A long story, read to the end. What's new, I learned about Longridah for the year working with them

If you are typing fast enough and can come up with a lot of catchy headlines, it's time for you to write longreads. Joke. By the way, is it correct - longrids or longright?

Longrides - they are not about the number of signage and not about selling formulas of the text. Not about how to choose the right pictures for the material. And not about the number of views, of course. And not even about how to explore the needs of Central Asia and get the text in them. This is the most ambitious, challenging author content format. And he is not at all what is swarming in the heads of current authors.

This is the best format for long-term content investment.

Formally, any voluminous material that is well laid out and filled with a variety of content (text, photos, interactive content) - this is the longrid. Yes, it is long - they believe that from 1200 words or eight thousand characters. But it is not so much the size and not the fancy layout that makes it so valuable, but a certain approach to working on the material. Make the text less than 1200 words - it will remain a longride. Remove the layout - it will remain a longride. Kill the depth of development of the topic and the author's presentation - everything is gone. Not for nothing in the English tradition of longrid is also called deep read.

Such a text is capable of holding the attention of the audience from 10 to 40 minutes - and this is at a time when cries of lack of concentration and attention from the reader are heard from all sides. In this case, it does not matter if we are talking about Longrid in the context of journalism or in the context of content marketing.

Journalists wrote long materials long before the Internet appeared. Explanatory journalism, investigative journalism, essays and all journalistic genres that were at the junction of an artistic form and an impartial fact are also longrid, only in paper. The Internet has appeared a long time ago, but there were no technical capabilities in the 2000th web to broadcast content with a lot of words. In the era of rudimentary HTML, the content looked like this: a blue background with twinkling asterisks, light green headlines and, of course, a pink Comic Sans font. What kind of reading could there be? No one would have thought to write 1,200 words. People took a stack of paper and printed out books found on the Internet to read them.

And then HTML 5 appeared. The transfer of the genre to the digital environment and its adaptation to marketing needs began. In the time span from the appearance of HTML 5 to 2016, there are two important points. The first is the legendary Snow Fall. In 2012, The New York Times team published a multimedia material about skiers and snowboarders caught in a snow trap. Although over the past four years materials have become much more impressive, "Snowfall" became the first, so it will remain a beacon, and in 2025 they will be told about it to media students, as they once told about Marshall McLuhan's concepts.

The second point is "Why I bought a house in Detroit for $ 500." In 2014, the guys at BuzzFeed published the story of a man who took a chance and bought a house at an auction of dubious real estate in a city where a white guy on the street looks more than strange. The story gained 1 million 775 thousand 125 views by December 2016. The number of readings continues to grow so far - the text lives on.

There are 18 thousand characters in "Snowfall", 35 thousand in the "House in Detroit", and more than half of the users who read the "House in Detroit" did it from a mobile device.

These are very, very important points. The first - “Snowfall” - should always remind us that the creation of successful content occurs at the intersection of journalism, read “serious work with fact, form and author's opinion”, and a design that knows exactly how we use these sheets of text. Only layout and multimedia content will not make a bad long text a good longride. The second point - “House in Detroit” - says that even guys who love one-time basfid content are ready to read long texts. People have a taste for stories, and the money companies spend on content can and should be a long-term investment, rather than pocket expenses.

What content was the money invested in before? Selling letters, seo, "megapolezny-leave-on-wall" content for social networks, landing pages. All this is either dead or dying. Longreads are viable.

Longrides will not die, because they cannot be constructed at the expense of the simplest forms of influence, as is the case with landings. They can not overeat nausea, as selling texts, built on a limited set of techniques. No magic: just the authors again began to seriously work on the content.

Design will not die tomorrow, journalism will not die tomorrow. The desire to empathize with someone else's story, too, will not die tomorrow. These are the things on which Longrid stands, which means it is the best genre for long-term content investments.

See also: Which is better: longreads or short articles? Case "Texterra"

They really read to the end. Even from the phone

The story about a house in Detroit for me is also an argument in favor of the fact that mobile users prefer long texts to short ones. The long articles, which in 2006–2008, opposing themselves to everyone, were published by old-school bloggers Leo Babauta and Steve Pavlin, now become the benchmark for quality content. People are no longer shocked by the offer to read from the screen of the phone.

