Skip to content
How to: The golden Rules of mobile-first Storytelling
Communications – PR, Social Media, Content Tools 5 February 2019

How to: The golden Rules of mobile-first Storytelling

Google recently announced that access via smartphone or tablet has replaced requests via desktop PCs. Consequently, the step of listing mobile websites before desktop versions seems more than urgent. This also means a new impetus for storytelling. It’s time for mobile-first storytelling. Digital storytellers have to face these challenges:

It all starts with the headline

Focus in neon sign

In short: You inspire with the headline. The interest of your target group stands and falls on it – also and above all on mobile devices. It must quickly arouse attention and curiosity, create an emotional connection and trigger feelings. You need to pay attention to this in your headline:

  • Make sure that the headline triggers or stimulates the desired feeling
  • Target YOUR audience – the reader needs to know that the content is for them.
  • Clearly state the added value – the target group must know exactly what to expect.
  • Simply ask: Stimulate the curiosity of your target group, questions are an ideal way to arouse interest
  • Create a sense of urgency so that your audience is prompted to act.

Get to the point: Short, concise and emotional copywriting

One of the biggest challenges in mobile storytelling is getting to the heart of the matter and triggering emotions in the process. This is also important because the message must be easy to read on the screen. This means that the website design is optimized for this and intuitive operation is guaranteed. After all, the user should engage with the message and not with the user-unfriendly operation.

This means for your mobile website:

  • The look must be right – therefore use a maximum of 2 fonts
  • Provide the desired information quickly – Work with clear subheadingsstrong,  and unique bulleted lists
  • Avoid lengthy convolutions and use short sentences
  • Easy navigationstrong, per thumb swipe enable

And action – interactive formats for reactions

Camera flap

The headline is there, the text is short, concise and emotional. So far – so good. Nowadays, however, users want much more than just text passages. He longs for different formats, especially in mobile-first storytelling. He even wants to become active himself. Online quiz or survey formats are ideal for this. If these interaction options match your story, your audience will be happy to react and participate. Make sure that your interactive formats are also visually supported; large images and click elements are among the must-haves and are also very popular in terms of usability.

Visual storytelling: use images and graphics to say more

draw an infographic

Visual elements such as graphics or images, or visuals for short, are used to reinforce emotions. It’s simply about telling more than is already said in the headline or body text. For example, before and after comparisons are ideal for illustrating a process and making a lot of information quickly accessible. This way, your visuals achieve the effect you want:

  • Tell your personal story visuallyestrong, and show the audience that you are human and have the same challenges to overcome
  • Inspire your audience with your big vision, use bright colorsstrong, and let your visual represent movement and symbolize dynamics
  • Less is more: Sometimes  minimal, practical illustrations are enough to help clarify and reinforce your points
  • Present a current problem and show the solution

When the text doesn’t work: Short videos for the aha effect

Man holding camera in his hand

It is no longer surprising that, according to studies, Generation Y almost exclusively watches video content on their smartphone or tablet. Entertaining, emotional to informative clips are the key to attracting more attention. This is why video content is now considered a basic building block of any success-oriented marketing and PR strategy. Summaries and explanations captured in image and sound are the most common formats. It is important to pay attention to this:

  • Create a short explanatory video  for the homepage so that site visitors can find out more about you and your company.
  • Create a video with your product offer. You can also use just one product or several selected goods to indirectly encourage your target group to make a purchase
  • Use a video summarystrong, of the content so that your detailed content is briefly explained and the visitor quickly learns the necessary information

Social media: There’s no way around stories and posts


Instagram and Facebook have established themselves as valuable tools for customer acquisition, especially in the B2C sector. Whether posts or stories with visual content, brands convince their fans and followers. But the “how” is the great art of impressing the target group in mobile-first storytelling:

  • Trust the Silent Storystrong,  – no matter what content you provide, it must be able to convey the message without sound. Focus on expressive images and a meaningful, emotional sequence of visuals
  • Use Boomerangsstrong, – after the GIF- came the Boomerang hype. The popular app for short moving image clips has established itself on almost all smartphones. Use the rewind and fast-forward effect to generate interest and interaction.
  • Tell FAST allesstrong, – Boomerangs are already a good way to make the target group curious. If you rely on video content, make sure you don’t (!) tell everything. You want the interaction, so keep it mysterious and make sure the viewer is interested in the end of the story.
  • Go Livestrong, – Facebook and Instagram already offer extensive livestreaming options, use them! On the one hand, live images and comments create proximity to your target group, and on the other hand, this type of reporting also gives you direct, dynamic feedback.

Conclusion: The three golden rules of mobile-first storytelling

The smartphone has become an integral part of everyday life, so rely on mobile-first storytelling and reach your target group with these summarized tips:

  • Keep your text short, concise and emotional
  • Use images, graphics and infographics to say more than your text
  • Focus on videos and reach those who don’t want to read

Share this article