The Future is Mobile: Optimizing PR Tactics for the Smartphone Era

At the recent PRSA Health Academy meeting in Washington DC, keynote speaker David Meerman Scott called the smartphone the greatest PR tool ever invented. Are you PR tactics taking full advantage?

There are 315 million people in the USA, but 322 million mobile devices. Web search is growing four times faster on mobile devices than on desktop computers; the majority of web activity is now occurring on smartphones and tablets, not desktop PCS or laptops. Consumers are spending more time on their smartphones, tablets and wearables, three hours a day versus two hours and twenty minutes a year ago. The smartphone is the primary tool for accessing the internet, social media and e-mail.

Consider this: the average iPhone is more powerful than all the computing power used in the Apollo Space Program.

Engaged mobile consumers spend twice as much as those who engaged brands only through the traditional internet. Mobile ad spending is expected to grow 75% this year to $31.5 billion. Among smartphone users, 95% use their device to search for local information. So how can we adapt our strategies with mobile in mind?

 Real-time engagement is a new mindset. It’s instant. That means you have to be more responsive than ever before—that’s a tactical problem though, not a technical one.

 Mobile used to prevent more technical challenges. The good news is it really only presents design challenges now. There are a plethora of mobile responsive, easy to use mobile web templates, particularly in WordPress. You have to build with the touchscreen interface in mind, think big fingers on smaller screens. Also think about Portrait versus Landscape orientation—people use mobile devices in a different way—it’s more about scrolling up and down than left to right exploration.

 Because many of the discount wire services have not made the mobile transformation, you might seriously consider spending the extra money to do distribution like BusinessWire or PR Newswire, which have made the investment to optimize for mobile.

Another way to look at how mobile is transforming communications is to realize it’s both real-time and very local. With the geolocator functionality your audience will know exactly where you are and you will know where they are. That’s requires adapting your strategy, to thinking locally as well as globally.

When budgeting for mobile strategy, think one third for actual site design and development, another third for building engagement and your mobile audience, and the final third—and this is the part most people overlook, should go to ongoing maintenance and support. Because mobile is “instant” it’s important to strategize about what apps match your messaging best and time of day also becomes a key consideration. There’s more in my recent presentation at Counselors Academy in Key West: