Get to the point, fast
Truth be told, this applies to all content, but it’s especially true on mobile.
Think about your own experience of using a smartphone. Nine times out of ten you’re killing time between other activities. You also have a million other things to do on your device, messaging, calling, gaming, so distractions are plentiful.
When the competition for your readers’ attention is so intense, there’s no time for long paragraphs full of unnecessary words. Write with a sense of immediacy and get to the point quickly. Then top it all off with a simple yet encouraging call to action.
Make it easy to digest
Your article’s appearance is also important, again because of the average human’s limited attention span. Present a page filled with heavy blocks of text and your reader will more than likely swipe the window closed and move on.
Instead, break it up into smaller pieces that are easy and quick to digest. I’m talking about short, subtitled sections populated by bulleted lists, succinct bites of information and relevant quotes.
Imagery is a big part of this too; use a mix of relevant photo images and eye-catching graphics to illustrate the points you’re making. Videos are great for mobile too, but keep them short.
Write hard-hitting headlines
None of these points matter if nobody finds your article in the first place, so make sure it’s set up to grab attention. This starts (and pretty much ends) with the headline, as this is what will show on your own website and in your readers’ social feeds.
Once again, keep it short and sweet. It’s worth aiming for around 8-12 words. Anything more and you risk losing the reader’s interest before they’ve even clicked through.
That said, you still need to sum the article up in a way that shows you have something of value to offer. Get straight to the point, there’s little room for colon-separated two-parters in mobile content marketing.
It goes without saying that the page on which your article appears must be optimised for a mobile display. Few people have the time or patience to trudge around standard pages through the size-restricted touchscreens of their smartphones.
Your optimisation concerns should go even further than this, though.
Got links in your article? That’s great, you should have, but think about where they lead to before hitting ‘publish’. There’s little point including anything clickable if the destination pages aren’t as mobile-friendly as your own.
The links and icons you include should also accommodate touchscreen users. You might want to make them a little bigger and clearer than you would on desktop. Images can help here.
Analyse and capitalise
Everything the modern marketer does is driven by data, or at least it should be. Content is no exception. Use your analytics reports to measure and research your mobile audience until you can measure and research no more.
Focus on finding out what it is your mobile customers are looking for, both on your site and the wider internet. The better you understand their needs and expectations, the better positioned you’ll be to meet them.
If nothing else, the data you find in Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools will confirm your suspicions. You might, for instance, see higher bounce rates among your site’s mobile visitors, proving most are rushing and would benefit from shorter articles in future.
Studies everywhere are showing how mobile has overtaken desktop as the modern consumer’s web-surfing weapon of choice.
More than half of traffic to retail sites now comes from smartphone and tablet users, while Google claims that more of its searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries.
Findings like this are the strongest evidence yet that now is the time to focus your efforts on mobile-first content.