Thinking Mobile: How to Write Killer Content for All Devices

November 11, 2014
Think mobile: writing great content with simple sentences

At the 2014 Content Strategy Summit, Ginny Redish discussed the do’s and don’t of content writing. Her most important tip: think mobile. But what does this mean for our content? Let’s go over how to create killer content that is easy to read and adaptable across multiple devices.

First, let’s plan

Before you can get started on writing, you must first create a plan. Whether this is an umbrella plan for your entire company or you are planning for each piece of content, it is important to consider three things when writing content:

  • Purpose: What do you want to achieve? Ask yourself, “If my content is successful, these people will do [this].”
  • Personas: Who are we writing the content for? What devices will they use? What should we keep in mind about them?
  • Conversations: What is the message? Is your content answering the questions the site visitor came with?

By keeping these three points in mind, you will have a better idea of how to form your content and provide a clear message that not only engages the site visitor, but more importantly, answers their questions.

How to think mobile

With over 50% of American adults using smartphones, it’s pretty likely you will have just as many mobile visitors to your site as desktop ones. With so many electronic devices available these days, how can you possibly write content for each one? Even responsive websites don’t always make your content look great across all devices.

Redish’s rule of thumb for avoiding this issue is simple: write all your content as you would for your mobile site — if it looks great on your mobile, then it will look great on all other devices.

Write less for more impact

Writing less for a mobile site doesn’t mean you are “dumbing down the content.” Instead, you are simply respecting your busy site visitor’s time. You can save page space and provide a clear, concise message by shortening phrases. For example, instead of “at this point in time” try using “now.”

Another key component to keep in mind is the order of your information. Visitors will only read until they have satisfied their need for visiting your site. So make sure to put your key messages and/or warnings before your marketing hype.

For example, Redish talks about how two women visited a mobile site for a stain remover to learn how to use the product on a silk blouse. After going through the directions, the women would most likely stop reading because they received the information they were looking for.

However, farther down on the page there is a warning that the product cannot be used on silk. That kind of information should be first.

Ready to write?

Writing killer content doesn’t mean long, complex sentences. Instead, focus on creating simple sentences and a clear message that provide the answers your visitors are looking for. The best way to achieve this is by thinking mobile — write your content for your mobile site and it will continue to look great across all other devices.

Not sure where to get started or using an outdated marketing plan? Download our Marketing Plan for Growth to get started developing your content marketing strategy.

[Image credit: Mike Licht - license