Is Your Content Ready to Go Anywhere?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.  
  4. 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. 


2 thoughts on “Is Your Content Ready to Go Anywhere?

  1. Andrea Joliet November 10, 2015 / 11:34 pm

    Great post! Too often people focus on design so much content gets short shrift.


  2. prleytevidal December 21, 2015 / 4:58 am

    Responsive web design is hugely important! We focus on it big time with nonprofit clients at my company because if a donor wants to give a gift, you need to be ready to accept it no matter how they intend to. It should be so insanely easy to give a gift online, but if there are clicks and zooms and double pinches and taps in the way, chances are someone is going to drop off.

    Many of the principles that you discuss about short sentences and phrases are key in email subject lines, too. The iPhone will show 35-38 characters in portrait mode and 80 in landscape mode. The Galaxy S4 shows 33 in portrait mode and 72 in landscape. An iPad will show 39 characters regardless of the orientation, and the iPhone 6+ shows 63. It’s almost like you have to think about the quickest possible way to get folks attention!

    Liked by 1 person

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