Karen McGrane’s new book, Content Strategy for Mobile, was the best goodie in the Confab goodie bag. The book outlines the content challenges for mobile and the processes to tackle them. Her writing very much reflects who she is—witty, quirky, smart and funny. The book is a pleasant and quick read, full of examples and case studies.
As a client (not an agency person or a consultant), here are my take-aways that I can apply to my job and drive discussion with management:
Strategy before content and platform
>86% of the world population accesses the Internet from a mobile device. Your mobile presence is a MUST.
The question is not if you need a mobile site vs. a mobile app or if you should be on Android or iOS platforms. The question we should ask first is what desired state we want to be in. That desired state will help us develop our strategy and create more meaningful tactics. Frankly, it’s not a “Mobile” strategy or a “Web” strategy. It’s content strategy!
A couple examples on the desired state:
• Deliver well-written and value-added content for your audience at the right place and the right time across devices.
• Create great user-experience and customizable content by overhauling content management systems to support multi-channel publication.
You need to identify the end-destination that fits your company’s needs. With the desired goal in mind, you can then evaluate and align the information architecture, the content management system, the process, and the organization structure.
Think about content production and management differently
Most on-line content is tailored for PC and web pages, not for mobile or tablets. If you really think ahead, content will need to be displayed on future devices such as Google Goggles, Google Glass, and household devices. Are we ready for that?
Organizations need to think ahead on how to manage content differently so that right format and the right amount of content will show up on multiple devices to deliver the right user-experience. How content needs to be managed in the future will be a hot topic.
The great example Karen shared is NPR:
They create a process called COPE, Create Once, Publish Everywhere. For each large piece of content: they create a package with various different pieces of content that their affiliate stations can choose from, and find the right pieces for different platforms or devices.
A book review can include a headline, tease content, body copy, audio, multiple images, topic categorization and book metadata that can be displayed on a wide variety of platforms. Each platform can choose which content objects it wants to display, and how to format them. Break down content into chunks to allow people to pick and choose the right pieces for different formats of devices. It’s called adaptive content.
Create content with “Mobile First” in mind
Traditionally, we create content with web pages or the desktop in mind. A good rule of thumb: “If it shouldn’t be on the mobile site, it shouldn’t be on the desktop site either.” Mobile first. Period! Audit your content inventory and put your content on a diet.
This will be a major mind-shift for corporations. It makes me wonder how I can implement the “Mobile First” mentality within my company.
Users tend to scan, rather than read on the web. This is even truer on mobile. It’s not that people won’t read on their mobile devices – it’s that you have to “earn” their attention more than ever. Your main idea (primary message) needs to come through in the headline and the summary with a clear call-to-action as your secondary message. All this needs to be delivered in a user’s attention span of 10 seconds.
She also points out that there is no such things as “how to write for mobile.” There is only good writing. Period! Well-said.
Implementing content strategy is a daunting task. The vision, Strategy, Information Architecture, Content Management System, Process, People, and Organizational Structure all need to come together. Leadership and senior management’s buy-in is essential. Yet, there are baby steps you can take. Start with what you can control first and slowly influence your immediate stakeholders. Start having the “Mobile First” discussion internally.