If you have stumbled upon this article, you might be thinking about restructuring your website content creation.  Maybe it’s time for a change, or maybe you’re starting something new.  Regardless of the situation you may be in, this blog post is valuable to you.  It’s time to start thinking about slow content.  

In recent decades, society has hit the accelerator on the pace of its lifestyle.  It has been about keeping things quick and superficial to move on to the next quick and superficial thing.  Some generations have never even experienced a different kind of lifestyle and have been running on a full-speed treadmill since the moment they were born.  But luckily for them, and for all of us, we are starting to realise that there is a button to slow down the speed of the treadmill and that this steady-paced jog is much more enjoyable.   

Amongst all of this chaos of speed around us, a new trend of ‘taking things slowly’ is developing.  The rise of fast-food chains is now being gradually overshadowed by slow food restaurants, dreams of having a big house are being replaced with tiny houses, instead of being connected and having the newest technologies to keep up, people are trying to disconnect and slow down…We can observe this same trend in the world of marketing and more specifically, content marketing. 

Journalists and content marketers are constantly pressured into producing and releasing pieces before anyone else; it’s always about being first.  Furthermore, now, most of the information is unverified and left unchecked because speed is more important than accuracy.  But now comes the era of slow content.  Taking a step back, refocusing the way information is being released, and taking pleasure in producing and reading again.  But not only that, it can also do wonders for your business.

Table of contents

Slow and steady wins the race

slow tortoise
Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash

If up until now the creation of your website content has mostly been ‘fast-paced content’, your pieces have been one of the at least 70 million (on WordPress alone) posts that are released per month. It is very easy for your pieces to be overlooked or not even make an appearance.  But that does not stop businesses from feeling the pressure of having to mass-produce their content.  They (and we at Sortlist are also culprits) are looking for those clicks, but in reality, that is not a long-term solution.  In business, we know that conversions are the way to make a profit, not the clicks.  So how do you go from a click-orientated production method to one that is more centered and can guarantee conversions? Get in on the slow content. 

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What is slow content?

Slow content is exactly what its name suggests.  It is slow to produce and slow to read and it also engages with a different part of your brain than fast content.  Take a look at this example from Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow: 

A bat and ball cost $1.10.  The bat costs one dollar more than the ball.  How much does the ball cost?

You might have instinctively answered 10 cents thanks to your ‘fast-paced’ part of your brain.  However, if you sit with the question long enough, and tap into the ‘slower paced’ part of your brain, you’ll realise that the answer is in fact 5 cents. 

If you think of this example in a marketing context, the slight mistake writers or readers make when writing or reading a fast-paced piece, means lost profit.  Psychological research has even shown that things we tend to read quickly are just as quickly forgotten as those that take longer to read.  The larger pieces tend to stay with us longer and have a bigger impact on us. In marketing, that is usually translated into conversions.  

AsAP (As slow As Possible) – Ann Handley

slow content
Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash

Before getting in on slow content, here are a few things to slow read and reflect on. 

Take your time, and make time

Because of the nature of a slow content piece, the whole process of production will be longer.  The thought process will take longer, the research will take longer, the writing, the editing…These are not the typical posts you can sit in a coffee shop and write out in a few hours.  Put aside a few time slots throughout the week to focus on the development of a slow piece.  Additionally, give yourself ample time to research.  Have a look at what piece of information you can gather together or maybe your research will shine a light on the lack of content on your chosen topic. 

Produce pieces of value 

The more time you give yourself to work on the piece, the more the piece’s quality and value will increase.  This will distinguish it from all the other rushed pieces we find on the internet. 

A piece of value is informative, trustworthy, accurate, and thoughtful.  It usually also involves some sort of storytelling.  You give your audience insight into something they may not have known and broaden their perspective.  It is also a piece that sticks with them past the last sentence.  It could even be something they could apply to their daily life from then on.  

Try not to think of a slow content piece as a fast one with a bit more description on the end.  It should work together as a whole and contain substance from beginning to end instead of shoving all the important information in the first paragraph. 

Choose your topics carefully 

Since you will be spending more time than usual on this content, make sure you find a topic that speaks to you.  You will be spending a lot of time thinking about this post and the last thing a writer needs is to lose interest in their own piece.  The end result will be a waste of time and effort. 

But, that is not the only criteria.  Just like with any piece of content work, the post must be of significance.  There needs to be a cohesive marketing strategy as to why you are writing the piece.  Find some inspiration online from other slow content pieces and find some potential ideas.  Make sure to study what your audience tends to stick around for and what kind of content would benefit both of you.  Have a look at ours: Sortlist Insights.  Our pieces include personal research and data from marketing topics we found interesting to dig into. 

Some of our content writing examples include: 2021 Marketing Survey: Budgets, Trends and Inspiration for SMBs Survey: Why COVID-19 isn’t firing the digitalisation of Europe’s SMBs and Mini Guide: How to work well with an agency when working remotely

 Will this actually work?

slow blog
Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash

You will notice with time that the slow content pieces will receive fewer clicks, but do not worry.  The success will come through more engagement.

Some may fear that turning to slow content will decrease business and alter their ranking algorithms.  It is inevitable that your algorithm will change when you change your content, however, it will not be for the worst.  But, what makes a website good: relevant content and consistency.  By posting slow content, you continue to play to your relevant content factor.  For consistency, continue to produce faster-paced content but at the same time, repurpose your longer pieces whilst waiting for the release of the next one. 

Conclusion 

Ideally, a content marketer would write both fast a slow content for their business.  A balanced mix can both drive clicks and conversions.  It may even help writers find the joy in writing again and stumble upon new topics to explore.  If you need some help starting, Sortlist can help you find the right content marketing agency near you anywhere in over 80 countries!