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Mobile First Strategy

Mobile First Strategy

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Published by Steve Buttry
This combines and organizes three blog posts I have written about mobile-first strategy for news organizations.
This combines and organizes three blog posts I have written about mobile-first strategy for news organizations.

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Published by: Steve Buttry on Dec 10, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Mobile-First Strategy
This document combines (with minor editing) three posts on mobile strategy for newsorganizations. They originally appeared on the Pursuing the Complete Community Connectionblog, Aug. 31, Nov. 20 and Dec. 9, 2009. In a comment on the Dec. 9 post, Chuck Peterssuggested a table of contents, so I have organized all three posts and the comments into a singledocument. I start with the Nov. 20 post. Substantive comments have been included, though somethat were off-point or merely agreeing with earlier comments have been omitted.I consider this to be a continuation of the Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection,  published on my blog April 27, 2009.
Steve Buttry, Gazette Communications
Table of Contents
News organizations need mobile-first strategy Page 2Comments Page 3News companies need to help local businesses pursue mobile opportunities Page 12
How news organizations need to change to pursue mobile-first strategy Page 16Journalists Page 17Design Page 21Technology Page 23Sales Page 24Marketing Page 26Other Departments Page 26Executives Page 26Staffing Page 27Examples to come Page 28Let
s get started Page 28Comments Page 29
News organizations need mobile-first strategy, by Steve Buttry Page 2
News organizations need mobile-first strategy
November 20, 2009 by Steve Buttry 
News organizations are belatedly, reluctantly and often awkwardly pursuing
 strategies. As we fight these web battles, I am increasingly coming to believe that ―webfirst‖ is what th
e military would call fighting the last war.News organizations need a mobile-first strategy.
―Web first‖ was a tremendously difficult concept for journalists and newspaper 
Publishers and editors worried about
and ―cannibalizing‖ our coreproduct. Editors and reporters thought ―web first‖ meant posting our newspaper stories
online before the press rolled (but often after the late newscast). Advertising staffsthought web strategies meant upselling print customers into annoying pop-up ads orineffective banners.We wasted energy and time fretting over whether and how to move online and thenwent about it wrong, as the world moved ever swifter to the web and got more thingsright than we did and learned more lessons than we did from mistakes.Even today, one of the primary reasons news executives cite for favoring paid content is that they want to protect the print edition.  Newspaper companies are so thoroughly rooted in print and so devoted to ink andpaper that we missed opportunities and held back as digital technology revolutionizedcommunication, leaving us behind.
We can‘t waste that much time in mastering the mobile market. We nee
d to startthinking mobile first. Now. The world is moving swiftly to smart phones 
and we can‘t
afford to be as far behind this time (i
n truth, it‘s too late to be ahead, but not too late to
pursue opportunities that can lead us to a prosperous future). We need to make mobileinnovation the top priority and the first thing we think of when we plan change in ourorganizations.(I should note that web-first meant content would be published online before in the printedition, and that the organization should start thinking first about the web, though most
didn‘t, regardless of what they were saying. When I say we must shift to a mobile
strategy, I‘m not talking about where content appears when, but about the priorities of 
the organization: what you place first in your thinking and acting.)
News organizations need mobile-first strategy, by Steve Buttry Page 3
I heard someone recently cite figures on the low (in his view) percentage of people whoactually ow
n iPhones (I won‘t cite the figure he gave because it‘s out of date and the
relevant numbers are those about growth of iPhone sales and apps). Actually, the penetration percentage is a great reason to get moving swiftly into iPhone opportunities.If we wait until nearly everyone has some sort of smart phone, someone else will befilling the roles that we can and should fill.
―Mobile first‖ ne
eds to change how we think and act throughout our organizations.Reporters, editors and visual journalists need to think first about how to package anddeliver news for mobile devices. Information technology staffs need to work first ondevelopment of mobile applications for popular devices. Sales staffs need to make it atop priority to guide business customers in using our mobile apps and platforms to reachcustomers with advertising and direct-sales opportunities. Designers need to presentcontent that is clear and easy to read on the small screen (even if this means spendingless staff resources on design of print or web products). Executives need to redirectresources and set priorities so that we pursue mobile opportunities as aggressively aswe pursue the most important news stories in our communities.We try to make one size fit all in many aspects of our business, but that will not work ina mobile-first world. We need to become the mobile news, information and commerceconnection for people with the latest iPhone, BlackBerry or Droid (and whatever comesnext), but also for people with simpler phones that handle only phone calls and textmessages and for non-phone devices such as iPods.We need to figure the best ways to deliver news and conduct commerce effectively onmobile devices: text messages, email, mobile applications, tweets, easy-to-use mobileweb sites, podcasts, location-based news and commercial information.Whatever your role in your media organization, consider how you would change yourwork, your priorities and your thinking to support a mobile-first strategy. This will eitherbe our future or our next squandered opportunity.
This blog post drew 39 comments. I have included the ones I see as most pertinent tothe continuing discussion, identifying the commenter where possible.
Xark! blogger Dan Conover 
(who’s working with Gazette Communications now as
a consultant for e-Me Ventures):

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