“Mobile-first” is a term that seems to be everywhere these days. And for good reason.
Right now, there are more mobile devices on earth than people. 46% of internet users choose mobile as their primary research tool and four out of five consumers use a smartphone to shop.
So what does this mean for content marketers? Should we adjust our strategies––or craft entirely new ones––specifically for mobile? Not exactly.
We tend to make two big mistakes when it comes to mobile. First, we assume the “mobile user” is always on-the-go, only interested in bite-sized pieces of information. Second, we develop mobile-specific content, workflows and processes, which can throw a wrench in our overall content marketing efforts.
At its core, content marketing is all about creating a valuable, helpful experience for customers. Content needs to be at the center of that experience––not the platform on which it’s consumed.
That said, if your content is online, it needs to be mobile-friendly. And while you shouldn’t build a content marketing strategy for any single device, it doesn’t mean you should publish the same content in the exact same way for mobile, desktop, and tablet. The answer lies in building flexible content that provides the same experience across all platforms. To get started, take a stab at answering these three questions:
1. Am I treating my users equally?
Don’t assume mobile users are always “on the go.” People switch between devices constantly. A mobile user is just as likely to be tapping away on her couch, too lazy to plug in her laptop, as she is to be a time-strapped commuter.
Your mobile strategy shouldn’t be to develop a truncated version of your desktop site. If users have to access your website on desktop because they couldn’t find the information they were seeking on mobile, they’ll be frustrated. Treat your users equally by offering the same information across all devices, even if you have to present it in a slightly different way.
2. Can I reuse my content?
If you’re putting content at the center of your content marketing strategy, it must adapt to any platform.
Have an image in your blog post? Make sure that it can be scaled for a phone. If an image can’t be altered without losing its meaning, don’t use it. Build an amazing visualization that doesn’t display correctly on mobile? Substitute it with a simple graphic that reveals the same data. Is your video incompatible with tablets? Provide a transcript. If you prioritize communicating the same information across all devices, you’ll always provide a meaningful experience for your users, no matter how they find you.
3. Is my content structured?
If you’re going to reuse your content across multiple platforms, you need to make sure it’s consistent. Any change you make to a single piece of content must be reflected everywhere it appears. Breaking your content out into smaller chunks will help you do just that. While many CMS platforms such as WordPress support long blocks of content, there are processes you can put in place that will help you maintain consistency across all platforms.
First, define attributes for each content chunk, whether it’s a bulleted list, an infographic, a slideshow, a blog post, etc. Then, identify how each chunk relates to the other. This process is known as content modeling. Content modeling not only gives you a birds-eye view of your content efforts, but it also encourages collaboration among designers, writers, and anyone else on your team who has a stake in the developing, publishing, and governing of the content in question.
Finally, when you’re thinking about your mobile content marketing strategy, ditch the word “mobile” altogether. What happens when Google glass hits mainstream? Or when some other device is deemed the “next best thing”? A single, holistic content marketing strategy that’s adaptable to many platforms will keep your users––and your team––very happy.
For more in-depth guidance on crafting adaptable content, follow content guru Karen McGrane. Also, check out A List Apart, a blog focused on the design, development, and meaning of web content.