Technology is evolving. Marketing is shifting. And digital storytelling is emerging. As platforms are becoming more interconnected and participatory, consumers are radically changing how they consume content.
Consumers in the digital age are no longer turning to the TV, a newspaper or even a computer for the majority of their information and entertainment. They are using a combination of channels, often simultaneously, during all hours of the day.
(images via Google’s study “Multi-Channel Delivery”)
As a result, marketers everywhere are ramping up multimedia content distribution. However, most take the "spray and pray" approach to content marketing, and stick their their messages far and wide hoping something sticks. They duplicate their media experiences, re-purposing content across different channels. But, it's not working.
Why? because we're fighting a war for attention.
People aren't going to look at marketing messages just because you put it in front of them, even if it shows up in high-resolution on their cutting edge mobile device.
To get the maximum amount of impact, you must start thinking like a non-fiction publisher, not like a marketer.
New devices are not another opportunity to copy and paste messages. They are an expansion of a canvas in which you create participative, integrated and ongoing story experiences that engage and involve your best fans.
Social media, video, product packaging, events, retail displays, and print advertising should all provide a multi-layered story with plots and subplots unique to each consumer touch-point.
And in this attention war, you can’t afford anything less.
Mobile is a small piece of a much larger story. It should be it own narrative, but taken together, it creates a consistent, multi-sensory experience that is specific to an individual consumer in real time on a personalized device.
As such, marketers must identify content that is relevant for users who access via mobile devices, and give them what they're looking for. Hook them with a delightful mobile experience, and they'll be hungry for the rest of the story. They’ll go for the meaty content after you grow their appetite.
Give them your website on a screen that is 1/10th the size of their laptop and they'll vomit, leave, and never return.
The good news is that mobile storytelling is a still a mystery for most, and there it still time to develop a mobile content strategy. But you don’t have time to wait. Here are a few tips to consider first.
Tips for mobile storytelling that doesn't make you gag:
- Enable interaction and allow consumer to become a part of the story. Encourage user submitted pictures and video and social feedback to establish a dialogue between you and your fans. If fans feel as if they are shaping the outcome of a larger story, they will be more engaged and more willing to share.
- Keep text short as possible. Smaller mobile screen mean more scrolling. And more scrolling means more frustration. More frustration means…you get the idea. If users have to work too much for payoff, you risk losing them.
- Create original, mobile optimized video that adds to a larger marketing campaign that spans across channels.
- Use mobile as a supplementary experience to a real-time activity in a physical location like watching a movie, touring a city, or tailgating at a college football game. This adds depth to the story, and rewards users for participating.
- Understand your audience. With significantly less space for content, it is necessary to provide information that is relevant to the way it is accessed.
- Understand the medium. Will users be thumbing through an app on their iPhone or clicking scrolling through a mobile web page? The platform indicates why they are visiting and what they are looking for.
- Lead them to the meat. Once they're hooked, make sure they can find more. Prompt them with call-to-actions, and keep the data trail mobile optimized and free of super tiny text and links.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging more and more into mobile specifics over at Verge Pipe Media. If you're looking for more about apps, storytelling and mobile friendly content, then stay tuned.
Author: Micah Whitehead is the Social Architect and Co-Creative at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.