When the American Press Institute posted a summary of their most recent Thought Leader Summit regarding mobile media and news, it was as though they were posting a guide to best practices for any business. After all, the business of journalism is a retail business, and their goals are similar to the goals of any business. Here is a list – their key points – and relevant quotes and comments about their observations.

1. “A mobile-first organization has editorial, technology and business teams working together in new ways.” They noted the practice of “an integrated small-team approach, where content development, technology and sales work as a team, not separate divisions.” This is simply good, contemporary management. The Harvard Business Review seems to have an article about integrated, multi-discipline teams and nimble, quick responses in every issue. Such approaches are completely appropriate for any company – whether retail or B2B.

2. “Mobile news presentation should be different from web or print. Stories for mobile are ‘more scannable, more summarized information, [with] paragraphs limited in length … the Boston Globe’s Damon Kiesow pointed out … ‘to reach new, larger audiences, you need to make the content an ideal mobile experience … think of the format as similar to Cliffs Notes or the president’s daily briefing.’’ This is simply an extension of text book design and the fierce reductionism of excellent advertising. Classic text books like Don’t Make Me Think and Juicing the Orange have simply become more important when applied to mobile interactive devices.

3. “Mobile and social media are intricately linked. Using social media to connect with other people is the most popular purpose of smartphone app usage other than gaming … According to Nielsen data, U.S. smartphone users spend about 14 times more minutes using social media apps like Facebook than they do using news apps. Facebook mobile users spend more than 15 hours (914 minutes) a month on mobile usage … It’s difficult to overstate the implications….” This section tends to blend medium with channel. “Social media” is not one thing. Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube are different channels that, while similar, may require fundamentally different strategies.

4. “Mobile apps and mobile websites are for quite different audiences. Mobile web goals = easy, simple, sticky. The primary goal of a good mobile news [or marketing] website is to give the mobile visitor a seamless path to the information they have come for.” This is true for for ALL websites. What is the client looking for? Is the information there? One click away? Two? This also reinforces the value for some companies to have their own app, as once they purchase, re-purchase would be more simple through the company app.

5. “What it really means to ‘engage’ a mobile user.” The information on this page is far too dense with wisdom to summarize. Engagement means so much more than hooking up through social media. It means customer relationships – something that takes time and personal contact.

6. “What you don’t know about the ‘second screen’ and ‘utility’ behaviors of mobile users. Whether busy or bored, the smartphone helps a user take control over how their time is spent.” To journalists, smartphones are the “second screen,” coming either after or before the interaction with the website, TV/radio station, and/or the newspaper or magazine. For those of us in marketing, there is no “second screen.” Following the ancient dictate “never use marketing to send a prospect to more marketing,” this means the phone will increasingly be the first platform of choice for busy buyers.

7. “Advertisers buy audiences, not publications or platforms, and data is the key.” YOU are the product in the journalism news business. This has always been true, and now, precise data metrics mean precise targeting for retail and B2B.

8. “Mobile advertising needs more creative thinking. Well … creativity isn’t a size (“add one tablespoon of creativity; two spoons if you want to be edgy”). What the authors mean is that their industry needs to rethink “conventional” advertising in order to monitize mobile media. Their example: KING-TV in Seattle “worked with the area’s top car wash business to trigger a push notification about getting a wash when the forecast called for it to be dry for the next four days.” I hope there was a coupon and that they measured the results. (See my series on monitizing journalism in this blog.)

9. “How to hire or promote for mobile jobs.” They point out that you “likely won’t win a bidding war for the obvious mobile talent.” So, they recommend, “hire good thinkers.”

“Good thinkers.” Perhaps we’ll make that our tag line! Au Revoir.

Craig Sinard
Sinard Marketing
VR-MAX Experiential