Mobile makeover

Communicator rewrites blog post for the small screen

Make mine to go.

Mobile makeover: Rewrite messages for the small screen

Make mine to go With more than 50% of your audience members engaging with your channels via smartphone, it’s time to make your message mobile. Image by Gustavo Spindula

More than half of your audience members now receive your emails, visit your webpages and engage with your social media channels via their mobile devices, not their laptops.

That makes it time for a mobile makeover. Here’s how Walter Doerschuk of Grabowski & Co. rewrote his message for the small screen at my most recent Write for Mobile Master Class:

Walter’s beforeWalter’s afterAnn’s comments
Your resource to starting 2018 on the right foot

Find strategies for you to cope with depression in the new year

Depression strategies for the new year

Find innovative ways to cope with a global issue from Right Direction

Headline and deck

Focus on the front. In the original, the keyword — depression — doesn’t show up until 16 words in. That makes it hard for Google (and humans!) to figure out what this story’s about.

In his after, Walter puts the keyword right where it belongs: at the front of the headline.

We all sometimes face day-to-day struggles. But sometimes, they turn serious.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

  • Loss of concentration or energy.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Little or no sleep.
  • Feeling worthless.

If so, you are not alone.

These are all symptoms of depression. It’s a global problem, affecting one out of every 10 people and costing employers $210.5 billion each year.

It’s your time to start 2018 off on the right foot.

Do you or someone you know struggle with feeling worthless? Do you experience trouble sleeping? Do you lose concentration or energy?

If so, you are not alone. Millions like you around the world face the same struggles. Depression affects one out of every 10 people, and it’s costing employers $44 billion each year.

So, how do you cope with something so debilitating?

Intro

You can see the difference at a glance. The original spends 63 words establishing the background on depression before getting to the point: Here are some strategies for coping.

In his rewrite, Walter draws readers in by focusing on their favorite subjects — themselves. Note that the list of symptoms is much more interesting when they’re my symptoms instead of just symptoms.

Then a couple of sentences of background information. I like the one in 10 stat more than the “costs employers billions” message. I’d use the latter when communicating to employers instead of individuals.

And look how much higher the point of the piece — the coping strategies — are.

Recognize your symptoms (including those listed above) and how they might appear to others here. Find these new strategies to cope, courtesy of the University of Michigan Depression Tool Kit:

  • Don’t think about perfection. Mistakes will come, but everybody makes them. Change your mindset. Recognize that issues will arise, and it will prepare you to face them.
  • Do remember why you’re there. Work may be difficult, and you may make mistakes. Turn your attention to more important reasons why you work. They may be financial security, a sense of accomplishment or being part of a team.
  • Don’t let work become a priority over recovery. Your job is a crucial part of your life, but it isn’t the only one. Take proper care of yourself outside of work including. Get enough sleep, exercise and proper nutrition.
  • Do find strategies that work for your symptoms. Is keeping focus on a big project one of your challenges? Chunk that project into smaller, more manageable jobs.
Strategies to deal with depression

Here’s your chance to get back in the right direction. Find these new strategies to tackle depression courtesy of the University of Michigan Depression Tool Kit.

  1. Don’t think about perfection. Mistakes will come, but everybody makes them. Change your mindset. Recognize that issues will arise.
  2. Do remember why you work. Turn your attention to more important reasons why you’re there such as financial security, a sense of accomplishment or belonging to a team.
  3. Don’t let work become a priority over recovery. Take proper care of yourself outside of work including. Get enough sleep, exercise and proper nutrition.
  4. Do find strategies that work for your symptoms. Is keeping focus on a big project one of your challenges? Chunk it into smaller, more manageable jobs.
Body

Look at that subhead! It grabs attention, lets people know where to look for the strategies, and even changes the way people look at your webpage.

Also, check out that link. Links, being blue and underlined, are among the most visual words on a page. For scanners, it’s the difference between learning Find these new strategies to tackle depression and learning here. (However, I’d find a way to avoid repeating so closely the message in the subhead.)

Ask yourself: Which of those links are you more likely to click on?

The bold-faced lead-ins work well in both versions. I like numbering the tips, but I would put that number in the subheads, too.

Notice that the second list is 31 words shorter than the first.

Most importantly, DO remember there is help.

  • Your coworkers, family and friends are there for advice or even just a listening ear.
  • Consult with your company’s EAP for additional resources.
  • If you have an immediate and urgent crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

For more resources, check here: University of Michigan Depression Tool Kit

How to get help

If you still struggle, there are more ways to find assistance.

  • Talk with your coworkers, family and friends for advice or even just a listening ear.
  • Consult with your company’s employee assistance program for additional resources.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) with an immediate crisis.
Next steps

Skim the original section. You get “do” out of it.

Skim the second. You get “How to get help: Talk, Consult, Call.”

I’d bold-face a bit more: Talk with your coworkers, family and friends; Consult with your company’s employee assistance program; Call the National Suicide Prevention Line.

Notice that the second list is parallel and imperative, just like Aunt Ann (and other readers) want it to be.

I like the way Walter wrapped the resource into the body of the second piece.

Are your messages ready for the small screen?

  • Get to the point faster

    Because web visitors spend 80% of their time above the fold

    Consider the numbers:

    • Web visitors spend 80% of the time above the fold, or on the first screen of a webpage, and just 20% below the fold.
    • Material near the top of a webpage gets 17x the attention of that near the bottom.
    • The average difference in how users treat information above vs. below the fold is 84%.

    Get to the point faster

    But where’s the fold? Content that shows up above the fold on a 30-inch monitor can take as many as five screens on a smartphone.

    Reach readers where their eyes are.

    So how can you reach your readers where their eyes are?

    At Writing for the Web and Mobile — our two-day hands-on web-writing master class on June 12-13 in Chicago — you’ll learn how to:

    • Pass the 1-2-3-4 test to put your message where web visitors' eyes are. Tip: Try this simple test on your smartphone for best results.
    • Make it a mullet — and 4 more steps for writing effective web heads. (No. 5 is the most important thing you can do to improve the ROI of your site.)
    • Optimize webpages for Google and humans with our three-part test. Note: If you're still using SEO tricks you learned in the 'oughts, Google may be penalizing your pages.
    • Don't drop the deck. Learn to make the most of the best-read element on your webpage.
    • Steal headline-writing tips from the BBC — the source of the best news heads on the web, according to Nielsen.

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