How to Write for Mobile
— June 6th, 2016
Tactical ideas for presenting content to employees
The age of the smartphone and the tablet is here, whether you’re ready for it — or not. And it brings a different world for Internal Communication.
According to a survey carried out by Adestra, 45% of email opens occurred on mobile in 2015. BYOD is commonplace, 81% of Employees use at least one device for business use and the trend is here to stay.
Given these statistics, it is no surprise employees are increasingly plugged in 24/ 7. More than 53% of employees quickly scan their email from a mobile device on the go, deciding there and then which emails warrant further review.
As an internal communicator trying to reach and engage employees, you only have a few moments to capture the reader's attention with an email. Here are my top tips on writing for mobile
Know your platform
This might seem like a no brainer but it is important to think about the platform you are using when you write for mobile. Consider the limitations of the platform you are using, for example if you are writing for an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) you will need to know if there character limits, if you need create trackable links to measure interaction, and know whether or not the pages you are linking to mobile ready.
According to a 2015 survey by LiveClicker and The Relevancy Group, the biggest turnoffs people have with mobile email are: Receiving too many (44%), Not relevant (37%), 32% of participants listed text that was too small to read and interact with as a the biggest turnoff with mobile email and 26% listed website and landing pages not mobile optimized.
Ensure your emails and newsletters appear as intended on all platforms with mobile ready templates. If you are a Newsweaver customer, you can contact your CSM to find out how your content looks on a variety of devices including smartphones, tablets and phablets.
Mobile headlines should be shorter than those for written for desktop online content. You don’t want to take up valuable real estate with long or complex headlines. Google recommends a 55 character limit for mobile and has placed this as a limitation for title tags for internet pages.
It can be a real challenge to create an engaging and descriptive title in such a short character length. A headline analyzer tool that can rate the sharability and impact rate is of real benefit. Two free headline analyzer tools I recommend are the Advanced Marketing Institute Headline Analyzer and the Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer.
With limited space to grab the attention of employees and hook them into reading more, the first few lines are critical. When writing introductory text for your article take a leaf out of twitter, an introduction should be no more than 155 characters and give just enough to entice your audience into reading the full text. This will take some serious editing and creativity but luckily that’s exactly what internal communicators do best!
Up until now, much of the content that you’ve been producing to go online is optimized for large displays e.g. desktop computers or laptop screens.
Just as writing for the web differs dramatically from writing for ‘paper’ publications and direct mail, so too does writing for mobile.
And, mobile audiences are nearly always distracted. You already know that attention spans of online readers are short, but for mobile users it is even more so. Their devices are full of push notifications from apps, SMS and instant messages popping up on the screen. They might be standing in line at a grocery store, prepping breakfast, going into a meeting or walking down the street. Your content must be well written and tightly edited to ensure the reader stays on the page and receives your message.
Despite what you may think, mobile readers consume more content than desk based readers. Ensure you provide your audience with a clear next action and link to other relevant articles.
Rich media can be a fantastic addition to your mobile content. Video has been shown to be up to 300% more engaging and a picture really can paint a thousand words. But some words of warning — be careful when adding rich media to your mobile content.
There are two reasons for this, first mobile readers are more likely to focus on images than text and can get distracted or turned off your content based on the image alone. So, if your image doesn’t help to reinforce your point or help move the reader along leave out the rich media and focus the reader on the text content.
The second reason rich media might not be helping you to win over employees is all about size - if the image or video file is too big (think data limits and loading times) or doesn’t automatically adjust to fit the screen, you are running the risk of total screen domination. You can be sure that the reader won’t stick around for a poor digital experience and will jump off your message and go back to using one of their other 26.7 apps.