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How to Create Mobile-Friendly Content

More than half of digital content consumption happens on mobile devices. In fact, users spend about 69% of their media time on smartphones. It’s essential to create content that is not only mobile responsive but also optimized and appealing. Visitors are more likely to become customers if they have an easy and enjoyable mobile experience. With more people using their phone to read emails than to make calls, it’s essential to prioritize mobile device optimization when creating content.

The way people read on mobile devices versus desktop is different. Studies show that desktop readers usually start by looking at content that’s placed on the top left of the screen. On the other hand, mobile users have more of a distributed gaze. That means it’s important for all of the content to be optimized. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks to help create an optimized, seamless mobile content marketing and reading experience.

Let's start with the three basic components to consider when crafting your mobile content: headline, summary, and the full post.

The headline can be compared to as a “Bite.” You need to create a captivating headline so readers will “take a bite” and continue reading on. Make sure that the headline is captivating yet to the point, so readers know what to expect and want to read more. A good rule of thumb is to write a title that has about six words. CoSchedule found that headlines that contain six words get the highest click-through rate. This is because six words are friendly on both mobile and desktop views so people can easily read the entire title. CoSchedule’s headline analyzer is a great tool to test the usability of your title on mobile devices.

The next step is to create your summary, which is the “snack” part of your content. Give your readers a taste of the content you’ve cooked up. This part should convey the overall message and take away of your piece. If the reader only reads this summary, it should highlight what the post is all about and what you want the reader to takeaway. While you want to make sure this is short and concise, don’t forget to pack a punch and make it engaging. You want them to read on, and this is your chance to hook them in to click and read more.

After you’ve set the stage with your ‘“bite” and “snack,” it’s time for the “meal” which is your full post. This is where you dive deep and provide full insights to your readers. This part is also where it can be easy to create an intimidating wall of text. If the reader sees just text, it may look boring to them and not easy to read or scan through. You don't want your mobile users to exit your content, and there are some things to help avoid just that. “Chunking” your content is a way to create a post structure that is easier for mobile-friendly users to read. This especially helps the readers who like to scan quickly to get an overview and key messages from your content. There are many different ways to chunk content like the 6 strategies below:

  • Short Paragraphs

Writing short paragraphs that convey one idea can be more digestible for readers. This will also help to make the audience read through your content faster. But just like we talked about earlier, it’s important to be concise yet still engaging.

  • White spaces

This helps to space out your text to make it look easier to read. Make sure to double check the layout on a mobile preview to ensure it still has a flow.

  • Subheads

Subheads can be used to help separate topics. This can allow the audience to quickly identify topics and read on from there.

  • Images

Images and graphics are a great way to enhance the experience for your audience. Make sure they are relevant to your topic and sized correctly for mobile viewing.

  • Lists / bullets

Lists and bullets are easy to read and help to space out your content - simple as that.

  • Styling (bold, italics, underline)

Styling certain words and ideas help to draw the eye to relevant information.

Short paragraphs, white spaces, subheads, images, lists, bullets, and styling are all great ways to chunk content. It’s important to remember that a lot of readers will scan your content. The easier it is to keep scanning, the easier for them to keep reading your content.

Creating concise content should always be a core focus to make your copy an easy read. Some words and phrases are often used but can be removed or simplified to create a better reading experience. The Hemingway app is a great free tool to identify areas of your copy that can be simplified.

Here are some words to consider dropping (unless you absolutely need them):

  • Weak verbs: is, was, were, will be, have been, am, are
  • Words ending in -ly
  • Empty intensifiers: very, such, and so

And some phrases and words that can be simplified:

  • In order to → to
  • A number of → some
  • Prior to → before
  • Due to the fact that → because
  • Obtain → get
  • Requires → needs
  • Purchase → buy
  • Request → ask for
  • Terminate → end
  • Utilize → use
  • Regarding → about

After you’ve worked on optimizing your content marketing, it’s time to see how it looks! Be sure to check out your mobile preview, read from the perspective of your audience, and make adjustments accordingly. If you don’t do formal mobile testing, keep in mind that 5-5.1-inch is the most used screen size with 720 x 1280 as the most used screen resolution.

Remember to simplify and make it as easy as possible for your audience to read and scan on. Start by writing your title, summary, then full post. Then, strategically use chunking techniques to highlight important topics. Put yourself in your readers' shoes, and you’re on your way to creating an enjoyable and optimized mobile reading experience.

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About the Author: Samantha Anderson

Samantha Anderson

Samantha is the COO and co-founder of 41 Orange, inc, a marketing agency. She is also currently a member of the Board of Directors for San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Balboa Park’s resident classical ballet school since 1945. Hailing from the agency world, Sam has worked with Fortune 500 tech, financial, and consumer brands, including Intel, Petco and LPL Financial, to shape their online presence and reach their target audiences more effectively through social media and beyond. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, emphasis in public relations from San Diego State University.