Mobile publishing: 4 essential survival tips

Bart De PelsmaekerThink Mobile First

by Bart De Pelsmaeker, CEO, Readz

Customer expectations have undeniably changed in today’s mobile era. Offering readers content that is easy to read and fun to explore is crucial when it comes to meeting customers’ needs. Mobile phones and tablets are rapidly becoming the platform of preference for content discovery and consumption.

According to a Pew Research study, more than 50% of American adults own either a tablet or a smartphone.  And according to IDC, smart device sales will grow 174% between 2012 and 2017.

Additionally, the Online Publishers Association reports smartphone owners aren’t just playing Angry Birds: They’re some of the most avid consumers of digital content — like news, magazines and email. To this last point, SEO expert Michael Truby thinks that mobile marketing is still all about email.

What does this mean for you?

Simply put, your customers — or prospective customers — are probably accessing your content, particularly your magazines and newsletters, on mobile devices as well. It’s time to make sure your customers have a great experience on them too.

The good news is The Telegraph (who offer an adapted tablet experience), have found readers are eight times more deeply engaged with their mobile content than they are on a desktop. Additionally, Pew Research found that about twice as many  people (about 21%) read in-depth articles on their tablet than they do other devices.

The question is: How can you increase the reach of your content with mobile customers?

Here are some tips for your magazines and newsletters:

Tip 1: Adapt the reading experience for mobile and tablets

Make sure your content is easy to navigate and read. Mobile devices are different than desktops, so it’s important that your content is designed with those differences in mind: Larger font sizes, easy-to-navigate layouts and simplicity are all important factors to consider if you want to make your content more readable.

NYTimes Mobile

The New York Times’ updated mobile version.

It’s impossible to overstate how important this is. You might think that making sure everything looks beautiful on a smartphone or a tablet isn’t the most important thing you could be spending time on, but The Economist has claimed tablets have created a “rebirth of reading.” If your content isn’t readable on a tablet or a phone, it’s worth asking where you expect people to read it.

Tip 2: Remove the barriers

If you have been involved with User Interface design, you’ve definitely come to appreciate the effort required to get your audience involved. Professionals in the arena are obsessively trying to remove the unnecessary design elements that keep your customers from reaching their intended goals. You simply want to make it easy to do business with you, and that starts with access to your content.

This is why “native” apps are likely not the best platform to use for newsletters, or any form of marketing or corporate communications content. Native apps require downloads, installation, and updates. Nobody has researched the drop-off during this process, but it’s likely considerable.

Another reason why native apps are less suitable for content is the convoluted discovery process. By definition, apps limited to specific “stores.” As those marketplaces become increasingly crowded, it gets harder and harder to get noticed by even the savviest of consumers.

Beyond that, most content apps offer what’s basically a glorified print experience. They’re difficult to use, and because they’re so bloated, their large downloads often fill up users’ hard drives and consume most of their mobile data.

Getting noticed is not going to get easier. Space Screen Shot

A good content strategy includes an adapted content for a strong mobile presence. Content marketing — and thus content production — is headed for a 46% increase so it is going to get more and more crowded. With all the effort, investment and energy going into content gathering and creation, it would be a waste not to “make the cut” and be ignored because of a lack of investment in a proper publishing platform.

Tip 3: Create a habit

You might want to consider consistently publishing content at the same time. Make updates “predictable,” and notify your audience when new content is available.

As Andrew M. Davis explains in his book Brandscaping, the concept of “appointment consumption” is the notion that your audience expects the content they’ve grown to love on a predictable schedule. It was pioneered by television, but marketeers and publishers can leverage this concept to build successful platforms of their own.

For example, social media guru Chris Brogan publishes his website on a predictable schedule, every Sunday. The result of this is  the creation of anticipation with his readers: “…something I look forward to every Sunday morning.

Tip 4: Adapt the reading experience to your email updates

You made everything accessible, but don’t forget that your email update has to adapt to smaller screens too. Your phone is the most personal device you own. It’s always with you. In fact, 40-50% of all emails are read on mobile devices, so the importance of this market can’t be overstated.

The key to mobile email marketing is readability. Some email layouts are unresponsive. On a phone or a small tablet, that can mean that fonts are unreadably small, or images are unwieldy and large.

It’s important that your content is readable, so make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and conforms to the dimensions of every possible screen size with a clean layout. Here’s an example of a non-responsive email on a phone vs a responsive one:

Non Responsive Example

Not adapted to mobile – regrettably most of the messages get lost

Responsive Example

Adapted – less text but readable

About Readz
Building a brand with unique content is hard enough, but publishing can be even harder and time-consuming. This is where Readz comes into play.

The Readz solution delivers your newsletters with optimal layouts across all devices. Because our templates adapt to any screen, your reads can navigate your newsletters on tablets and smartphones by tapping and pinching — like they’d expect to on their mobile devices.

An extended version of this post was originally published on For more information on Readz, go here.


One comment

  1. Andrew Davis (@TPLDrew)

    Great post! Thanks so much for referencing appointment consumption and connecting Brogan’s Sunday posts! You’re dead on! There are also concepts like Media Modality and Microdayparting that publishers could/should be leveraging to build deeper content brand-based relationships with their audience.
    Love it! Thanks again for referencing the book (and more importantly for reading it!)
    Have a great day!
    – Andrew

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