Using Long Form Storytelling to Win Your Audience

You might just have heard about long form storytelling recently, and you wonder what does it mean.

We live in a society driven by consumer habits that value agility and efficiency. This is true not only for purchase-processes for products and services, but also for the information and content people consume daily.

For instance, Twitter, a social network based on a microblog format that is popular both for commerce and entertainment. Its most distinctive feature is its restriction of characters — only 280 characters per post.

Similar to that, several blogs specialize in short content so that readers can get a quick experience. The same movement can be seen on Instagram stories, YouTube videos, and Facebook posts.

So, is it wrong to invest in short content? The answer is a resounding no!

Companies realize how important it is to complement their strategies with long-form storytelling. The main reason for this is the potential for improving consumer learning.

Here are some things you need to know about it:

Marketing and journalism have benefited from long form storytelling — perhaps more than other fields.

Marketing and Long Form

It is important for brands to communicate their core messages to their customers in a consistent way. This can be achieved through long-form storytelling.

Many brands are using long-form storytelling as a marketing tool. One of the most well-known countries in the world, the United States, shared an inspiring story about the US flag with a YouTube video. The video helped the country attract more people.

For many people, the video was a powerful demonstration of the American flag’s virtues in which they feel great pride. In addition to that, the video also gave people an opportunity to share their own patriotic thoughts.

As a form of marketing, businesses know that it is important to try to create something unique for the audience. In order for their product or service to be memorable or effective, marketing strategies must stand out from the rest.

It is this uniqueness that brands often look for in a new marketing strategy. Especially if a business is in the entertainment industry, they might want to set themselves up with a long-form story.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Journalism and Long Form

A story is formed when longer contents (1,200+ words) follow a narrative arc — meaning it has a premise and a plot (a beginning, middle, and end). Journalism has always been the gold standard of this genre, but content marketing is gaining popularity and even journalists are riding with its rise.

The trend of long form journalism is clearly going up. A lot of major news outlets around the world are investing heavily in long form feature stories.

NBC, BBC, Stuff, Sky News, Nature, Province, El Periodico, and NZ Herald, among others, create stunning long-form articles.

We should address the elephant (or is it giraffe) in the room: Long form journalism usually spans much longer than average. However, long form journalism has more to it than its length.

This is a good reason why long form journalism is relatively rare: it is typically more expensive to produce. Newspapers may take six months to produce a story, as intrepid, patient reporters did decades ago, but great long-form stories take longer to report.

Here are some reasons to consider writing long form content

Long Form is Efficient

Long form is unlike any other kind of writing. It requires the writer to do more with less. The writer has to dig deeper than usual, but to do it with more words. It is not the usual journalism as we know it.

Long form storytelling is not about telling a coherent, linear story. It is a narrative. A series of events and ideas that are all woven together to form a content.

You could compare this to a feature story in a newspaper, a TV story, or even a book. There are, of course, many differences. But there are also some similarities.

You can think of the story in this format very differently. The storyteller is able to focus on the content, rather than the minutiae of how it fits together. This is just one of the ways the internet has influenced long form journalism: it has made it easier to write great long forms.

For longer form stories that are complex in nature, the most important factor is an understanding of the user.

This means really knowing your audience and the way they think. It’s not enough to just be able to write a great piece of long form content. You have to be able to write something that your audience will enjoy.

The biggest challenge with long form writing is creating great content. This is where content management systems (CMS) come into their own. CMS is a really good way to manage large amounts of content.

Long Form is Engaging

Marketing strategies must be designed to engage leads and nurture them, enabling financial returns.

Long form storytelling provides the platform for engaging the leads in a narrative and directing them to the bottom. However, you need to be familiar with how to apply this technique effectively.

Therefore, it is important to know your buyer persona’s characteristics in order to find triggers that can keep them engaged in the content.

Add resources to enrich your content, which may help your storytelling. Diagrams and charts are excellent visuals for engaging users.

Currently, long-form storytelling is experiencing a peak. Brands and media alike are using narrative arcs to capture audiences and engage them for extended periods of time.

Consumers are paying greater attention to corporate social responsibility than ever before. Brands must develop narratives and practices that convey their main message and core values to consumers.

Our society has evolved in a way that continuously desires more information and content for easier access. Think about all of the messages that you get on social media and apps.

If you’re looking for a fun or interesting way to share a message, long form storytelling is the way to go. Think of the long form as the platform that captures information in a more literary and unique way. Unlike other formats such as infographics or blog posts.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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