At the beginning of each year, business thought leaders from every industry announce their predictions for new trends and innovations. In previous years, popular predictions have been the internet of things, omni-channel and personalization, among others.
With regards to content marketing, delivering relevant content to your audience, wherever they are, has typically been the mantra for most of these predictions, and traditionally,”wherever they are” has referred to social channels or advertising on publisher sites. While this is certainly a good start, these approaches don’t take into consideration how these audiences engage with these channels. What time of day do they visit? Why do they visit them? And finally, what device do they use to visit them?
According to eMarketer, 51% of the total time an adult spends engaged with digital media is on a mobile device, and according to Internet Retailer, mobile commerce is now 30% of all US e-commerce.
The fact is that mobile isn’t going anywhere. The question for a content marketer is how is your brand going to respond and embrace this way of digital consumption? How are you going to make your content marketing mobile?
1. The Newsletter
Email newsletters should always be considered an integral part of a content marketing strategy and making them mobile-friendly should also be a given. Not every newsletter, however, has the same purpose or structure.
Newsletters that act as content teasers, such as Equinox’s Furthermore, is more commonly seen in the content marketing space. With this type of newsletter, an image and small excerpt from an article is included in the email and the reader is required to click through to read the full article. This newsletter strategy is popular in content marketing since a common goal is to drive traffic to your brand’s website. Because of this, content marketers want to optimize their newsletters for click-through-rates.
Regardless of the structure, both approaches are compatible with a mobile device and offer a beneficial experience for the user on the go.
2. The Mobile Website
The simplest strategy to make your content marketing mobile-friendly is to create a mobile website. For any website that has been updated in the past few years, this shouldn’t be an issue (but if you’re not sure if your website is mobile-friendly, check here).
There are many benefits to this approach to mobile content marketing. First, assuming your site is already mobile-friendly, this is extremely time and cost efficient. Your content is instantly available and there shouldn’t be any updates or maintenance required in addition to your desktop site.
Second, your content is easy to find. With a mobile website, you are still are able to benefit from all the SEO optimization you’ve invested in your program. Because the process for the buyer journey through organic search is replicated on a mobile device, you won’t have to worry about any additional promotion or advertising to encourage users to sign up for a newsletter or download an app.
Third, your content is arguably stickier. Unlike an app, the user is unable to delete a mobile website. Although you’re not able to get in front of your user with things like push notifications, as long as the user is still participating in your buyer journey, they are still able to access your content. Let’s look at Bluecore’s mobile website as an example.
If someone is searching for Bluecore’s content marketing, they are able to simply search their mobile browser. Bluecore’s site is the first result, as it is mobile-friendly. Once the user enters the site, the mobile-optimized UX makes the blog easy to find.
When the user enters the blog, the experience will be relatively consistent with that of a desktop. Key site features such as newsletter subscription calls-to-action still appear and the user is able to easily scroll through the blog and click into any article he or she chooses.
3. The App
Finally, the most advanced mobile content marketing approach is creating a content-centric app. Although apps are expensive, time-consuming and require ongoing support and promotion, they can be highly effective. Before embarking on launching a mobile app for your content marketing, make sure your use case makes sense for this strategy.
WHEN DOES AN APP MAKE SENSE?
Not specific to content marketing, here are the general use cases for apps:
- Frequent usage and personalization
- Complex calculations
- Native functionality required
- No connection required
Based on these use cases, frequent usage and personalization is probably the most common and practical for content marketing.
We’ve mentioned in the past that American Express OPEN Forum is the gold standard for content marketing, so of course their mobile strategy is no exception. While the program already has a mobile-optimized newsletter and website, they decided to take their content marketing experience to the next level with the OPEN Forum app. Although the app was launched a few years ago, the strategy and experience has been continuously optimized. Let’s take a closer look.
Right off the bat, it is clear to the user that the app is an extension of the main OPEN Forum content marketing program. The mission statement, “Insights and inspiration to grow your business” is clearly stated on the first screen. From there, the reader is taken to a daily digest of articles. Keeping the on-the-go user in mind, the app includes an estimated read time. If the user doesn’t have time to read an article, they can bookmark it to read at a later time.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to the user of the OPEN Forum app is the customization available. Users can choose to focus the categories of their content from Planning for Growth, Managing Money, Getting Customers and Building Your Team, so every piece of content they’re served is relevant to them. The user can also set what time of day they’d like to receive the push notification for their Daily Digest. Not only do these features benefit the user by letting them decide what content they want and when reading it best fits into their schedule, but it also gives valuable insights to American Express that they can use to inform other aspects of their content marketing strategy.
These are just a few examples of how brands can approach mobile content marketing. While today apps may be considered the most advanced content marketing mobile strategy, I’m sure as more programs scale and mature, we’ll see further innovative integrations with other devices and experiences. Regardless of where you are in your strategy, remember that delivering content to your audience, wherever they are, includes optimizing it for the device they want to use.