Reading from a computer and reading from a phone lasts for us in different ways. The first stretches, the second flies by. The time spent with the phone in hand, it is either free time or a minute of forced waiting. Our internal censor rests, and we are not demanding on the quality of such time, do not care about being filled with something important. We do not even think, we will have time to finish reading to the end or not. On the phone screen, the lines are shorter, the eyes make less unnecessary movements, the scroll bar does not enter into a stupor - we do not see it all the time. Opening the text, we know that it is long, but we do not know how much, and slowly we begin to read. Once I read half of the text about Osho while swimming in the bathroom, and I haven’t read the other half yet. The 30 thousand characters I scrolled from the phone were much shorter and more interesting than the 30 thousand characters I opened from the laptop. Paradox? No, just different reader patterns. As long as the internal censor is floating in the bathroom, and the battery is not yet discharged, everything seems more interesting.

Reading the material to the end is not a matter of size, but of content. And, of course, the form in which this content is placed. Working through the structure of the text and improving the layout increases the percentage of reading.

There are only three principles:

  • think about the readers (work out the meaning);
  • think about appraisers (work through the structure and headings);
  • think about cross-readers (work out the layout);

Readers are people who do the following with your text: they see the title, open the text, read the first word, read the second word, read the third word. If the text is delayed, they finish reading to the end. Appraisers are sophisticated guys who first look through all the headlines and subheadings to determine what new material and value your material has, and only then decide whether to read or not. They never swim in the bathroom, so do not try to buy them with catchy headlines. Cross-readers are people who glance at a page, grabbing pieces of text, and read only what interests them. Unlike appraisers who compare material with everything they read before, cross-readers act impulsively. They have a small window of attention, and if something curious has not penetrated it, they will go further. Interactive and layout work on such. If you work on material on all three levels, everyone will become a reader.

Niasilil? And not required

Longrid is a good choice in the age of fast content and goodies, because the audience has an appetite for long stories against the background of information overload with meaningless short texts.

It’s a big mistake to say that the longrids don’t work because your audience doesn’t read long texts. There will always be people who "mnogabukaf, niasilil." They will, as will the people, "Karl" and people, "in general." This does not reflect objective reality.

If they are “niasilil”, and the statistics have confirmed this, then everything depends on how you look at things. Is this a reason to stop publishing full-length content or a reason to figure out why the reader did not read it? Perhaps that person is not a very targeted reader. Perhaps the text is a boring sheet. Perhaps the author has provided the topic or layout does not cope with its supporting role. Any mediator there will open your eyes to many things.

Yes, there are those who do not read long texts. 35% or less is an excellent result. But this does not mean that longrid has not fulfilled its role. Even people who have not read the text share it in social networks, save it in bookmarks, remember this text and judge you in connection with this text: "Oh, yes, this company knows a lot about statistics, since it writes such great texts about it!".

"I did not read, but I approve" - ​​Longrida are associated with value, benefit and quality.

See also: 9 reasons why the video will never reach the text

This is the best page of all existing.

Longreads work better than all other texts that companies are trying to produce about themselves.

For years now we have been landing on landing pages - it seems that they don’t have an alternative working on conversion. But another year or two, and the concept of Power Page - the page, which, in essence, is a longrid, designed to turn the reader into a buyer, without selling anything directly, will come to us. Dream: you are not trying to sell, but you still buy. (You do not pretend that you are not trying, but you are not trying).

The whole point of Power Page is that it is the most powerful material of all that can be found on the Internet on your topic. Longrid, who has no equal in the entire Internet, may be the most voluminous and comprehensive, the only one on this topic in general, the only one that gathers the opinions of all industry experts, the only one that gives so many examples from practice or the only one that expresses an unpopular position on popular topic.

In the Russian-speaking space, the people who are engaged in the creation of such conversion longrids are few. And so people who have genuine statistics, the day with the fire can not be found. Elena Asanova, the founder of the Tellastory.ru agency, is such a rare person. This is what Lena says about how Longrid works for business.

