According to Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2018 report, people spend on average 3.3 hours a day engaging with digital media on a mobile device — more hours than they spend on desktop computers (2.1 hours daily).
That means smartphones offer healthcare marketers a tremendous avenue for reaching consumers. But to effectively engage that audience, marketers have to structure their content in a way that best engages mobile readers.
So, how do you do that?
Read on to find out some best-practices tips to help you better grab — and keep — the attention of these modern consumers.
Because mobile content is read on a small screen, concise writing is essential. This allows you to present as much information on screen as possible without requiring the reader to swipe or tap. The more cogently you can express an idea, the better.
Note, though, that concise doesn't mean short. It doesn't mean gutted for mobile. You still need to concentrate on writing a complete thought; you want to give the appropriate amount of information to meet your reader's needs, and no more. No less, either. Keep a tight focus and cut out the fluff.
Concise writing also doesn't mean the days of long-form pieces are dead. Long-form still very much has a place in healthcare marketing to mobile users, but you need to follow some basic best practices to entice users to continue through your narrative. And writing concisely is part of that.
When writing your content…
Start with short, hard-hitting headlines that grab attention without taking up the whole screen. Short headlines are easy to scan and digest. Aim for 8 to 12 words and focus on summing up the article in a way that shows it has something of value to the reader. This really isn't that different from writing headlines with an SEO keyword focus.
Consider offering a short (concise) summary after the headline. That way, the reader will get an idea of what your content is about. Start strong in the main body — that's more important with mobile than with any other medium (though it's plenty important with those other mediums). So little of your content is displayed at one time on mobile that you want to start with your most powerful point. Make your strongest claim or biggest promise upfront. That will entice readers to continue reading.
Keep your paragraphs brief. Consider how your text will appear on a small screen.
A paragraph of five sentences or more will present as an intimidating wall of text that is hard to decipher.
So break up your content into small pieces that are easy and quick to digest, with subtitled sections, bulleted lists, succinct bites of information, and relevant quotes. This also will create some white space that will make the text more appealing.
Choose your words carefully
Say what needs to be said and then get out of the way. That means eliminating unnecessary verbiage and digressions. It also means simplifying the words and phrases you use in the content. For example, instead of using the word “purchase," use “buy," a smaller word that means the same thing. Or use “get" instead of “obtain" or “acquire." Here are just a few other examples:
Instead of “requires," use “needs"
Instead of “request," use “ask for"
Instead of “subsequent," use “next"
Instead of “terminate," use “end"
Instead of “utilize," use “use"
You can find more simple word suggestions here.
Replace wordy phrases with simple words. Wordy phrases don't just take up more reading time, they also often create long, convoluted sentences. So instead of writing, “in order to," write “to." Here are a few other examples:
Instead of “a number of," write “some"
Instead of “by means of," write “by"
Instead of “prior to," write “before"
Instead of “at this point in time," write “now"
Instead of “due to the fact that," write “because"
Instead of “with reference to" / “pertaining to" / “in regard to," write “about"
I'm sure you can think of others that we all use. But here's a list of 50 of the most-used wordy phrases along with their simpler alternatives.
Consider your links
As you know, linking to other sites can give your content a bump with search engines. When linking from articles written for mobile devices, make sure the sites you're linking to are also optimized for viewing on mobile devices. If you link to a page that isn't mobile-friendly, you could frustrate your audience — and why give them any excuse to stop reading? Also, consider making the links you include in your mobile content a little bigger and clearer than they would be for a desktop (images can help here, too), so they're easily clicked on.
One last thing: forget sidebars. On mobile devices, they usually get pushed to the bottom of the page, so they're rarely seen anyway. When they are seen, they're just a distraction.
There's help for creating this specialized content
Smartphones offer healthcare marketers a chance to connect and engage with audiences more consistently than ever before, at any time. That can be a great thing. But only if you know how to structure your content to entice and engage those users.
The final piece of this mobile-optimized content puzzle is a content management system structured to make content publication across different devices and screens as seamless as possible, with minimal effort on your part. Learn more about finding a modern CMS, built to suit these needs and more, by downloading our Definitive Guide to Healthcare CMS.