8 steps to write content that works good for mobile audiences.

Your potential audience begins to spend more time on their mobile devices than on a desktop. And with that, they consume your content outside of what you might consider a favorable environment. Forget everything you knew about reading content online:

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Your potential audience begins to spend more time on their mobile devices than on a desktop. And with that, they consume your content outside of what you might consider a favorable environment. Forget everything you knew about reading content online: reading from a mobile device is entirely different from reading content on a desktop.
So, here is your challenge: How to create the content that will be attractive to people who view it on a smartphone’s limited screen while being in a rush? That’s what I’m going to analyze in this article. Let`s discuss what mobile audiences expect from your content and how you could optimize what you publish to ensure it will engage them.
Intrigued? Then let’s do it.
Here are eight steps you’ll need to work on to attract a mobile audience:


1. Understand your audience’s mobile habits.


















It is amazing how many conversations about mobile strategies and content marketing happen in the absence of audience data. Can you answer the following questions about your customers and prospects?

  • What percentage of your audience accesses your site on mobile devices?
  • Do they use tablets or smartphones?
  • What activities do they do on your website, independently and as compared with your overall traffic?
  • What content do they access more?
  • How much time do they spend on your website? An audience with an average of 10 minutes is different from an audience with an average of 90 seconds. It’s all about attention span.
  • Do they consume visual content?
  • What are other sites, social media platforms, and the activities which they do on their mobile devices?

The greater the depth concerning your understanding of your audience’s mobile habits, the more compelling your content will be. However, specifically, understanding the makeup of their mobile universe will help you create content that feels native – rather than passively adjusted to fit in.


2. Acknowledge the tension between long-form and short-form content.

If you look through the recent ads for freelance bloggers, it is easy to see the shift to long-form content. Ads that once asked for rates for 500-word articles no longer want submissions less than 1000 words. The assumption here is that more extended content can go more in-depth, show more expertise and create more value for the reader. The problem here is whether or not someone is likely to read a 1000-word paper on your chosen subject on his or her smartphone. The most truthful answer is “it depends”: on your market, the subject, and the usage of the context of their query.

I don`t recommend you to write shorter content, long-form content is alive and well in an era of mobile content consumption. More extended content is still relevant. Instead of shortening your content, you better tighten your writing. Try to make your content as long or as short as it needs to be.

Strategically, long and in-depth content is vital for SEO. However, from a human readership perspective, there’s a significant need for insightful articles that deliver a ton of value in a reduced space. Your goal is to provide as much on-screen information as possible without requiring the user to swipe or tap.

Another tip is to vary the lengths of the content that you create consciously.  On your website have a version of your blog that mobile readers start with, that highlights summary and offers the chance to click over to longer articles. You can suggest two versions of every piece – the long version and the quick hits. You can vary content on your blog day by day, providing both in-depth tutorials and shorter pieces.


3. Write shorter headlines to make them more mobile-friendly.

Writing the kind of headline that grasps a reader’s attention, stimulates their interest, and refuses to let them go until they’ve devoured your content is just good copywriting. However, when writing for mobile users, it is doubly important that your headline is:

  • Highly relevant to your audience
  • Answers the question “what’s in it for me” by showcasing the benefit to the reader
  • Has a powerful and timely hook
  • Evokes an image or an emotional response in the reader
  • Loaded with proof elements

Given the limited screen, you should write headlines that don’t require the user to scroll or swipe the screen to see them. Your headline shouldn`t take up several screens of space; short headlines will be easier viewed in a quick scan.

CoSchedule suggests that headlines with about six words get the highest click-throughs. A likely reason for a high click-through rate could be because 6-word headlines don’t get trimmed even on a smartphone, no matter the screen size.

Besides, we read each of the six words because of the way we scan content, we scan headlines too and end up reading just the first and the last three words. Sticking to 6 words means getting your entire headline read.


4. Front load your most influential content.

Your article’s lead in is the first paragraph or two. This is the hook, and what carries the reader through the journey of the broader piece. In some website designs, you can have four or five paragraphs visible – no scrolling required. However, the mobile environment is likely to shift the focus on these first, few crucial paragraphs. Things are a bit tighter with mobile. For this reason, start your articles with a few attention-grabbing lines.

Article summaries are becoming even more critical. It’s possible that these “executive briefings” are all that people will read if your content is accessed via mobile. The actual fear is that if you give all the secrets away early, people won’t keep reading. However, I’d argue the other perspective: If you deliver tremendous value early on, readers won’t be able to help but keep going. The readers with a screen that’s too small to read 2000 words on still get the value of a positive brand contact and are likely to come back for more.

