The writers’ dilemma – do people read longreads and should they write them – is always burning. Is this text format relevant nowadays (when almost everyone is in a hurry)? Or maybe it is worth trying something else? Let’s figure it out together!
First, let’s define a longread. Formally, any voluminous article that contains a variety of content (text, photos, interactive material) can be called a longread. Yes, these texts are long – usually about 1,200 words/8,000 characters including spaces. But it is not the size that makes this kind of articles so valuable, but a specific approach to material. Make the text shorter than 1,200 words – it will remain a longread. Remove all the pictures – it will still be a longread. Kill the development of the topic and the author’s style, and everything will be lost. No wonder that sometimes longreads are also called “deep reads.”
Longreads consist of many kinds of content:
- text (quotes from experts or opponents, opposing views on the problem, eyewitness accounts, historical references, scientific data);
- multimedia (video, audio, photos, and images);
- chats and screenshots of discussions;
- other things that come to your mind.
Keep in mind one significant issue: the article should include only the content that serves to enhance the meaning of topic and its perception, not to entertain the reader. With this in mind, a variety of funny cat pictures without any analysis is definitely not a longread.
Such a text can hold the audience’s attention from 10 to 40 minutes – a wonderful result for the present times when the cries about a lack of reader’s concentration and focus are heard at every corner. A thoughtful text with in-depth problem analysis is your best investment in content marketing.
So, how can you craft an ideal longread to please your readers? To make the reading of your article an exciting and thrilling experience, follow the rules below:
1) The text should have an interesting beginning. For example, you can use:
- a catching quote:
“I knew I never should have trusted my best friend,” says Sarah Johnson of Lawrence, Kansas.
- a curious fact:
“Over 36% of mobile subscribers use iPhones or iPads to read email, and 34% of subscribers use mobile devices to read emails.”
- a joke:
“A family of mice was surprised by a big cat; father Mouse jumped and said, “Bow-wow!” The cat ran away. “What was that Father?” asked Baby Mouse. “Well, son, that’s why it’s important to learn a second language.”
Don’t forget that narration itself should be also dynamic.
2) The topic should be relevant to your target audience. You can make a series of publications and post them out once a day/week, thus getting the readers addicted to them.
However, if you:
– write dull texts;
– rewrite Wikipedia;
– do not have a personal opinion;
– offer irrelevant, boring topics;
– have a strange sense of humor, “not for everyone” …
… then you’d better choose another content format. The longread is not a type of article which can be written by an amateur. Clear structure, deliberate aim, and in-depth analysis of the topic are the core features of such a text requiring a refined, polished writing style. Improve your writing skills, learn from the best (we recommend reading the articles of The Guardian) and good luck!