“Longrid is a one-time touch, but very powerful and with a prolonged effect. This effect is created by two things: history and viral potential. Stories rarely leave the reader indifferent, and in the case of business they also create the effect of“ talking ”with a potential client. They are willing to share - the viral potential is based on a catchy story [more on this later.] For example, Longrid about the Russian designer from Dubai in Russian rewrote more than 800 times, and in English - more than 450 times with no promotion at all. This November 2015, it still “pops up” in the form of links in different parts of the network, joins the fans of the Katya Kovtunovich brand and generates orders. ”

So, longrid does not try to sell, therefore it causes trust. It captures the reader’s attention on an instinctive level. He has a high viral potential. He works for a long time - a year or more. And while the landings destroy the remnants of trust, and the Internet is expanding with the texts "how to increase conversion by 0.00001%", trees are rustling somewhere near.

It's easier for them to break into people

Content promotion is important and requires separate work. But one type of content will continue to roll on its skis, and promoting the second one is like pushing a square core. Here and Lena Asanova from Tellastory confirms: Longrides have high viral potential.

The reasons why so longrid are so easy to climb are few. One of them is related to the fact that longrid requires skill, and the story, and even masterfully written, is doomed to success in social networks. Another reason is the amount of text. Not always read it at one time, but "not read, but approve" will force to share it or save the link on Facebook, to return to the text later.

Another reason is the general background. Longrid make up the contrast to my favorite "12 secrets of success of texts for social networks", "13 secrets of success of texts for social networks" and other formula copywriter voidness. Do you want a real secret of success? Share anything on any topic, and accompanied by write: "Carefully, long text."

Longer forms of content make trust easier. Do you remember that the time spent on the page is the new currency of search engines trust? Longreads work like nothing else on search engine promotion. The more time users spend on the page, the stronger the search engine’s view of you as the most relevant source of information on this topic. Instead of winning the reader’s attention 10 times to read text-and-a-half minutes, it’s better to captivate it once with text for 15 minutes or more. More time on the site - more confidence.

See also: What is quality content in terms of search engines

Such content can write units

It all looks great, but there is one little snag. Few people possess sufficient skills to write longreads. If you have threatened to write longrids, it is not enough just to take and make, using the old methods, a plain text, but three times longer.

In journalism, there is a funny term. Removal of primary incompetence. Strictly speaking, a journalist has no obligation to work only with those topics in which he thoroughly understands, and there is no obligation to thoroughly understand each topic for which he undertakes. But the primary research that introduces him to the basics is necessary. At least in order to, when leaving for an interview with the creator of space satellites, not to ask questions in the style “And on what kilometer in space does gravity end?”. So here. If you write a longrid, you have such a duty - to understand thoroughly.

And now I want to talk about how the work on the topic and text looks like and how long it takes. I'm sure this information will add something to your understanding of long forms of content. Here are my numbers. I appreciate the net working time, without tea and chatter in social networks.

I spent 28 hours writing and 6 hours editing for the text “Why copywriters need to stop listening to marketers and go to study writing skills”. The main idea changed three times, the structure was altered twice, and in the end I deleted and rewrote the entire text.

I spent about 30 hours on the text “It's time to grow. Teenage diseases of Russian blogging”. How it was distributed, I did not write down, but something else is important here: the text was created from notes and observations that I collected every day for three months.

The text you are reading now, I started writing it back in July. Three approaches to the topic, each 4-5 days long, and by mid-December I had only 11 pages of raw text and 11 pages of records and plans. The fourth, last approach to the text is 16 hours of work.

30% of the time from my statistics can be attributed to personal characteristics, but this does not change the overall picture. Why am I doing this? And besides, such content is something more than bloggers and copywriters can guess, slapping 2 texts a day. Longrid requires a serious immersion of the author in the subject, but few in his age of copywriting. Oh times, darling, about morals!

Copywriting headlines depreciate longrid

Hundreds of normal authors are spoiled by journalism: all these six questions for the lead, inverted pyramids, what-where-when in the headlines, etc. Thousands are spoiled by copywriting: all these "how to make it so that", "ten tips to a novice author", "seven mistakes that will kill your style" and so on.

No one likes deceived expectations. Longrida is read by an audience accustomed to read a lot. They see more headlines in a week than I write in a year. They remember the quality of reading waiting for them after a particular headline. Their mistrust of copywriting voidness is overwhelmingly high. When the reader moves along longride, he already knows that the path is far away, and if you shine yellow headlines in his eyes, it is likely that he will leave you on the side of the road along with all your banners.

