Last month, Waggener Edstrom’s Lab team (the agency’s collection of digital and social strategists) launched The Knowledge Economy, a seminar series to help propel the agency’s social media and digital literacy with its first installment focused on the evolution and implementation of gamification in human cultural and professional practice. The Knowledge Economy series not only explores emergent trends and new technologies within the digital and social arena, but also highlights how to better integrate social into our daily client work. Our second and most recent seminar in the series focused on the value of mobile content for PR professionals and clients, and discussed how to leverage mobile for digital campaigns through meaningful content creation and distribution. The seminar was presented by Nichole Provatas and Ashley Paula.
What is Mobile Content?
Mobile content strategies fall under the umbrella of content marketing and is also referred to as “inbound marketing”. Content marketing involves publishing high-quality, non-product content, and leveraging this content to build and maintain relationships with current and prospective customers. In addition to mobile, content marketing platforms can include print, social media, blogs, gamification, infographics, video and podcasts, virtual events and general online content. Content marketing tends to be more interactive than traditional marketing, and involves creating and delivering content your audience is already seeking in all the places they are searching for it.
Brands and PR practitioners today have as many resources at their disposal as news organizations to tell their story. Content marketing has transformed traditional notions of media relations, as content-hungry audiences are less interested in the source of content as they are in the quality and utility of the content itself. As PR professionals, we can leverage content marketing to help our clients communicate with their customers and prospects without directly “selling”. It’s about delivering consistent, ongoing valuable information to customers or end-users that ultimately turns into sales and brand loyalty. Through content marketing, we can increase client thought-leadership and credibility, online SEO and referrals, as well as improve their overall reach and visibility.
Mobile content is specifically written and formatted for mobile consumption, including mobile applications and mobile-friendly websites & blogs, which is very important for businesses selling to consumers. Social media platforms that have a mobile application, such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and YouTube, are also considered mobile content.
Value of Mobile Content for PR Professionals
Why is mobile content important for PR professionals and our clients? The answer is growth. Mobile content & access was the largest mobile and social media sector in 2011, at $39.2B.
What does this mean for our partners? According to the CMO Council, mobile content marketing now accounts for an estimated 25 percent of B2B marketing budgets. These investments are expected to continue rising as companies seek to keep pace with the appetite for relevant content and conversations across multiplying formats, delivery channels, platforms, audiences, and device types.
This demonstrates that industries are starting to recognize that mobile is increasingly becoming the place where their audiences are connecting and conducting business, and using content to ultimately determine a product or service’s value.
Designing Mobile Content
Mobile content marketing differs from the web in user expectations and the way people interact with a mobile site. For example, traditional websites can expect users to move in a vertical pattern, while mobile users tend to navigate side to side. In order for a mobile site or app to be successful, it needs to be designed for a small screen, which is commonly referred to as Responsive Web Design – the concept of designing a dynamic website layout that changes according to a user’s screen resolution.
This includes prioritizing features and content that most popular among consumers. It’s usually necessary to sacrifice some of a web site’s features and content when designing a mobile version of the site, so users can easily find what they need, and giving priority to the tasks and content users are most likely to use on a mobile device.
Another way to design content for mobile is to avoid confusion by simplifying the process. For example, display additional information on a new screen instead of placing all of the information on the same screen.
Waggener Edstrom’s content team is a prime example of this in action. They recently helped design and develop the MSN mobile site which is a responsive design.
The Mobile Content Landscape
In PR, we’re in the business of communicating relevant content for our clients to help them achieve their objectives. Ninety percent of all media interactions are screen based, and 38% of our daily media interactions are on smartphones. Also, cross device activities from computers to smartphones are increasing substantially.
Additionally, the shift from e-commerce to m-commerce will reach a tipping point by 2015, with mobile applications and social media expected to account for 50 percent of Web sales by then. If mobile is how audiences are accessing relevant content and ultimately buying products and services, this is where we need to be reaching them. This goes for both B2B and B2C industries.
B2C & B2B Mobile Strategies
Smartphone penetration is nearing 50 percent in the US, and tablet penetration is expected to reach the same level by 2013. Consumers prefer mobile-friendly websites and are more likely to buy a site’s product or service when they visit their mobile site. According to a recent Google-sponsored study, consumers today feel that companies without mobile-friendly sites do not care about their business, and a bad mobile experience makes us less likely to engage with a company. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that over 72 percent of small business owners plan to increase or maintain their mobile marketing spend over the next year.
B2C mobile content marketing strategieswill vary of course, depending on the client and their audience – but, here a few that we’d like to call out.
B2B content marketing is experiencing a slower adoption rate, and mobile is not as popular for these audiences; therefore, it’s important to leverage mobile through popular and B2B content marketing platforms.
In June 2011, Compete and Google found that 28 percent of US B2B C-level executives used a mobile phone to research business purchases, compared to 25 percent of those outside the C-suite. This not only demonstrates that decision makers are using mobile to make business decisions, but they’re also reading content and evaluating the value of a business, competitor or a C-level executive.
B2B strategies are essentially the same as those for B2C. The difference however, is in the type of mobile platform B2B clients use to reach an entirely different audience.
Mobile Content Case Study: General Electric (GE)
GE is very successful in their digital and social efforts, specifically in effective storytelling through mobile to ensure they are serving and connecting with people in a natural and relevant way. For example, GE utilizes Instagram very well with both their mobile and corresponding Webstagram profile.
Another interesting way GE is using mobile, is by leveraging gamification elements via their recently launched game called Patient Shuffle, which demonstrates the challenges of running a hospital and effectively targets both their B2C (patients) and B2B (hospitals) audiences.
Mobile Content Case Study: WE Hot Spots Application @ SXSW 2011
In order to cut through the noise at SXSW and generate awareness of Waggener Edstrom, we used the concept of SoLoMo to develop a free mobile application for Windows Phone 7 and iPhones called Hot Spots. Hot Spots singled out the most popular nearby parties and talks based on Foursquare check-ins. Waggener Edstrom promoted the application’s landing page with a #wedig hash tag.
Mobile Content Case Study: Grolsch Brewery – Paris, France
In order to help Grolsch build relationships with local bar-goers, WE created a Grolsch consumer community through a competition using Foursquare. Grolsch branded coasters detailing the competition were distributed to 40 participating bars in Paris, France. Bar-goers checked in via Foursquare, and the Mayor, the person with the most check-ins, received a free beer or soft drink for every Grolsch purchased for the duration of the campaign.
Within one week, Grolsch received:
Waggener Edstrom Mobile Content Capabilities
So what does Waggener Edstrom do in terms on content? The Studio D content team has many offerings including project management, writing and editing, creative, localization and distribution.
The team lives and breathes all things content, which is broadly defined to include everything from fact sheets to interactive infographics to tweets. Specifically, the Studio D content team is knowledgeable about which language, formats and platforms to use in order to reach our clients’ audience. Along with the MSN mobile site, the Studio D content team is also working on how to extend desktop experience to apps. The team recently helped redesign the Next blog for Microsoft and will be launching a mobile application for Windows platforms in the coming weeks, which will be powered by the site.
If you have a query about content or want to learn how to better engage with the team, please contact us.