At newsrooms across the globe, the “mobile editor” is a new job role with increasing importance. Journalists and editors are developing innovative ways to bring stories to mobile-loving audiences, whether it’s making a news story more navigable on a smartphone or integrating video more prominently.
Brands can learn from these tweaks as they, too, shift their storytelling skills to reach the mobile-first (and often mobile-only) audience.
It’s no secret that mobile usage is booming, and news publishers are certainly feeling the heat. Pew Research Center reports that 39 of the top 50 digital news websites are getting more mobile traffic than desktop traffic.
The shift has made it imperative for publishers to craft stories that resonate equally well on mobile as on desktop. Enter the mobile editor. At top news organizations, mobile editors are ensuring that what works on the Web (or in print) will also grab reader attention on their smartphones, Nieman Lab reports.
It’s a role with relevance for digital marketing professionals, who also seek to grab users’ proverbial eyeballs across a variety of channels. Here’s what publishers are doing that could benefit mobile marketing strategy as well:
Publishers like Bloomberg take care to know who its mobile readers are and what they want—and how what they want can differ on mobile Web versus apps. For instance, Pew Research Center found that mobile users tend to spend less time on news stories than desktop users. Knowing that, writers should craft content for mobile that’s easy to read, scannable, and most importantly, grabs the reader in the first few seconds.
Especially during a breaking news event, traffic from mobile can spike to as high as 75 to 80 percent, The Guardian told Neiman Lab. As a result, mobile websites need to be responsive, and content must play well on both large and small screens. With mobile in mind, last year The Guardian stripped its annual Christmas gift guide to a simpler layout. It was less immersive than before but played well on a variety of devices (and earned a much bigger audience).
Creating top content for mobile isn’t just about making sure a Web story looks good on a mobile device. The new mobile world is challenging journalists to tell stories using new techniques. BBC’s video walk-through of a Budapest train station told the story of the migrant crisis in a raw, unfiltered way. The Wall Street Journal‘s virtual-reality rollercoaster tour of the Nasdaq index similarly brought unique life to a potentially bland story, utilizing animation, motion control, and touch.
Mobile users spend the majority of their time in apps, so content can’t live on the mobile Web alone. Publishers are working to perfect content readability on their own apps while also exploring storytelling on messaging and social media apps. The New York Times, for instance, has experimented on Snapchat with casual, playful stories like a series of clips from the Met Gala.
Like publishers, savvy brands know that content today has to work not just for the Web, but for mobile, too. Allrecipes.com—a trove of recipes and foodie inspiration—recently revamped its site with the mobile user in mind. Prominent (and mouth-watering) photos are featured in a responsive, grid-like design, so the content looks good no matter how small the screen.
Krispy Kreme recently went a step further with its celebration of Talk Like a Pirate Day, which featured clever and interactive mobile-only content, like a pirate name generator.
No matter what type of content brands choose to create, one thing is clear: Without a mobile marketing strategy, brands will miss out on the growing mobile-focused audience. Taking a page from publishers and keeping mobile a prominent storytelling focus will help brands achieve digital marketing success.
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