Longrid is not a war for clicks, and most copywriting techniques for headlines are concentrated on getting clicks. "They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started playing ..." - remember this textbook example? Remember - and forget. For longrids, there is nothing worse than punches and puns. Think a typo? No, I really believe that this is all for fools. And, if you want to remember the mammoths, remember this from Ogilvy: "The reader is not a fool. He is your wife."

Longrid was created to immerse the reader in the topic with his head, to give him empathy for the unfolding story, to show those aspects of the problem that he had never suspected before. Tricksters who help to quickly design anything that the reader will open will not allow to write longrid. Even if you really, really try.

You need a really big story

Longrid is not a long text, it is a big story.

Not every topic will be able to unleash in Longrid. But how to understand which is possible and which is not worth trying? Call it a sign of a great story. If you have something that can be called a great story, this can be a longrid. Not too specific, but not the multiplication table either.

Under a big story, there may be a hot topic, a super trend topic, the most unpopular or painful topic in your industry. Reconstructions of events, portraits and personal stories, reports - these are the three most common genre branches of longrid, as journalism knows it. This can be relied on in content marketing.

Another option - a few small stories, meaningful in the context of one topic. See how Ellen Barry, the Pulitzer Prize winner, is doing in her Longride about the forgotten Russia on the NY-Times. Oh, forgotten Russia! It could be a philosophical treatise based on chewing on personal opinions, which are published on Snob, but this is quite another: living stories that should not be chewed. Yes, I am again about journalism, but agree that it is better to be equal to those who work with quality material.

I confess, I believe that the master of his craft in almost every topic will be able to find a great story that he will spin into a stunning longrid - he just knows which way to turn. But this is a dangerous moment - it is likely that everyone will think that he too will succeed. But it will not work - see paragraph 6.

See also: What is transparent blogging and how to use it

Longrid is about the ability to be concise

"I've been typing for so long, the whole longrid has turned out." Here's a phrase for you to calculate archetypical blondes on Facebook. The blonde does not need to know what is longrid. And so it is clear that a long text. Another thing is not clear - why is he not longwright then?

Longrid is not a long text. In the list of genre-forming signs of longrid, the volume is secondary. This text is so long not because the author does not know how to express himself briefly, but because the meanings referred to on the page cannot be even shorter. What the author did for you - extremely short. Longrid is a long reading not because of the volume, but because of the depth of development of the topic.

"Extremely short in 30 thousand characters?!?!". Yes, exactly, if this is the text of a skilled author. Because in the hands of the incompetent, these exhaustive 30 thousand signs would stretch to the empty 60 thousand. This, of course, would no longer be a longrid.

What does this mean for the practice of the writer? Approximately the fact that Roy Peter Clark, an evangelist, by the way, of large-scale journalism and explanatory journalism, carefully arranged in his “50 writing techniques”. For example:

  • no adverbs;
  • no excess of adjectives;
  • there is no attribution of dialogue (it is possible to ask with irritation and resent in surprise in another place);
  • choose the most powerful of the three different epithets - or find another one;
  • from the two powerful metaphors we choose the best - or we throw out both.

And also:

  • we remove a paragraph, if it does not make anything in the sense, but only serves as expressiveness;
  • we remove the pieces to which the author is attached most of all, because here there is exactly a story about the ego, and not about the value of the text.

These are obvious things. Another thing is not obvious: writing is hard, editing is three times harder. In the longrid there was no letter from the sheet: I sat down, picked up the text, read it twice, corrected the mistakes - and on the layout. Work on text Longrid is built differently. Scrupulous editing, reformulating the topic and rewriting in several circles is a common thing.

Think multi-continent

When a terrific topic occurred to you and you imagine that you are writing the text, what picture is in your head? I, like most of the authors, until some time had this: an open document in Google Docs, which I fill with letters. Now I am training to imagine what the finished material will look like on a page with an endless scroll down.

When you prepare the outline of the text, what do you write down? Most write only their thoughts on the topic. But it would be necessary to write down materials that need to be read, places to look for, people who could be asked, questions that are important to explore, and stories that will be an excellent illustration of your opinion. It is at such moments that the depth of study of the topic is set. In one case, the text will be flat, in the other - multidimensional.

