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Microcontent: the Next Evolution in Content Creation

Microcontent is the next evolution of content. It is the small blocks of text used in, for example, email subject lines and social media posts. It is the blocks of information a search engine looks for when searching for an answer. It is the attention-grabbing headline, or the short call out that makes you click to learn more. It gives your reader the important information at a glance and helps drive traffic to your site.

In this blog post, we summarize some of the key points as presented in a webinar by Rob Hanna from Precision Content and Chip Gettinger from SDL.

Why are smart companies moving to microcontent?

Microcontent allows you to capture attention quickly. It can be through a snappy headline or even a short abstract of the full content you want people to read. Microcontent, because it is set up in blocks, is easily searchable and chatbot ready. It is also much easier to share on social channels which means your content can potentially reach a larger audience as it is shared, liked and clicked on.

How do you create microcontent?

Before you can even begin to write microcontent, you need to first determine your audience and how exactly you would categorize what you want to tell them. Be as specific as you can up front. Using the correct tagging makes it easier for you or your AI to find your text blocks later. For example, is it a:

  • Reference: does it describe what your reader needs to know?
  • Task: does it instruct the reader on how to do things?
  • Concept: does it explain how things work?
  • Process: does it demonstrate how things work?
  • Principle: does it advise the reader on what they need to do or not do, and when?

Once you know this, you can craft your header block and narrative blocks using the correct voice, topic and information.

An important thing to remember is that each text block in the body of your message must have its own information type and is swappable and searchable. It works the same way as the DITA or component content model except that the text blocks are far shorter.

The need to be that specific

In creating microcontent, it is important that you are very specific because if you understand the intent of the microcontent block, you can correctly tag it. Most, if not all, microcontent is read and disseminated by an AI system. It is the technology that is best suited for this because with the content blocks you can program your AI with the right kind of questions that will teach it to find the correct information when asked. This is why microcontent is ideally suited to chatbots, for example. In the ideal end-state, your customer service can practically run on its own.

Future-proof your content

By evolving your content creation to microcontent, you greatly improve the usability and precision of your content which also means your content can be used across departments. No longer will you need to silo your content and hope it gets to the right place. Your sales and marketing teams can pull what they need, as can corporate training or the technical publications department.

Leveraging your content supply chain

This article in Avitage shows you how to take microcontent even further by fully leveraging your content supply chain. They state that microcontent can be used as a knowledge and job performance aid, allowing HR or managers to select those text blocks that best create a learning narrative for an employee. Or create a sales playbook for the sales department to use.

The author also states that microcontent can become a source of new content. With a large inventory of content blocks, you can quickly create new content by pulling out various blocks and reshuffling them into a different order without having to spend a lot of time writing new content. This allows you to keep ahead of the content creation curve, meeting your content needs at scale while remaining agile with your messaging.

Microcontent is truly a next step in component content management.