By Sidneyeve Matrix, Contributing {grow} Columnist

In response to information overload and an ever-increasing knowledge acceleration, your readers and customers are becoming more adept at info-grazing, skimming, filtering flak, personalizing streams, and giving messages the glance-bounce treatment. Only really awesome content has a chance at capturing eyeballs in our attention economy. But awesomeness isn’t enough. Truly impactful messaging must be all-hook and glance-aware by design.

The challenge is to create info-bits that are intriguing, portable, instantly accessible, and easily shareable. In other words, to distribute big value while thinking small.

There’s more to say about the logic behind microcontent communication strategy, but let’s jump into a quick roundup of three miniformats suitable for content that is purpose-built to sample, and, if it’s awesome enough, to share:

1. Infographics.

Is there anything hotter than infographics right now? Data visualizations captured mainstream public attention in 2010 and in 2011 we’re seeing less scientized and more entertaining, high-concept, user-friendly, mobile-optimized examples being shared across social networks. Great infographics are visually appealing, self-explanatory, and promote visual understandings of complex processes and trends.

There are many great how-tos on designing infographics and roundups of free tools. If you’re a tech or corporate trainer, The New York Times has a page on teaching and learning with infographics. Need help with color? Check out this infographic on the relationship between colors and purchase behavior. How much research needs to go into an infographic? Here’s my favorite 60 second video answering that question by flowcapping one artist’s process:

Flowcapping: Visualizing One Trillion Dollars from Jess Bachman on Vimeo.

All-hook microcontent helps users decide quickly if the message is relevant. And what’s better, if it looks to be status-update-worthy, they can share it, quickly. If mobile audiences have a moment of microboredom while trapped in a lineup or waitroom, your bite-sized content is at hand for a few minutes of info-snacking.

2. Flip Book.

To drive downloads of your promotional material, experiment with designing and distributing some information-light and image-heavy e-flyers and brochures. Stunningly beautiful high-res images and typography inspire emotional engagement, which is one of the key factors of virality. To find superfabulous no- and low-cost royalty-free and creative-commons images, my top sources are Stock.xchng and Flickr.

When designing a flip-book think “magazine style” and aim for a graphics-forward, low-text layout before posting it on Slideshare or a social publishing site like Scribd. Need inspiration? Browse the truly excellent ePublications on Issuu (free) digital newsstand. Then create and upload yours.

You don’t need to be a graphic designer to do this. Start by repurposing the best parts of a slide deck from a recent in-house or client presentation, shifting blocks of text to make way for statement images. Need design inspiration? My go-to resource for information design is Nancy Duarte [@nancyduarte]‘s site.

Minicontent like flip-books and infographics leave the full-text, background, bigger-picture, infodense, heavy cognitive lifting as an opt-in. Shrinking the size and amplifying the awesomeness of messaging makes business sense in a micromesaging environment where so much of our daily communication happens via texting and status-updates.

3. Branded App.

We’re in the midst of the app revolution and it will only be accelerated with the coming wave of tablets in 2011. Trying to negotiate what’s new and noteworthy in any of the app stores is a challenge, and new developers are seriously challenged to get their creations noticed. Ever thought of approaching an app-designer whose very cool but as-yet relatively unfamous calendar, time-tracker, list-maker, mind-mapper, or photo-editor creation is buried deep in the appstack? Maybe they’d be interested in modifying a white label version, ready for rebranding to distribute to your clients?

Or, instead of working directly with a designer there are many services to support customized smartphone and tablet app configuration/distribution/management.

The question is, what kinds of apps would add value for your on-the-go audience? Which features and functions would encourage sustained engagement? Not sure what features you want? Mess around with these easy prototype tools for PowerPoint and Keynote.

As the time-starved among us know, having relevant, mobile-friendly content available instantly ups the chances of engagement. If the continuous partial attention of the masses is all content creators and publishers among us can hope for, then we’d best ensure that we truly get the importance of thinking small.

How are you thinking small in your content marketing strategy?

Sidneyeve Matrix is Assistant Professor of Media at Queen’s University, consults at MatrixMediaFX and blogs at CyberPop.

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