, and diminishing returns on audience engagement.
Beckon has analyzed $16 million of marketing spending and produced this report:
Brands may be surprised to learn that although branded content creation has increased 300 percent over the past year, consumer engagement is flat. They are investing in content creation but it isn’t driving more consumer engagement.
-Jennifer Zeszut, CEO at Beckon
The sad truth is that most content marketing fell into the web by rabbit hole without making any impact.
Yet, marketers have a greater interest in content than ever. More than 70% of marketers predict that they will create more content this year. According to the Content Council, content marketing will increase in content creation by 33.1% over two years. This is a significant channel for traffic generation and engagement.
The report by the Content Council shows a 4-year budget increase in content marketing.
What does this all mean for marketers? One side is that brands continue to race against each other for more content. However, more content doesn’t necessarily mean better results. Low-quality content is less likely to bring in a return on investment. According to GE’s Director for Global Content, the goal of content is to “create an experience people will remember”.
This is a Catch-22 situation. Can you create more content that is more effective? As a content marketer, I was able to think of a way to get out of the rat race. It is important not to produce longer blog posts or longer videos. What type of content can I create that isn’t too expensive and still conveys a clear message? Here’s a viable solution: Data-driven micro-content.
What is a data-driven microcontent?
Micro-content was initially defined as small amounts of text within the UX context, such as headlines and page titles, as well as email subject lines. It is used in marketing terms to mean something more. Anil Dash, the blogger, defined it as “information published and in short form.” Magnolia Media network saw this as the antithesis of long-form content that still serves as a lead generator and traffic driver for social networking success. Here are some examples of
Micro-content can include status updates, tweets, and items.
An RSS feed and URLs (hyperlinks). Micro-content doesn’t have to be limited to the written word. Video producers are increasingly realizing the potential of micro video content like viral BuzzFeed videos.
Micro-content, as I see it, is short-form multimedia content that delivers a brand message in an easy-to-use digital format. Microcontent’s small size does not necessarily limit its impact. If we look at viral marketing content that is sensational, the smallest bits of information (such as this tweet by Ellen DeGeneres or this OCD quiz from Playbuzz) have outperformed longer forms of content.
The viral OCD Question Of 2016, is a prime example of small bites with a big impact
Micro-content is your best friend if you want to share memorable, quality content and not have to write 2000 words every day. These micro-content pieces can be easily scheduled into your content calendar and aren’t dependent on a production team.
Marketing micro-content has been around for a while. However, it is a new way to market. Data can appeal to the rational mind of your audience. Your audience will be convinced and converted if your micro-content is created from data. Are you curious about how to make micro-content data-driven Let me show you some less-known micro-content formats that I believe will help illustrate my point?
Five Types of Data-Driven, Micro-Content
Data in content can be a double-edged sword. Data can make you look academic and too little can undermine your trustworthiness. However, combining short-form data with reliable content can help you achieve the delicate balance that will make your micro-content both credible and user-friendly.
Data is not just about numbers. You can use both qualitative and quantitative data in your content. Qualitative data can either be descriptive or categorical. Qualitative data can be either descriptive or categorical. For example, the most popular colors in flags of countries are qualitative data flags. Quantitative data can be described as numerical. Quantitative data is the number of countries that use red in their flags. These are just a few examples of how you can use both data types in micro-content.
1. Data-backed Quotable Facts
Each brand has its own unique knowledge. This knowledge can be your most powerful selling point to win consumer trust. You can showcase your knowledge by breaking it down into bite-sized, quotable facts. Citing data is a great way of making these facts reliable and memorable.
This micro-content can be used to summarize longer content that delves deeper into the domain knowledge of your band. This stats-driven quotable truth becomes your “PR” piece. This can be used to educate, entertain, and inform your target customers at the awareness stage. It should be shared and discussed.
Statistics to get prospects clicking.
This type of quotable fact has two key ingredients: attractive visuals and one or more data points that support the case. Your image should be searchable via a search engine. You can also increase exposure through social sharing by tagging your image with the correct keywords.
