With new devices come new ways in which people interact with and consume information. On a smart phone, professionals are likely to exchange emails, text message with colleagues and use applications. On a laptop, they’re likely to conduct research and write reports. When professionals use a tablet they want to watch, learn, read and consume as much content as they can when they’re on the go. With this in mind, how can content marketers appeal to a growing constituent of professionals who look to their tablet for quality content?

The Opportunity for B2B Marketers
An article posted by ContentMarketingInstitute.com explains why “tablets are the new best content marketing device.” “The three predominant text-based and work related usage areas for tablets are Web browsing, news consumption and reading… ‘Reading’ has also quickly become something tablet users would rather do on their tablet than any other place. That ultimately has big implications for business-to-business content marketers.” If content is a vital component of any B2B marketing plan, the way that content is deployed is equally important. According to a Google and Forbes insights study from late 2010, 63% of executives most frequently use devices they can take on the go and 66% of users prefer reading on a tablet rather than a PC. According to Emarketer.com, in June 2011 Compete and Google found that already 21% of U.S. B2B C-level executives used a media tablet to research business purchases, and the number is growing.

What does this trend toward tablets mean for your content marketing strategy?

Understanding Content Consumption
To ensure your content is tablet ready, it’s important to understand why people consume content on this platform in the first place. CMI.com writes, “…tablets rapidly are becoming the preferred way business people read, watch and listen… that is an important change in end user behavior.” This is key, because it points to the tablet being used as a research device – not as a tool for productivity or social interaction. This means that tablet users are open to long-form content. They want to deep dive into a particular topic, so you can ignore the usual advice to keep web content short. It’s okay to go into detail, so don’t skimp on the information – as long as it is communicated in a compelling way, of course.

The Power of (Re)Purposing
From a tactical standpoint, the best deployment strategy is to repurpose existing content to be compatible with these devices. Turning whitepaper content into infographics to provide a more visual experience, or revamping a research report into a video or podcast series that can be downloaded to a tablet (or smartphone) can be effective and engaging for users on the go. Popular mobile content formats include podcasts, videos, webinars, blog posts, whitepapers, articles, apps, and mobile-optimized websites.

Key Considerations for Creating an Ideal Tablet Experience
Whether you decide to dip your toe or dive right into the tablet-optimization waters, when it comes to content, there are three main areas of focus.

Gestural Navigation
The Harvard Business Review, for example, has an iPad app that is simple in style but easily navigable and highly accessible. HBR optimized the layout and functionality of its existing whitepapers to enhance usability by using touch gestures such as finger swipes to turn pages. HBR publishers say of the app, “The iPad app combines our content with interactive graphics, with video, and with social media…the ideas resonate with the readers better.” Having an app is certainly not mandatory, but we like how HBR has repurposed its existing content to be optimized for gestural navigation, creating a unique and engaging consumption experience on the tablet.

Cater to Customization
Tablet applications like Flipboard act as personalized content aggregators, allowing users “build” their own publications, as well as design their own templates. The publishers at Flipboard put thought into every element of the interface: “Through semantic analysis, the taxonomy of an article is broken down into essential components including headline, images, byline, captions, and pull quotes. The content is then reflowed into an HTML5 template for short- and long-form articles and image galleries, in both portrait and landscape orientations.” Applications like Flipboard are also a great opportunity for marketers to have their content seen by the right audiences; audiences can be targeted according to their interest categories.

The Visual Experience
The iPad also has brilliant resolution. This gives companies an opportunity to bring graphics to life and present information in new ways that are visually engaging. A brand can be brought to life visually on a tablet in a way it can’t through other platforms. Brands that may have a subdued visual presence on other devices have a chance to highlight visual elements on a tablet. For example, Deloitte has a highly visual interactive tablet interface, allowing users to scroll through various issues and content categories relating to innovation, sustainability, finances, etc. in a visually engaging format. By presenting content on this platform, Deloitte has created an entirely unique and engaging brand experience for customers and prospects.

The bottom line? Executives and professionals on the go want their device to empower and educate them. They want information at their rapidly swiping fingertips, whenever and wherever they please. On the tablet, it’s not a about social interaction or productivity. It’s about content. And that content needs to be easily accessible and visually engaging. Catering to these content consumption requirements will create the best brand experience for your target audiences.

This post was originally posted on BrandEd, a B2B branding and marketing blog from DeSantis Breindel.

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