Most often, the content is worked like this. The author writes a bare text, based on what is in his head, and the ready text is covered with videos and pictures, spread out using dies, decorated with quotations, etc. The difference between Longrid is that it is already conceived multimedia. Each element completes the meaning and perception of history. Unlike the traditional approach, when pictures are anchors for stupid people who do not like to read, and a convenient thing for designers trying to structure monolithic text, multimedia content in Longrid is not an illustration of the text, but a full-fledged part of a large and important material, often created for him. You remove this photo or put another - and the sense will collapse, and the perception will break. The blizzard on the cover of Snowfall is not just a picture that is relevant to the topic.

But such a solid approach can only afford big media. And what about the rest? Work. To operate with the available means, fanatically work through the content part and try to make a material in which there is not a single unnecessary element. Not that longrid is bad, in which there is not enough multimedia content, but one in which there is an excess of multimedia, but there is no content.

Longrid can consist of any content:

  • text: quotations of experts or opponents, opposing views on the problem, eyewitness accounts, historical references, scientific data;
  • video, audio, photos and images;
  • chat rooms and screenshots of discussions;
  • infographics;
  • terrain maps;
  • everything that comes into your head.

One clarification: there should be only the content that serves to enhance the meaning and perception, and not entertain the reader. Splitting on the pictures is not a longrid.

It is important to clearly separate the reading from the interactive content.

Longrid is about meaning, and layout has a fundamental effect on how many people interpret the text to the end. There is a paradox here that we use distracting content to support reading.

Indeed it is. The inclusion of video and other elements is a powerful distraction. Each element added to the longrid, although it adds an additional meaning, but reduces the concentration of attention of the reader. That is why it is important to collect advanced analytics and keep track of which layout element drowns the most readers. After all, if you are set up to maintain long-term interest in Longride, you need to remove the blessed anchors from the text in time and increase the percentage of the scroll board.

If you look at the longrids of those who are equal, you can see two principles. The first is that the number of elements is minimal, but sufficient. The second is that the reading and interactive content are clearly separated. For example, The Guardian makes it very simple: the entire text is in the central column, and the video, quotes, and other pieces are on the edges of the reading column.

The beginning is all

Traditional Victorian summer houses were full of flies to the top ...

On June 22, 2015, a retired Swiss banker aged 44 was walking through the streets of an island town ...

Three years before the UK holds a referendum on secession from the EU ...

In the slums of a city located in a hilly part of Peru, people are dying ...

It was 1994, and half of the people who were there could hardly be called adults ...

After one small volcano hails from a country where they believe in forest trolls, paralyzed a flight for several weeks, there was nothing to surprise the Europeans ...

These are the first lines of delicious longrides. They all promise a long, exciting reading of valuable material. All of them contain a story - by the way, the presence of a story is considered to be the genre-forming sign of a longrid. It is this type of principle that is ideal for longrids, and it is this type that the NY-Times and Guardian chooses for its large materials. For example, in the examples above, there are such story markers:

  • a reference to the past: years or whole historical epochs;
  • sending to people;
  • sending to events;
  • a reference to the drama;

There is also a marker guaranteeing failure, let's call it a dissertation marker. This is something generalizing and smearing, in the spirit of "In an increasing number of domestic Internet publications, both print and online ...".

Free advice: the very reading of the headings and the first paragraphs of the longrid section on the Guardian will help you write better.

See also: 7 ways to write a killer introductory paragraph

Be authentic. Authentic. True to yourself. Turn off the guru radio in your head

After all, as is customary in our country, we have scribbled it up on Google trends, scrubbed it on WordPress, and choose a topic that the audience is more likely to like. And how I chose - climb on the window, yes broadcast from there, you are our freshly baked expert.

Tim Urban, the author of the waitbutwhy.com blog, suggests looking at everything differently. Personally, I believe him, because this approach has earned his longrid blog a multi-million monthly audience. Firstly, he does not try to guess what his audience will like, but relies on the maximum authenticity and loyalty of his personality. Secondly, he is not trying to pretend to be an expert. According to him, it looks like if he spent 40 hours exploring why generation Y is so miserable, and then, having lunch with friends, he said: "So, I read something here, and I have a version ... ".

