CommonSense Blog

Responsive Content Is The Future

By Romy Ranalli | Feb 25, 2013

Time has published its longest article by a single writer in the magazine’s history: a whopping 36 pages and 24,105 words.

And I’ve just read it on my iPhone.

Every. Single. Word. And so will thousands of others. In fact, before my print subscription even hit my stoop, I’d read the entire article online.

In October last year, Time broke new ground by synchronizing its content across platforms, utilizing the latest in responsive design methodology to create a seamless user experience whether you’re looking at your desktop, tablet or phone.

It’s time (excuse the pun) to change the way we, as writers and communicators, approach our work. That press release you’re working on is no longer a press release, it’s an asset: a piece of news that can be shared across the net on multiple platforms and devices.

Responsive Content Is Easy

Creating truly responsive, adaptive content isn’t hard: media outlets have been doing it for some time to ration production across platforms: the secret is “chunking.” When you submit any content, whether it is a pamphlet, brochure, white paper, speech or press release, a responsive submission requires you to break its structure down, regardless of length. In fact, as the Time article shows, length is not an obstacle with a responsive approach—check out Time.com or NYDailyNews.com to see how scrolling long pages is actually easier than linking to new pages and waiting for them to load.

How Should I Chunk Content?

  • Use headings that your readers relate to; overhauling headings can make a huge difference and help to narrate old, un-optimized content and links
  • Submit multi-purpose headlines that serve as titles, teasers and links. This saves online editors time, (which they’ll love you for). Plus, crafting them yourself gives you control over your message. You should submit:
    • Short SEO headline
    • Long SEO headline
    • Short user-friendly headline
    • Long user-friendly headline
  • Let readers know how long the article is: rather than pagination, using titles like  “Eight New Products in Development” really helps a reader follow the article
  • Include in-text subheadings; these have become essential and super search engine friendly
  • Use bullets and put your keywords at the start of the sentence to aid reading
  • Insert lots of images to break up walls of text that tire our eyes
  • Create captions for images and all multimedia—users love captions as they summarize articles and provide overview, and they help sell your story
  • Submit two variations for suggested social media posts: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Make it easy to share!

 

If you’re interested in learning more about responsive content, drop me a line, tweet me or talk to W2O’s dynamic content engagement team.

  • Rob Anderson

    You’re links to Time.com and NYDailyNews.com are mail links 🙂

    • Romy Ranalli

      Fixed!

  • Anonymous

    How does long scrolling pages with subheads and bullets equate to “responsive and adaptive content”? There’s a missing link here. When does the content adapt and respond? How is that done? How is the story different when read on a computer screen as opposed to your phone?

    It feels like you’re borrowing the phrase of the moment from the web development and design fields — where “responsive/adaptive design” means designing pages that reformat themselves (moving menus, changing numbers of columns, swapping out different images, hiding/showing content) in response to the width of the screen they’re being viewed on — without explaining how a long article will do the same.

    Please tell us how including alternate headlines, bold-leadins, and lots of images makes a story provide “a seamless user experience whether you’re at your desktop, tablet, or iPhone.” Your tips are great for anyone who’s writing long-form stories for the web. But to equate your writing tips to responsive and adaptive content appears disengenuous at best..