Written by Ariad Communications on February 12, 2013
in Content Strategy

Hear that? It’s the sound of your content saying, “Let me outta here.” It’s trapped, formatted for a limited number of devices – and now your users are trying to access it.

Traditional approaches of creating and displaying content are the culprits. We produce content with a narrow view of where it will be displayed. But this narrow view leads us down a path where content is only suitable for a handful of devices and channels.

In her new book, Content Strategy for Mobile ,  Karen McGrane argues that future-friendly content is structured, clean, and free of formatting. It can then be served up in multiple formats, be reconfigured and rendered when, where and how it’s convenient to the end user.

Mobile content strategy

Part manifesto, part how-to, McGrane tackles mobile content head-on in her book (you can read the first chapter for free). She makes the case that mobile can no longer be thought of as a “nice to have.” Customers, prospects, stakeholders, audiences are already accessing your website on their mobile device. But, chances are, the experience they’re getting isn’t stellar.

Detailed, compelling and convincing, McGrane writes with authority on a topic for which she has long-been advocating. For those who don’t have the time to read her book (but please try to make time). Here are three key takeaways:

1. Content lives everywhere. According to McGrane, we need to stop thinking about content living in a specific container and start creating content that can live anywhere. For instance, when crafting a headline, imagine it could be repurposed as a tweet or post. Create structured content with purpose. Rather than creating long-form “blobs” of copy, create reusable chunks that can be rendered, displayed, mixed and reused across platforms, devices and channels.

2.Separate presentation from content. The advent of WordPress and other user-friendly content management systems have simplified the updating and posting of content. But these systems have also given authors free rein over how the content can be displayed. From colours, to italics to smiley faces – the WYSIWYG editors lets content creators design to their hearts content. But all that formatting can hamper content reuse.

3.Stop pretending to know what customers want. It’s almost impossible to predict how, when and where customers will consume content. As McGrane argues: “You can’t make assumptions about what the user wants to do simply because she has a smaller screen. In fact, all you really know is: she has a smaller screen.”

McGrane’s book can be added to the growing library of essential content strategy books. If you’re just starting out in content strategy or have been a long-time veteran, this is a must read.

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