The most significant criterion for the reader is interest. We show no interest in people who look down on us. We do not always pay attention to the most-most experts, but we will definitely be interested in the story of a nice guy who reads and thinks a lot. If you are not an expert, do not worry about being like him. If you are an expert, stick your arrogance into the back pocket.

Write only what you want to write

Either that, or the best friend of many professional writers will visit you. His name is professional burnout.

Do not trust people (except Kerouac) who print texts.

Do not double believe people (except Kerouac) who print long texts.

Triple do not believe people who say that all this is easy, and you can print about anything.

This is a lie. To write is not to run across the field with a fluffy dandelion in your hand. This is hard, and it requires enormous personal resources and serious inner work.

My lyrical digression makes sense in talking about longrids, because content marketing is a long-distance run. You make efforts to get results not every other day and not after a month, but these efforts, if you don’t replace them by jogging across the field with a fluffy dandelion, in six months or a year will begin to bring you dividends constantly throughout the year and longer. Since the dividends from long-term investments in Longrid are so tangible, the strategic task is to make oneself, or a company, or other authors, able to run this many months distance, creating long forms of content. I can hardly master even three longrids in a subject where there is no my interest. It seems to me, other authors are not very different in this from me.

What you want to write is not at all just what you understand. This is what you will be happy to write about, what you will be interested in figuring out, what you believe in, what you know from bitter personal experience, and what you oppose. Anything that causes internal excitement is good.

Tim Urban says about the other side: if you write something several thousand words long, you should be damned agitated by this topic in order to carry your interest in the reader through the entire text to the last sentence. Boredom is felt. Feels and false. Therefore, Tim Removed wrote for Ilona Mask, and you do not.

See also: Creating text from "A" to "Z": how to write, optimize and impose an article

Decide what the purpose of your content is.

It's not about what you want to tell the reader, but about the terms on which you provide the content. Will you make access free or ask the user to do something: leave mail, subscribe to blog updates, share text on social networks, go into correspondence? Based on this, decide in advance where and how all the pop-up windows, subscription forms and buttons will be located.

Need to decide in advance. If you have thought through all these questions before starting to work on the text, you can write and design the material so that it is a single whole with all the elements like subscription forms. In this case, all the pop-up windows, buttons and fields needed to perform the target actions will find a better place for themselves and will not annoy the reader, forcing him to close the entire tab. This is not a landing page, it should not be placed on the reader with the button "Get the next paragraph right now !!!" around every corner. Trusting an audience that reads a lot and constantly compares is more important than three extra transactions.

Edit even after posting.

This is not about typographical errors and missing commas, but about the meaning and value of the text.

An unexpected thought for bloggers and commercial authors, but improving the material after you published it, you get a lot of advantages.

First, people who have read Longrid may comment, some of which will be so valuable that it is simply wasteful not to contact these people and not ask for their expert opinion or assessment to be included in the text.

Secondly, Longrid works for a long time, and by improving actual, working material, you increase the number of dividends.

Thirdly, the theme to which the text is devoted may evolve over time. If your material was a success, it would be a great idea to keep it up to date. For example, you published a longrid about all the nuances of working with customers' personal data, collected examples, described legislation, showed the best services and revealed all existing subtleties. The material collected a thousand reposts, hundreds of comments, became the most successful on your blog, and two weeks later adopted a new edition of the law on personal data. And what - to bury irrelevant material? Most likely, there are not many changes to write again, but to add to the existing material is a great idea. Especially if you remember that you can tell about the introduction of relevant information into the material in social networks, soar on the wave of fresh news and collect a significant amount of additional views.

Fourth, if you collect advanced analytics on the behavior of readers, you will be able to fine-tune the layout or the text itself to increase the percentage of reading. Such a point setting makes sense if the number of views continues to grow or you plan to further promote the fired material. Just keep track of which layout element has the most lost readers, and edit the page.

As far as this item is useful, so is it dangerous. It is important that the work on improving the already published longrids does not become something of an obsessional-compulsive disorder. Know when to stop. And if you have a very limited supply of copyright time, it is better to devote it to creating new materials and improving only the most-most (which the analyst will tell you), rather than making changes on one or two sentences. Expediency is the key to everything.

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