Marketers thought copywriting was complicated when creating content for traditional marketing mediums. Yes, okay it was. I remember my first "copywriting for radio" class and the complexities of getting a user to engage. This course was taught after years of research on radio advertising. Now the internet and the exponential growth of social media along with the onslaught of devices has made producing content even more complicated. And we don’t have years of research.
Marketers need to be agile and constantly adapt. We need to create more content, we need more people within our organizations to produce content and that content needs to be created faster and be distributed to more channels than ever before.
It’s not just a question of desktop or mobile. I say that because a lot of marketers have been misled into believing the problem is a binary argument for desktop and mobile. Things keep changing and fast.
Every time someone asks me about average screen sizes, I’m sure the look in my eyes is blank. Do they mean for a desktop, at work, at home, on a laptop, on a tablet, on a smartphone, on a not-so-smart-mobile-phone? Not to mention bits of content in less than 140 characters which force us to be more conscious of the length and clarity of titles?
Context is Critical
Marketers face an ever changing world presenting them with new challenges for creating content that meets the needs of the always-connected mult-device consumer. In many cases that means, us. Me and you.
How did you find the link to this blog post? Where are you reading it? Will you share it and if so, via what channel?
Not that long ago the typical mobile consumer accepted things that didn’t display perfectly because it was understood that technologies were growing and imperfection was the nature of the game. But that changed.
Now the majority of people have mobile devices and when those devices are used to access any kind of content, the expectation is that of a great user experience. And the sign of a great experience is that we don’t even notice it because nothing obstructs us.
The experience we need to design now must include not just on-page content but also the right content in social sharing tools. Have you ever clicked on a Tweet button to find some useless sharing code? Of course you have. Infrequently do you find a Share Button that creates a snipit of content you really want to share with networks. The more that people become habituated to using multi-devices from anywhere, the greater the challenge for marketers.
Content creators these days must sometimes feel like they’re supposed to be clairvoyant. Imagine the differences between delivering a landing page with a form to a user who uses a 1920x1200 monitor on their desktop to someone who is surfing via their iPad versus someone passing time surfing on their smartphone. How do you adapt to the size?
I love a phrase my colleagues often use, “Rethink. Don’t Shrink.” It’s complicated to produce and deliver content that meets the needs of the traditional PC user versus the Local-Mobile-Social (LoMoSo) user who often has entirely different content desires along with a myriad of different navigation requirements.
Not only do marketers need to create great content, they need to master all the pathways in which the content will be read and shared. And challenges are not limited to the devices used -- apps pose yet more.
Master the Medium, Engage the Audience
It’s not just having content management platform that enables easy publishing that’s critical, it’s the marketers ability to slice and dice and personalize the users' experience from the content they’re exposed to, to the nature that content displays, and from where they engage with that content. And this also means thinking about how people engage with content they access offline or re-engage with mobile users whose connections have been lost.
My kindle and iPad kindle app have made me think a lot about accessing content offline. I read my kindle mostly on planes, trains and on public transport where I either have no connection or it’s unreliable. Many books I read are embedded with links to drive me to engage with different websites, or make other purchases.
The problem is that I usually access these types of content when I don’t have an internet connection. That’s when my attention can be captivated. I can bookmark these links, but I often wish there was a feature that would remind me at a later date to continue to the mentioned website.
And on other mobile devices, many of us often don’t bother with m-Commerce because if we lose our connection we might have to go through many steps all over again. You can see how many potential transactions might be lost simply because upon accessing a web property, we weren’t able to link to our Twitter or Facebook account to create a profile to frequently save our pathway in case we lost our connection.
Marketers need to know at what point the connection broke. Marketers can overcome lost connections by having the means to follow the conversation and re-engage the customer when they’re back online. Or they can re-engage by pushing content such as via SMS and email.
And so marketers need to prepare the right messaging to re-engage someone when the conversation or customer journey is broken, which is where personalization comes into play. Apps are useful for enabling customers to have access to content when they’re offline, but even with apps, marketers need to plan their content to re-engage visitors (shoppers) when they’re online again.
So what’s the solution? Marketers need to start to think of their ability to adapt content in terms of assessing the risk of content not displaying appropriately. Then take that assessment to the C-Suite or IT team.
Title image courtesy of olly (Shutterstock).
Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading:
- The Impact of Tablets on Web Publishing or The Riddle of the Sphinx by @davidhillis
- Opportunities and Challenges of Mobile Websites
- Mobile Content Strategy: 5 Pitfalls to Avoid by @ahaval