In honor of my last article of 2010, I would like to break down the mobile content strategy challenge.

Having a content strategy means investing in content that helps answer your users’ questions and aligning that content with your business strategy. Having a mobile content strategy is a subset within your mobile strategy, and it is also a subset within your content strategy. That means different professionals are going to be involved with planning, creating and executing that content.

No worries -- 11 steps and you will be right ready to greet 2011 with a smile.


So, how do you create a mobile content strategy? First, you ask yourself some very important questions about your users and your business -- just like you did when you created your content strategy. However, these questions become tightly focused, because you’re dealing with some very specific issues of location and search techniques. Remember, mobile behavior is not desktop behavior and is confined by differences in user coping strategies.

1. Define the User(s)

Revisit the user persona list you made when you first wrote your content strategy:

  • a. Who are these people?
  • b. What makes them tick?
  • c. What contributes to their decision to trust your brand -- to click?

Now, adapt those personas to a mobile environment. What are they searching for? What do they care about? What do they need -- RIGHT, FREAKING NOW? Those answers will prove invaluable as you create your mobile content strategy.

2. State the Business Objectives

Clearly define and write down your business hopes with a mobile strategy. The National Institutes of Health has a very different mobile strategy goal than Best Buy. What are people concerned with health issues looking for when they’re on the go? Very different topics than people searching at Best Buy.

3. Prioritize the Goals

Brainstorm with your team, friends and family on every possible thing users could want from your mobile site. Your list could have hundreds of items or ten. Then prioritize to the top three to five. In content strategy, you want to try to answer all the possible questions your users might have. However, in mobile content strategy, you want to answer all the possible questions they might have right now.

4. Learn What You Can and Cannot Do

Experiment with other mobile sites. Do not reinvent the wheel. See what others are doing in your competitive space; see what others are doing in a completely different space.

5. Learn the Hardware

Play around with different devices. Borrow a friend’s iPhone or Blackberry. Take a spin with a Droid. Get to know what kinds of smartphones your users favor by looking at your analytics.

6. Poll Your Users

Try asking your users what they want on a mobile site. Use survey software to gain insight. Ask the marketing team to put that question in a focus group or company satisfaction survey. Tell the customer service team to ask that question when people call.

7. Pick a Messenger.

Decide on the delivery solutions vehicles you are going to use. Would an app work better than a site optimized for mobile? Do you need both? Does your content require notification -- like Twitter? Should your Facebook pages be a part of your mobile content strategy?

Remember, it’s not just a destination website anymore. The tools at your disposal are far more powerful at driving traffic toward your content. If fact, your content becomes the driver in the mobile space.

8. Create Content or Re-purpose It

Once you’ve decided how you’re going to deliver it, start creating content that gets at what your users need from a mobile site. Again, they may want to compare prices, or find out what that bump on their arm might mean.

At the beginning, you may just need to create mobile landing pages that link to pages to your sites that aren’t optimized for mobile. But, at least you’re directing them toward answers.

9. Follow an Editorial Guide

Create certain styles and standards for mobile. DO NOT USE letters in phone numbers -- many phones don’t have letters on the numbers. Carefully consider jumping users -- speed is different on a mobile device.

Whatever you decide, remember, they may be different from what you would use on your desktop content strategy. For example, if you’re a hip and edgy company, don’t shy away from using 2 and 4 in your Tweets. If you’re the President of the United States, maybe not so much.

10. Make it Usable

Work with the UX people to make sure that the delivery isn’t getting in the way of the content. For example, when I log on to my Bank of America mobile account (and the only information I really want is my balance) it asks me for my login and password. Then, when I put that in, I expect to land right on my accounts balance page. Nope. Not so lucky. What pops up is a freaking welcome screen and a prompt, “Would you like to continue? Click here”. Huh? I’m signing in from a mobile device -- I want fast and effortless. No extra clicks.

11. Optimize for Search

Optimize your mobile site for search. Did you know Google Adwords has a feature that allows you to select iPhones and other mobile devices with Internet browsers? In fact, you can even drill down to select devices.

So what do you think you need to think about when designing a mobile content strategy? I’m sure there are things that I missed -- this was kind of a 101 presentation. See, 101 is 11, with a 0 in the middle.

Hope it’s a wonderful holiday season and a happy, happy New Year.