What’s Your Mobile, Snackable Content Strategy?

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

What’s Your Mobile, Snackable Content Strategy?Last week I highlighted some of the more interesting findings reported in a document Google published called Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile. This week I want to focus on a couple other important points in that document, as well as provide an example of how publishers need to leverage the mobile opportunity that awaits them.

In my earlier article, I mentioned Google’s stat about searches for video how-to content. The search giant said the year-over-year growth rate for how-to videos is 70 percent. So despite the fact that YouTube is hardly a new sensation, it’s clear the momentum for how-to solutions is with video, not written content. After all, would anyone dare claim that how-to written content is growing by at least 70 percent?

Here are two other noteworthy stats in Google’s document:

• On page 14, they state that 48 percent of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps provide instructional video content.
• On page 22, we learn that, when in stores, 82 percent of smartphone users turn to their devices to help them make a product decision.

Last week I asked you to consider how your brand performs on keywords searches that are vital to your business. Now let’s narrow that down and ask the same question specifically for an in-store mobile experience. My guess is your brand is nowhere near the top of the results, and even if it is it probably doesn’t deliver a short, effective mobile-optimized solution.

In the publishing world we often focus on print vs. digital and how digital will one day replace print. Recent trends indicate that the digital shift has slowed and ebook momentum has plateaued, for example. I tend to agree with Bookshout CEO Jason Illian, who points out that we’re actually on the same trajectory other technologies have experienced and that we’re currently sitting in what Gartner refers to as “the trough of disillusionment.”

If so, what should the publishing industry do as we await the market’s advancement to the next stages on Gartner’s curve: “the slope of enlightenment” and “the plateau of productivity”? I suggest we stop framing print and digital as mutually exclusive and focus instead on how digital can complement print (and digital).

As an example, let’s use the print edition of the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. (I picked this one simply because it’s currently #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list, but the same model I’m about to describe could be applied to a wide variety of titles and genres.) According to Amazon, the author offers 200 pages of advice on how to “declutter homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration.” My loving wife has often referred to me as a hoarder, so I’m sure I could learn quite a bit from this one…

I’m not sure I could force myself to read 200 pages on decluttering. It would be a long and slow effort, but here’s what could make it more interesting and engaging: a mobile companion that provides inspiration and bite-size nuggets of tips to guide me on my decluttering journey.

The publisher could offer a free mobile app that complements and also serves as a marketing and discovery tool for the book. First, the reader sets a goal of how fast they want to read the book. Maybe it’s spread out over a four-week period. The app also asks the reader if they want to opt into either push messages in the app or text messages to their phone. Either way, the goal is for the app to provide the reader with tips on how to act on what they’ve already read, as well as provide a preview of what’s to come in the next section of the book.

The key is to focus on mobile presentation and consumption. That means short bursts of content, much of which is probably 20- to 30-second videos.

This model offers the following benefits:

1. It enables the publisher to establish a direct relationship with all their otherwise anonymous readers. The publisher features the free companion app on page one of the book and the quick registration process enables publishers to make the direct connection with their readers.
2. The app helps make the book more engaging for readers, likely leading to a higher rate of success as they declutter their world.
3. It serves as a gateway to discovery of the book itself. Since the publisher gives the app away, it helps market the book by providing tips and techniques, the details of which can only be found in the book itself. Think of this as the next generation of the book sample.

As I mentioned earlier, this solution works well for a book on decluttering, but that’s just one example. And notice that I positioned the app as a companion to the print edition. It also complements the ebook, of course, but my point is to show how print and digital can work together.

Give some thought to the type of content you produce. Can you envision a model in which a digital companion delivers the three benefits I outlined above?

This article first appeared on Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies.

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