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Targeting the Mobile Reader

Targeting the Mobile Reader

How often do you take a quick peek at your phone? If you’re anything like the average user, you touch your smartphone more than 2,600 times on a daily basis.

With so many people checking their phones constantly throughout the day, it’s a good bet that many are spending some time reading on their devices. Indeed, smartphones have prompted more readers to consume the written word on small screens than ever before.

For marketers, targeting people who read on their phones can play an important role in a comprehensive content strategy. If you’re producing written content for your organization, how can you use it to expand your reach to the mobile reader?

Websites, Blogs and Mobile Apps

For most people, viewing a website or blog on a smartphone screen is an exercise in frustration. In too many cases, website designers seem to have given no thought to how the page will look — and how it will scale — on small screens.

The best-case scenario often is a link to a mobile site at the bottom of the home page, but the mobile site often serves as a poor facsimile for the main site, lacking both critical information and functionality. Worst-case scenarios range from sites with pages cut off in odd ways to text that can’t be read, along with technologies that simply don’t work on mobile platforms.

As on the desktop, getting eyes on your mobile site or application requires a smart search engine marketing strategy. Keeping them there for any length of time — and, especially, persuading visitors to actually read your content — takes thought and planning. Along with providing informative and useful content, your site must work quickly and flawlessly to engage readers.

Long-Form Documents

For some industries, long-form documents such as white papers and articles play a critical role in positioning companies, along with their products and services. If you want to reach mobile readers with longer documents, plan accordingly in the early stages of document creation.

To paraphrase the great Mark Twain, the death of readers’ attention spans has been greatly exaggerated. Still, documents must be designed in a manner that makes sense for mobile. You’ll likely want to offer documents as PDFs, allowing readers to save into iBooks or another reading app for later perusal.

As you create content, work with your writers and editors to consider how you can break up text into logical blocks. If your white paper or annual report is compelling, your mobile readers may stick with it, but you should do all you can to make stopping places obvious for those who read in short bursts. Minimize tables and graphics with tiny print, which can be a source of major frustration on a mobile device.


Many devoted readers have love-hate relationships with e-books. It’s hard to beat the tactile pleasure of reading a great book; e-readers and smartphones simply can’t replicate the weight in your hand, the excitement of turning physical pages, and the musty library smell. But e-books have brought significant convenience that, for many readers, trumps the traditional, weighty hardcover.

If you have engaging, book-length content to share with your customers and prospective customers, you can benefit from the years readers have spent growing accustomed to consuming books on their smartphones, e-readers and tablets. Beyond simply creating your content, you’ll need a dedicated strategy for marketing your book. From developing a landing page to posting a complimentary chapter on key websites and hosting webinars with industry experts, you’ll need to create the right promotional mix for getting your e-book into your mobile readers’ hands.

Social Media

Few innovations have had as great an impact on publishing as social media, and targeting mobile readers requires an innovative strategy for best use of your social platform presence. Many readers rely on social media as a means for connecting with industry experts and authors as well as getting recommendations from friends and influencers. Be aware as you create your social strategy that the time readers spend on various social platforms likely will reduce the time they spend reading your content.

To reach mobile readers, make them a discrete part of your marketing plan. By creating a promotional strategy that maximizes your social presence, building a killer mobile website, and thoughtfully crafting your content, you can engage your target market where they live: on their mobile devices.