What is Micro-Content and Why Does Your Law Firm Need It
BY Chyrra Greene
Micro-content is any short content that provides stand-alone information. Micro-content is an easily scannable, small element that quickly distills the larger message of a web page or article. Law firms can use micro-content deliberately to speak instantly and directly to potential clients. Micro-content can be any piece of short media, like a headline, a single sentence, a short video, an image or an answer to a question. The intent behind micro-content is to provide content that viewers or readers can quickly consume to get the broader message your firm is trying to convey. More specifically, the goal of micro-content is to create a written message or imagery that people can absorb in 10 to 30 seconds or less.
Examples of micro-content include:
- Short video clips
- Images and illustrations
- Graphs, tables or knowledge charts
- Email subjects
- Brief email copy
- Webpage titles
One advantage of micro-content is its ability to give a complete answer or explanation within itself. As a condensed version of much longer content, micro-content can be agile and accessible, helping hold visitors' attention and clarify complex ideas.
How to use micro-content
Online communications and social media specifically have changed the way people interact with information. Internet users have short attention spans. Some estimates say that businesses have from one or two seconds to less than a second to grab a visitor's attention. Readers scan pages rather than read paragraph to paragraph, top of the page to bottom. Marketers are constantly looking for ways to grab attention in a saturated media landscape.
While it is true that people consume web pages and social media differently from print media, the rumors of a disappearing attention span are greatly exaggerated. People want information and entertainment immediately, and they will quickly click away if the content is not engaging.
However, if the content is well-constructed and interesting, people will take the time to read or watch it. Average YouTube video lengths have steadily grown since 2012, with content creators recommending ideal lengths of over 10 minutes and up to 20. Long articles can help build trust and provide prospective clients with the information they need to understand why to contact your firm. Google also tends to reward long content if it gives quality answers to users' questions. The intersection between attention-grabbing and attention-holding is where micro-content is at its best. It distills information and creates easily scannable content that can supplement longer pieces or clarify sophisticated ideas.
Social Media Micro-Content
Micro-content is most prevalent on social media. Platforms such as Twitter and Instagram use micro-content almost exclusively to provide information to users and followers.
Twitter is one of the first platforms geared toward the sole use of micro-content as a communication tool. With a limit of 280 words or less, tweets force you to condense what you are trying to say. This form of micro-content compels you to be creative. In addition to words, tweets can attach photos, videos and web links to provide additional content to support or explain the tweet.
Instagram is a social media platform created for posting and sharing micro-content through images and videos. Instagram was not immediately useful to attorneys. However, the platform has become much more than a place to share pictures. Instagram has expanded users' ability to post interactive content like slideshows, which can be the perfect way to showcase infographics or even short videos. Images posted on Instagram can come in many different forms, including photographs, gifs, posts with words and slideshows.
Micro-content on social media
Law firm websites have moved far beyond the traditional, static online brochure that dominated the industry ten years ago. Within the social media age, branding and advertising can be three-dimensional and engaging, creative and entertaining.
Social media can be a tool to connect with potential clients in a personal, authentic way. Followers of social media accounts can feel like firms are speaking directly to them and their needs. Your firm can use social media to create micro-content that quickly addresses the legal issues or concerns that viewers may have.
Photographs on social media can serve as digital print ads for your law firm. Many apps help you design and edit images to make creative posts to advertise your law firm. Infogram, Piktochart and Easel.ly offer resources for creating infographics and presentations. Canva and Pixlr both have online photo editing tools.
Micro-content video, 30 seconds or less, is a great way to communicate with followers. Many people have legal questions that fall within the realm of common questions that can be answered quickly. Also, many people are not aware that certain situations have legal consequences. Short social media videos that answer legal questions or concisely educate people about legal issues are great ways for your law firm to advertise its knowledge and experience in the law. You can also create and post commercials or social media segments that also help to brand your law firm. Businesses that have recognizable images and styles are the ones that consumers remember when they need a particular service.
Social media is also a hashtag-rich environment. The hashtag mark, formerly known as the pound sign (#), is used in front of keywords and phrases to make these phrases show up in searches for your selected terms. Your business can create unique hashtags to promote on your social media accounts, business cards and website to direct people to your business pages. You can also piggyback off of popular hashtags to get your firm in the spotlight — if it can be done in a tasteful, on-brand way. The more people know about your hashtags, the more opportunity you have to reach a wider audience of fans who may become clients of your law firm.
Another great feature of social media that can help your law firm reach more people is the ability of other people to share your content. Creating content that is informative, interesting and entertaining may influence people to share the post with others on their social media account. This is the equivalent of "word-of-mouth" advertising of the past. It is free advertising that can increase the volume of clients as well as your revenue.
Micro-content on your law firm website
The ubiquitousness of social media can lead people to believe that everyone is using it. However, plenty of people do not have any social media accounts and others who visit their accounts rarely. Additionally, the hiring of a lawyer has a gravitas that is not always encapsulated on social media. While social media platforms provide ample opportunity to share micro-content, they offer fewer options for educating users about complicated issues. People looking for a lawyer often perform extensive research before making a hiring decision.
These people are looking for legal services by using search engines to find law firm websites. For these people, micro-content on your law firm website is necessary.
Most people who look at law firm websites did not go to law school and do not have a legal background. Placing long content on your site with too much legal jargon that is unsupported by shorter content bits can turn a potential client away.
Your law firm website can utilize the same types of micro-content that your firm posts on social media. The goal is to give the most information to the reader or viewer in a shorter amount of time. You can place infographics on your website with legal information in laymen's terms. You can make short videos explaining legal topics, or have question and answer segments. You can also create interactive slideshows that give small pieces of micro-content slide-by-slide.
Word-based micro-content can also help readers scan your pages. Headlines and subheads break up text and explain the topics of subsequent paragraphs. Pull-quotes and callouts highlight short sentences. You can even highlight a sentence or two using a plugin that encourages the user to share your content on Twitter. Breaking up longer content with micro-content will help users understand your pages and stay on your website longer.
Why your law firm needs micro-content
Micro-content carries a significant impact in a small package. It delivers clear messaging that people can understand within seconds. It is a perfect content size for people who use their smartphones to browse websites and social media.
You can be creative with your wording and imagery because you know your goal is to grab readers' attention. Your choice of presentation and design of your micro-content will allow you to catch viewers' eyes as they scroll through feeds or down long web pages.
Finally, and most importantly, your micro-content can be shared with an infinite number of people. With a simple click and share, your law firm reached potential customers that you probably would not encounter in real-life.
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