When revered Internet sports columnist Bill Simmons branched out from the confines of ESPN in 2011 to go out on his own (albeit ESPN-owned) with Grantland, mainstream media scoffed at his goal to prove long-form content has a place on the Internet. At the time, most media and marketing efforts were moving in the direction of shorter, visual-based content.
Today, Grantland currently brings in a relatively modest 5 million unique views a month four years later, but it may have been ahead of the curve in understanding that marketing and media are shifting from eyeballs to engagement.
Although most marketing folks have long thought that the click was an adequate measure for having a viewer's attention, research by Chartbeat last year found that 55% of viewers who click-through to content pages on Websites spend fewer than 15 seconds there.
However, the second part of that research found that if you held a visitor's attention for just three minutes, the visitor was more than twice as likely to return than if you held him or her for one minute or less.
What About Visual Content?
Infographics have become template-like and boring, but long-form content can offer a differentiated story experience that builds engagement with readers while it increases your brand's authority.
Moreover, infographics and other pieces of first-generation visual content are static. Long-form content can be enhanced and customized with rich media, such as interactive graphics and GIFs that can bring your detailed thoughts to life.
The Internet after all isn't static, and anything static or too cookie-cutter will likely die.
Seth Price is vice-president at Placester, a platform for marketing real estate online. He's a marketing strategist who helps companies tell great stories to accelerate growth. He's also a passionate content creator, marketing keynote speaker, host of the Craft of Marketing podcast, and an aspiring chef.
LinkedIn: Seth Price