Mobile-first content; the easiest trick for better results
You do the final check in exactly the same setting as your audience sees it
Creating mobile-first content is quite a no-brainer, right? In reality, we think we do, but we don’t. Every time I see content creators or content marketers reviewing the final assets on their laptop, not on their mobile.
Mobile-first means you're mobile-last in the reviewing process.
Why it matters
Nowadays, about ~80% of your audiences see your content on mobile. Social, it’s even close to 100%. Therefore, in a mobile-first world, you have to create mobile-first content assets.
Usually, you create the assets (on a laptop), upload them, or send them to your email supplier or wherever whatever your process is to publish the content. You check the end result (on a laptop) and sign off for publication.
If you’re not proud of the result, would click on it yourself, reconsider posting. Nothing destroys the algorithm more than a subpar ‘good enough; will do’ post.
Don’t rely on tech
Don’t rely on technology to make the mobile magic happen. It’s you who’s responsible for the end result.
Below you find a short outline for a reviewing process for visuals, copy and social. Notice that this is my own process; you create yours.
Visuals, no automatic cropping
Imagine. You know the header for your newsletter is landscape. For a laptop, it’s 750x350 px. For mobile, it's 400 x 300 px. You deliver the original visual, and the software automatically crops for you. Usually aligning from the center of the visual. See the example below.
The visual tells a greater story when you do the cropping yourself and you apply the rule of thirds for balance and movement in the visual.
Yes, it’s more work. The result is unspeakable better.
And please, realize that reviewing a visual on the big screen of your laptop always is different in customer experience from reviewing it on the small screen of your phone. Especially when it's for an email header that's read on mobile.
Copy. Short, sweet, and airy
The same goes for written content. You maybe know that the optimal length for readability of a line on a big screen is around 12 to 15 words. If it’s longer, it gets hard to read. If it’s shorter, it looks crazy and lonely. On mobile, the common length of the lines is mostly around 10 words.
A longer sentence will drop over two lines on a laptop and over three to four on a mobile. If your paragraph consists of several sentences, the paragraph can look great on a laptop and too solid and inaccessible on a mobile.
This is why writing for mobile usually is in a slightly cleaner language with shorter sentences. And makes more use of white lines in between the copy. To keep the copy in total accessible, light, and easy on the eye.
And vice versa. What looks too short and ‘lonely’ like a toddler wrote it, on the laptop, it’s great on mobile.
I always write for mobile.
That means I write, upload, and check it on my laptop, toggle the mobile view in the browser, and hit publish to be able to see the content live. Then I grab my phone, open the page, and with the phone in my hand, I start editing, tuning, and tweaking it to be mobile-first
Check out the differences below; the first is the laptop view of mobile-first copy, and the second is the same copy on a mobile.
Social, review the mock-up on a small screen
The same goes for social reviewing. There are three golden rules.
- Never review the copy in a Word doc or, even worse, in Excel
- Never review the copy without the visual
- Never review the copy without the social preview
Instead, always review the copy combined with the visual. They're a duo; it takes two to tango.
Create on the laptop, and review on the mobile. Exactly in the way your audience sees it.
Ask for a mock-up of the post; if you work with professional tools, that’s fairly easy to do.
This also goes for LinkedIn posts. You create the magic between your copy and the social preview's visual and copy.
Tip: don't repeat the text in the ‘social preview copy’ in your copy. Start with something catchy; there's no added value for your audience to read the same thing twice.
In this example, my copy would be a snippet from the blog that reveals why I think that people should read it.
In the example below, my copy would be, 'Don't be stupid. Your audience is on mobile, so should you. '. Notice I don't use the ‘Content. Formatting and size matters’ from the social preview copy. You can use it if you want to, just not in the first lines of your copy.
Without a doubt, the last step is always to check it (again) on your mobile. Grab your phone, open the page or the mockup, and view it on the small screen in your hand. Not on the big screen in front of your nose.
And if you’re not proud of the result, would click on it yourself, reconsider posting.
Nothing destroys the algorithm more than a subpar ‘good enough; will do’ post.
In the end, it's not that difficult. You, a human, do a final check in exactly the same setting as your audience sees the content. On mobile.
Need help with content? No worries, I got your back. Drop me a DM for a quick call.