Pulizzi Drops a Bomb about Long Form Content

Hold on tight, folks. When Joe Pulizzi speaks, content strategists listen. And Pulizzi just dropped a bomb about the importance of long-form content – in-depth articles, detailed podcasts, longer videos, and custom brand magazines.

Social media has changed the way we consume – and create – a good portion of our daily content. We’ve learned to get visual to appeal on Facebook and Instagram, and parse our content down to bare bones for Twitter and smartphone consumption.

Now, long-form is garnering increasing attention, according to Joe Pulizzi writing in a recent Content Marketing Institute newsletter. Pulizzi wrote about well-known brands like Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, and the Huffington Post that are all succeeding with long form content.

He quotes a Poynter article about Huffington Post that notes the publisher is “doubling down on its long-form content initiative.” Those longer pieces are consistently among the most-read, the article notes.

Seth Godin, widely known for the short and sweet style of both blog post and book, just released a massive 800-word tome. Meanwhile, Tim Ferriss, the guru of get it done quick, has a 671-pager on the market.

Pulizzi asks the big question: “Now how, in this world of ‘snackable’ content, multiple smartphones, and no attention span, are we seeing these longer-form pillar collections of content cutting through the clutter?”

“The point I’m trying to make is that nearly every marketer we talk to has run to shorter posts, shorter social media updates, shorter videos, shorter podcasts … thinking that audiences don’t have the desire to invest themselves in content for a longer period of time,” Pulizzi writes. “But they absolutely do … if the content is worthwhile. Those marketers who take a longer-form approach can immediately position themselves and their stories as differentiated simply because of the length.”

What does this mean for brand content? Pulizzi sums it up beautifully.

“So, when all your competition is going small, maybe it’s your time to go big – in-depth article series, hearty and detailed podcast interviews, a full-fledge custom print magazine, and possibly even a customer event. When everyone else zigs, you zag.”

BTW, Joe’s newsletter is consistently good stuff; sign up to get the CMI newsletter for more great insights.