Don’t let your inability to design these banners stop you from creating them. Many design apps are available that offer professional-grade templates for social banners. These banners can be modified with your text and images. You can create a banner image using templates in minutes.
2. Solution-Driven “Recipes”
Recipes are by default data-driven content. Recipes provide the precise path to the desired result in carefully calculated amounts. To be a successful chef, you need to have deep domain knowledge. Your steak recipe readers expect you to make an outstanding dish when you tell them how much salt to add to the steak. Your recipes are admired and trusted when they turn out well.
Think beyond the box of “food”. What can your brand offer to help you achieve the desired outcome? What “recipes” can you provide to your target audience for them to be successful at something? Consider a recipe as a way to build trust. Your recipe is a piece of content that distills the brand’s expertise into a path to customer success with the exact amounts of each ingredient.
This recipe was created by Qzzr, an online quiz platform. Source: Image Source
The above Qzzr example, an online quiz platform, has condensed its knowledge on how to create viral quizzes for its target audience: marketers. This micro-content is genius and will help Qzzr position itself as an online leader in quizzes. The recipe is meant to entertain and educate, so it should be used during the consideration phase when your target users are searching for a reliable solution.
3. Venn Diagrams
Venn diagrams are used to visualize relationships among qualitative data points. They were created by John Venn, a philosopher, and logistician. They are easy to share online because of their ability to simplify complex ideas and can be used as visual verbatim.
Venn diagrams are best used when you need to explain complex systems or illustrate relationships between parts.
These logical diagrams can be used to inspire your marketing imagination. These diagrams can be used to show your brand knowledge, and inform or entertain your target audience about a topic matter. These are simple to create and can be used during the awareness and consideration phases of marketing.
Venn diagrams can display a dark sense of humor.
4. Single charts
Most people have heard of “big data”. However, marketers must use numbers sparingly and wisely. A long report with lots of graphs and charts will not be appreciated by your target audience. If you have not been a statistician by trade, too many statistics will overwhelm your readers.
Single charts are the answer. This is one of the best ways to use data in short-form content format. Instead of presenting all data to your readers, choose the most important data set and present it in a single chart.
When your audience has to choose between several solutions, single charts can be used for the comparison and decision stage. This chart will be a great way for your audience to compare and choose. First, decide what message you want to communicate and then present your data in a way that supports it.
There are many single chart types that you can choose from. To make data visually appealing, you can experiment with other chart types than line and pie charts.
A chart is a great way for consumers to make purchasing decisions. DesignCrowd.com
Don’t worry if you’re not good at math to create single charts. You can collect only the information you need to tell your story and then visualize it using an online chart maker by filling in pre-set templates. Voila! Now you have professionally-looking charts that can be shared.
5. Visualized Maps
Visualized maps can be used to visualize qualitative data in micro-content. Brands with diverse users from different geographical locations have access to a wealth of data that can be used to create original, engaging content. You could have your data that shows interesting patterns in usage, or you might have public data that shows a trend.
The Spotify example map below shows how the product team looked at their user data to determine the most-listened songs for the Fourth of July in each state. This simple concept is powerful and effective. By using shades of blue as a way to indicate frequency, readers can quickly see which states are listening to these songs.
This micro-content based on usage data can be used during the advocacy stage. This map is convincing content that Spotify listens to its customers and understands their product experience. This map gives customers a reason for staying loyal to the brand.
State-specific Fourth of July songs Source: Image Source
Spotify may have a data science team that produces stunning visualizations. However, heat maps such as the one shown above don’t require a whole team of data analysts. This is the perfect time for content marketers with a limited budget to visualize maps. With just a few clicks, you can turn geo-data into interactive maps. You just need to prepare the data and then input it into the template.
Marketers must keep up with the pace of innovation. Understanding your customers is just as important. Marketing innovation is part and parcel of the market. I hope these data-driven micro-content types will help you make an impact on your marketing strategy.
These micro-content types shouldn’t take you more than an hour. These types will make your content stand out and give you a higher return on investment.
Finally, we would love to hear from you if you know of smart micro-content formats not listed here.