The vibe within todays newsroom feels more like a sleepy library than a clattering nerve center of days past, as editorial staffs continue to trim their in-house talent. Meanwhile, across a hall, a branded-content arms of major publications are surfacing innovative ways to tell longform, immersive stories (thanks to marketers budgets).
During a recent trip to one of these calm studios, a contact there remarked how, once maligned, a branded side of a residence is now viewed with jealousy by a editorial staff, boasting coveted resources to emanate beautiful calm as well as continue to pull a envelope of whats probable with longform text storytelling.
As such, a conversation has shifted away from whether brands have a permission to emanate longform content; now, its more about occupying a role like a Medici family of a 15th century, allocating resources to commission as well as underwrite a true assessment of a universe around us in a way which provides a deeper understanding of a lives. In place of opulent sculptures, murals, as well as paintings, however, brands can welcome a patronage model in which a aesthetic weapon of choice is a editorial lens they (and their creators) wield. The E word
Of course, editorial is still a loaded word as it pertains to marketing, particularly as its very nature implies a church/state divide between artistic/literary endeavors as well as business-building pursuits. That said, every brand would benefit to focus more on applying an overarching editorial approach to a calm they createregardless of length or format.
By this, I simply mean claiming a strong point of view as well as utilizing calm to present this POV by a lens of documenting as well as creating narratives of a universe around us. For those brands which decide to work at a time as well as resources to crafting longform text content, landing on this POV is a initial as well as most vicious step. From there, its flattering simplethere are a lot of talented journalists who have been squeezed out from traditional newsrooms as well as publications which are now looking for opportunities to ply their trade. Short attention = short content?
But people have short attention spansdo they really want longform content? Well, first, Id offer which fleeting attention spans shouldnt reflexively be fought with fleeting calm executions. And nonetheless a battle for capturing audience attention has yielded two fairly consistent as well as unsurprising strategies: 1) being present where people are actually spending their time, as well as 2) accomplishing this via a wholesale shift to shortform content, like a front-loaded videos in your newsfeeds with enough sensory goodies in a initial three seconds to stop you in your tracks.
Youre not wrong to indicate which such trends feel at odds with a brands decision to welcome longform content. But recent developments in being where a eyeballs are as well as some surprising findings about audience engagement behavior indicate which a days of brands walking this precarious tightrope of trying to be both frictionless (via native uploading)andinterruptive may give way to something elsenamely, calm which doesnt just jolt or miscarry but occasionally provides a substantive, more contemplative experience. The landscape is ready
Last week, Facebook voiced it would be opening up its Instant Articles feature to publishers everywhere, starting in April. This is a big deal. It will offer a seamless way for publishersand one has to assume brands inevitably as wellto provide immersive longform calm experiences seamlessly within peoples News Feeds.
And just as Facebook previously altered their capricious algorithm to favor natively uploaded video content, triggering a rush across brands to emanate more as well as more videos, its likely they will tinker with it nonetheless again to encourage publishers (and advertisers) to fully welcome this functionality. For Facebook, its a calculated move to keep people within their environment; for brands, it keeps their calm in front of their audiences as well as gives a opportunity for a deeper dive which a fleeting social posts of years past could rarely offer. Audiences are ready
Last year,an analysis of calm on BuzzFeedshowed which long form calm on a site gained significantly more sharing traction than short form, generating an average of 38,000 shares. Similarly,a six-month analysis of a most shared calm on The New York Times, a property nestled utterly comfortably on an opposite end of an editorial spectrum from BuzzFeed, revealed which NYT readers shared long articles on intellectually challenging topics a most. It may not be a case, then, which no one consumes longform content, but rather which much of a calm we emanate just isnt challenging a audiences enough for them to spend their time with, as well as share, it.
In other words, supply is not matching demand. With shortform executions outnumbering longform calm 16 to 1, a simple math suggests theres some earnest white space for brands to claim ownership of by building longform executions. Currently, a list of brands excelling in this medium is rather limited, cramped largely to partnerships with a aforementioned calm studios within devoted publications such as The New York Times as well as TheWall Street Journal check out WSJs Cocainenomics, underwritten by Netflix to promote Narcos, to get a sense of what's probable by permitting a high-interest topic to unspool over a broad canvas. The next step is for brands to borrow a page from Red Bull as well as become their own longform publishers.
So what do brands get in return for investing in longform content? Well, with a right media support, as well as by focusing on topics which resonate with their desired audience while also staying true to their brand story, they might just get an undivided attention. These days, that's a big win.