What device are you reading this on? A desktop? Your laptop, maybe? Or perhaps you’re on a tablet or smartphone? Here’s why I ask: As marketers, we can create the most compelling content in the history of the universe, but we can’t control how users will actually access it. That’s why it’s more important than ever before to make certain our content can respond across every platform, device, and browser.
Responsive content isn’t an option; it’s a necessity.
Responsive web design is obviously a hot topic these days–and rightly so. In our world of ever-changing screen sizes, it’s a practice that helps ensure content is – as web designer Brad Frost notes – “ready to go anywhere, because it’s going to go everywhere.”
But responsive design involves much more than image stacking and accordion menu navigation. It also involves the actual words on the page. You know, the copy; that great content you spent hours creating. Turns out, it’s pretty important. And it needs to be designed for responsive too. To do it right, it’s important to make sure our content is split up into bite-sized “chunks.”
Is mobile copywriting really a thing? Sure it is.
In her book, Content Everywhere, Sara Wachter-Boettcher writes that a mobile content strategy is “all about creating portable, flexible content structures that go wherever your users are, without sacrificing quality.”
How exactly do you make copy more flexible and accessible for mobile? Here are four quick tips:
- Write short, impactful headlines.
They’re easier to scan and won’t take up too much screen space (five to six words max). Headlines that are too long will get lost below the fold and can break in an odd way across the page.
- Front load your content.
You’ve got to grab your audience’s attention right away. Put the most compelling thought first – either in your subhead or in the first line of your copy. Make a bold statement, use compelling stats, lead with a strong quote. Just write something that will spark your reader’s interest.
- Think short sentences and small paragraphs.
What’s your first reaction when you see a giant block of text? If you’re like me, you immediately cringe, and then go find another source to get your information. Readers get lost in long paragraphs. Write shorter sentences and smaller paragraphs. Mobile readers also love lists; they’re concise and easy to read.
- Don’t forget about formatting.
Most people will only scan your written content – so make it easy for them. Use subheadings, bulleted and numbered lists, and pull quotes. You can also bold text to highlight key phrases or underline important messages.
What’s the final thought?
According to The Content Marketing Institute, “Mobile readers still read articles. In fact, they might read more content on their mobile devices. The time has come to realize that the mobile revolution doesn’t just affect viewports and require responsive tricks. It requires a reorientation to the art of writing.”
I couldn’t agree more. It’s not necessarily about writing less; it’s about writing more concise, more compelling copy. And to that I say: Challenge. Accepted.