mobile content google android smartphoneDid you know that most content publishers haven’t prioritized mobile content delivery yet? As we near the end of the first month of 2014, one thing is absolutely certain—the world is mobile and your content must be mobile, too.

Your content strategy shouldn’t simply integrate mobile delivery as an afterthought. Mobile must be a priority if you want your content and your brand to stay relevant and ultimately, to survive.

While you don’t have to create a mobile-first strategy (yet), you do need to develop a “mobile always” strategy. Here are five reasons why “mobile always” is absolutely essential to content publishers today.

1. Mobile Audience – Who and Why

The mobile audience has grown to include, well, just about everyone. If you’re wondering if your target audience is mobile, the answer is, “Yes!” Recent improvements in data collection and audience tracking have opened up huge targeting opportunities. For example, using geo-targeting, content publishers can deliver hyper-local news to mobile audiences.

However, simply getting content to the right mobile audience is only one step in developing a “mobile always” content strategy. You also need to understand how your audience uses their mobile devices. For example, mobile audiences typically prefer short content that is easy to consume quickly. Consider the five courses of the content marketing meal (binge content, taste-test content, consumptive content, preferred content, and required content) and deliver content that satisfies mobile consumers’ appetites for content at all times of day. After all, most people have their mobile devices within arm’s reach 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year.

2. Mobile Audience – Where and How

Did you know that the amount of traffic to websites that comes from mobile devices is growing rapidly while the amount of traffic that comes from desktop computers is declining just as quickly? In fact, 2014 is the year when mobile internet traffic is expected to surpass desktop internet traffic overall. With that in mind, you need to create content that is not only easy to consume on mobile devices but also easy to find on mobile devices. Are you writing headlines that drive click-throughs via mobile devices? Remember, mobile audiences move quickly, and a headline that works well to drive traffic from desktop computer users might not work as well to drive traffic from mobile device users. In fact, it probably won’t.

Furthermore, you need to identify how people find your content. Dig into your content analytics and see if the majority of your visitors are finding your content through search engines or social media. If the answer is search engines, then you have some work to do. Mobile audiences are far more likely to find content through social media than search engines. Clicking on links that friends have shared on Facebook or Twitter is faster than conducting a Google search. There is no better time to stop chasing Google and the constantly changing search engine algorithm than now, because mobile is where the growth is. If your mobile audience’s behavior skews toward social over search today, that trend will continue in the future. Leverage it now.

3. Mobile Video

The growth of Vine is just one indicator of how important videos (including extremely short videos) are to a content publishing strategy. However, did you know that the number of people watching videos on mobile devices is growing? Did you know that most of the videos that audiences watch on their mobile devices are short videos? Give mobile audiences what they want by offering your content in bite-size videos.

4. Mobile and Digital Storytelling

The question most publishers have when they start to prioritize mobile in their content strategies is not just what type of content to publish for mobile audiences but how to keep audiences engaged with mobile content for longer periods of time. If mobile audiences move quickly and like to “snack” on content, getting them to stick around on your website for more than a minute is challenging. However, by investing in some creative thinking and innovative content development methods, you’ll be able to increase sharing and loyalty among the mobile audience.

Publishers like ProPublica are focusing on new methods of digital storytelling. Think about how you can leverage mobile for creative storytelling rather than simply republishing traditional digital content to mobile audiences. For example, we saw a lot of interactive infographics and timelines in 2013 that took the traditional infographic, slide show, and timeline concepts and amped them up to an innovative digital storytelling device. Naturally, the next step is to transform innovative digital storytelling methods into innovative mobile storytelling methods.

5. Mobile and the Cloud

Brainstorming, researching, collaborating, interviewing, writing, editing, publishing, promoting, sharing, networking—it all happens on-the-go today. The importance of the cloud in terms of storing, accessing, and sharing data, documents, and information grows every day. Your writers, designers, analysts, reporters, and everyone else who plays a role in getting your content to audiences should be mobile. Thanks to the cloud, you can make it happen in an affordable, secure, and effective way.

Image: Miki Yoshihito