The rise of online content and the modern culture of immediacy means that audience attention spans are getting shorter. In fact, a recent study by Microsoft showed that the human attention span has dropped by 25% in the last few years, and you now have eight seconds to capture your target’s attention before they move on to something else.

The common belief is that people are drawn to attention-grabbing and brief content, as seen on major social media platforms. However, statistics have emerged to suggest a different reality. In this edition of the Muse, we’ll share some insights into social media and shed light on the so-called long-form content that has gained traction in the creative world.

The unpalatable reality of social media content

Despite their widespread popularity, most Instagram reels were reported to barely attract engagement; bite-sized, attention-grabbing videos on TikTok have ironically failed to whet users’ appetite and convince them to stay on the platform.

On the other hand, hours of supposedly dull podcasts on YouTube manage to maintain screen time. This data signals yet another new behaviour trend that content creators should consider adapting to if they want to meet the demands of consumers online.

The definition of long-form content

The term ‘long-form content’ has various definitions. For the purpose of this article, it will be viewed as pieces of writing between 2,000 and over 3,000 words or videos that last from 30 minutes to over two hours. Other examples may include case studies, e-books, exclusive expert interviews, or comprehensive tutorials.

The rise of long-form content

Getting fed up with clickbait and monotonous swipes, netizens are now hungry for richer, more in-depth and rewarding content that delivers value on a personal level. Answering your audience’s questions about an important industry matter in detail or creating how-to content on your website tailored to newbies makes your business more relatable to your audience and encourages them to stay longer on your page and come back for future content.

This doesn’t mean all content must be hours long or covered in thousands of words, though. The key consideration is why the audience would read your long-form article or video.

Empathise with your readers and viewers. Think about the relevant values that your content can deliver before drafting it. Failure to consider your audience’s needs will likely result in failure to achieve continued engagement and relatability, no matter how many words are written.