If you die a little inside every time you see Facebook posts from brands along the lines of, “Like this post if you love drinking our soda!,” you’re not alone. While microblogging and shorter-status social platforms are wildly popular, recent trends point to a need among consumers for something more substantive.
“If you want to dominate in a landscape littered with stupid cute stuff, go long-form.”
Forbes.com writer Lewis Dvorkin sees a happy marriage between long- and short-form content, and digs into the role of “time-shifting apps,” like Apple’s Reading List (now native on iOS devices) ReadItLater, and InstaPaper. Essentially, the ability to easily save something for later reading—instead of having to read it when encountered—and read the same content on different devices in multiple sessions, makes long-form content more appealing to consumers.
E-readers fuel the boom
A February survey by Pew found that 21% of American adults have read an e-book in the last year, up 4% in just three months. In that same period, ownership of either tablet of e-reader nearly doubled from 10% to 19%. One of the more interesting data points from the survey was the prevalence of electronic long-form in general:
“Using a broader definition of e-content in a survey ending in December 2011, some 43% of Americans age 16 and older say they have either read an e-book in the past year or have read other long-form content such as magazines, journals, and news articles in digital format on an e-book reader, tablet computer, regular computer, or cell phone.”
There’s a huge opportunity here for brands to publish in e-reader and tablet-specific formats. Giving readers several optimized options as to how they consume your content is never a bad idea.
Several hubs for long-form writing have emerged to fill consumer demand for content in the grey area between article and book. These include sites like longreads.com, which started as a hashtag, and is now home of 1,200 curated long-form pieces submitted by readers and established publishers like The New Yorker. Virgin Atlantic sponsors Travelreads, a branded travel section of the site.