I advise starting with a few sentences crafted to attract the reader’s attention. These sentences preview the content and point to a takeaway. Most importantly, the first sentence raises expectations and grabs attention. Whatever you do, don’t start out boring. What mobile readers see above the fold is what will compel them to read below the fold. Make it good.


5. Don’t overlook the power of formatting.

You should be doing reformatting existing content, but it isn’t enough. Proper mobile formatting should become an essential part of your mobile content strategy.  Mobile-friendly content is about:

  • Getting to the point, quickly and efficiently
  • Thinking about a layout that integrates tappable elements which make calls to action easy to take
  • Big fonts that are easy to read
  • Colors that pop
  • Visual elements wherever possible
  • Text layouts that are clean and streamlined when you’re dealing with written content

If you have a website or branding style guide, it might be the right time to revisit and revise them to reflect the minimum standards that will help mobile content thrive.


6. Introduce visual content (video and images).

Visual content such as videos, infographics, images, and others are becoming more critical. If you’ve gone away from introducing this to your content strategy, moving in the direction of mobile-first now is a great time to do so.

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Moreover, the brain can process it 60,000X faster than the text. According to the same source, 40% of people will respond better to visuals than text. Add as much visual content as possible (or even convert more of your content entirely into visuals) to engage the mobile audience.

Using a mobile-first approach to video requires paying much attention to the rise of micro-videos. Services like Vine, with its six-second limit, are pushing the envelope regarding how brands convey their message. It is not always practical to send a message in six seconds, but analyze the video (and other visual content) in the same way as text: can this be shorter, tighter or more efficient with my viewer’s time?

Eye-tracking studies indicate that mobile users look at pictures more than they view the text. So try to use more images: Images are an excellent means to divide the content into parts and enhance reading on a mobile device. Relevant images (screenshots/graphics) add visual appeal to content and also break it up for easy reading which is the whole key to being ‘mobile friendly.’ However, often images like graphs and charts don’t stay legible on the small screens. When using such graphics, make sure that your users can interpret their data even on their smartphones.


7. Replace wordy phrases with simple words.

Stop using unnecessary words, phrases, sentences, or points. It is all about the economy when you want to get your content read on a mobile device. Remember the lesser and simpler words you use, the smoother the reading experience will be.

Many people add much flab to their writing by using words that have more straightforward and shorter alternatives. Possibly they feel that using big words will give an edge to their writing and make them sound smarter.  However, instead of impressing readers with their intelligence, they end up with messy content.

The reality is that even the most qualified readers prefer easy, small words to big, bulky words because it makes reading faster. Wordy phrases are worse than complicated words because they don’t just take more time for reading but often engender long, convoluted sentences. Long sentences require readers to unwind their meanings in their heads. This spoils the reading experience. It’s especially frustrating for someone reading on their mobile device.


8. Use whitespace for motivated scanning.

The key element for formatting your content for the web is whitespace, especially for the mobile web. To design your content for motivated scanning, whitespace is your single most significant tool. By using whitespace effectively, you can not only chunk your data but also lead your users to the most critical points in your content. Essentially, whitespace is just hitting the enter key more often and using sentence fragments to create an effect. In addition to these, subheads, bulleted and numbered lists, and shorter paragraphs are also elements that form whitespace.

When you start out with whitespace, you might notice that you introduce abrupt (unintended) breaks in your content. Such interruptions will get in the flow of reading and make the readers feel lost, and so they need to go. To detect such abrupt breaks, paste your content into Google’s translate tool and get the tool to read it for you. This trick works great because just like your users, this tool also reads your text mechanically, and therefore it catches all the abrupt breaks in your content.



While trying to make your site mobile in a friendly way, don’t settle for a responsive website alone because a responsive website is not necessarily reader-friendly. Your audience wants to read what you’ve got to offer. Moreover, they want to do so on their mobile devices. With a few simple changes to your writing and formatting, you can update your content’s mobile-readability dramatically and make your website more attractive for today’s modern mobile user.

Creating a mobile content strategy for your business has many components. If you’re embarking down that road or you’re revisiting your progress, I’d encourage you to find ways to create for mobile and then “scale up.” Not only will your workload be reduced further than doing it the other way around, but you’ll be setting up a content creation process that’s sustainable into the future.