School Communications: Creating Content for Mobile

Victoria Harkes
Average  to read article
6 Minutes

As of June 2019 81% of adults own a smartphone, and in fact 1 in 5 are now “smartphone-only” internet users. This amount increases from year to year as technology changes and new options emerge. On average adults spend almost 3 hours a day on their mobile devices. As a result, creating content for mobile is more important than ever. In this post we will discuss the 6 ways you can optimize your content for mobile devices in a way that grabs the attention of your users:

  1. Visual Appeal
  2. Being Concise
  3. Being Personal
  4. Using Notifications
  5. Using News
  6. Using Video

Visual Appeal

Women on couch looking at her mobile phone

It is important that content is attractive to users. Studies have shown that 80% of mobile device users will spend time looking at pictures and videos rather than reading text. As a result, including images in your messages can help boost engagement. Content such as fundraisers and sports events can include images of those involved. Even including short clips of the events can increase your traffic.

Keep in mind that there is a huge difference in screen size between a regular desktop and a mobile device and with responsive design your content will automatically be rearranged – make sure you are checking how your content will look on mobile before publishing. It’s essential that the information is broken down in such away that makes it easier for the user to find information. Tabs can be created in an accordion menu, in which the user can click on the information that is most relevant to them.

Be Concise

Use shorthand and abbreviations

attn: shorthand and abbreviations

It’s important that you create content that is concise and gets to the point rather than having the user read a long text that isn’t saying anything more, but may result in them becoming bored and leaving your page or content altogether. One of the best ways to combat this is by creating pieces that are conversational and at times using certain slang. Contractions and shorthand can be used for notifications so that the audience has a better understanding of what the content is about and will be more motivated to view the content. For example, “attention” can be shortened to “ATTN”. This could be used for content related to alerts and news updates. Overall, the headlines need to be adapted to the size of the mobile screen. Other examples include:

  • To be announced – TBA
  • Acknowledgement – ACK
  • To be returned – TBR
  • Private message – PM

Keep in mind that not every audience member will be familiar with certain abbreviations or slang, particularly if you are sending a message in a language that the end reader isn’t a native speaker of. It’s important that the message remains clear and concise. Using too much slang may make the message confusing or the intentions of the message get lost. Using abbreviations such as LOL can be unprofessional and can make people not take the message seriously.

Being Personal

Mobile device with the words Hello on display

Rather than having excessively formal content, your audience can be better engaged when your messages are more personal and relatable. You want to create content that is relevant to the user and shared with them as if it was being presented to them in-person.

Be original! While you can create content that has already been done before, add a unique spin to the subject. It’s important that you put the school’s personality into everything that gets produced. By doing so, you’ll increase your readers engagement and loyalty to your channels.

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Using Notifications

The wording of notifications is key. The viewer must be able to indicate what the article or post is about in the first 10 words. Consider the title of the notification. For example, when there is a bus cancellation, you wouldn’t want the title in the notification to be “Weather Update”, you want to use titles such as “Bus delay/cancellation”, so that the reader will be more enticed to click on and read it. This also ensures that if the notification isn’t open, the most important information is still being conveyed. The benefits of mobile push notifications include:

  • Stimulating user engagement
  • Increasing conversation among users
  • Improving adoption
  • Reaching a wider audience
  • Providing the information your audience is looking for, WHERE they are looking for it
  • Meeting the expectations of today’s audience

Notifications should be informative, presenting information such as updates, reminders, events and alerts.

Using News

VSB News on mobile device

Any form of news would automatically be formatted for you with SchoolBundle’s single-source publishing. You should always try to include images to keep the audience engaged, and a meta description which summarizes the content of the page in about 120 characters. The meta description allows the audience to get a good understanding of what the content is about before clicking on the article and is used by Google to better understand the purpose of your post. The meta description not only will serve as the function of an advertising copy, it also uses keywords that will improve the click-through rate for the site.

News articles should not only inform, but also captivate the reader. Parents and guardians want to know what’s going. By posting news articles, it will help people to be more involved.

Articles can include:

Upcoming events occurring at school

  • Parent Information Night
  • PA Days

Updates on programs

Recaps of things occurring at school or district

  • Projects
  • Sports
  • Fundraisers

Weather updates with regards to transportation

Using Video

Video on mobile device

Video is a powerful tool for showcasing content. It can serve as a way to connect with your users. According to Cisco, 80% of all internet traffic is attributed to video content.

Recall the last time you were scrolling through Facebook and you happened to see video without clicking on it. It was likely muted and there were subtitles. Chances are you watched at least three seconds of the video before continuing on scrolling through your news feed. So remember, any video content that gets uploaded, must be understandable without audio. There is a three second window to capture the attention of the viewers and all video should include captions.

Optimize the video for conversations

  • Add links at the end of video to that leads to the school’s web page, parent portal, app
  • Understand when the best time to publish content is
  • Be creative by making your video interactive for the user
  • Keep it simple and short

Enable the comment section of the video

  • Engage with your audience and respond to comments and concerns

Final Thoughts

By creating mobile content, not only does it give you the unique opportunity to inform the viewers of updates both in the school and the school district, but it also allows for better engagement. The visual appeal of content is very important and including images can make reading the text more enjoyable and appealing.

You want to be concise with your content. Especially on a mobile device, the screens are smaller than a regular desktop. As a result, the text should be kept short and easy to read. Given that mobile devices are often used for communicating and personal use, the content should be presented in a more personal manner.

Notifications should be no more than 10 words long, so that the viewer is able to decipher what the information is about before clicking and reading. News articles should contain relevant information pertaining to the school or district.

People tend to be more engaged through video. Creating and sharing videos likely will increase the level of engagement. The content for mobile devices can be a real game changer. By assessing your audience and understanding what they want you can help drive new ideas for content.

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