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Crafting Long-Form Content: Transitioning to Digital-First Publishing

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Many organizations grapple with how to best present reports and research online in a way that engages their audiences beyond the dreaded downloadable PDF.

Yet at the same time, all around the web it’s been confirmed: audiences are willing to spend time consuming longer content that is interesting to them.

They read the longer articles published by media outlets like Quartz, and have allowed interactive storytelling pieces like “Snow Fall” by The New York Times and “Cycling’s Road Forward” by the Washington Post to become some of the most popular online content of the past few years. They spend more time reviewing data-like information such as the interactive graphics in “The perils at Great Falls” (from the Washington Post) and the animated drawings and videos in Polygon’s “Playstation 4: The Review”. They are more engaged, spend longer amounts of time on these websites and are sharing this type of content more frequently.

So how can you move away from the print-centric model of the past, and shift your organization toward publishing long-form reports and research that include rich imagery, interactive elements, and better sharing capabilities?

In this presentation, John Osterman of the Center for Global Development and Lisa Drobek of Forum One share the insights they’ve gained, the tools they use, and the approaches they’ve taken on creating successful long-form report projects.

IN THIS PRESENTATION YOU WILL LEARN ABOUT:

• Defining long-form content and finding its value for your organization
• Methods for creating long-form content according to level of effort
• How your organization can make the transition to digital-first publishing

PRESENTED BY:

John Osterman
Deputy Director for Communications and Publications
Center for Global Development (cgdev.org)

Lisa Drobek
Senior User Experience Designer
Forum One (forumone.com)

*These slides are from a Forum One Webinar. Check out our YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/forumonevideo) for the audio/video of this virtual event.*

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Crafting Long-Form Content: Transitioning to Digital-First Publishing

  1. Transitioning to Digital-first Publishing CRAFTING LONG-FORM CONTENT Presented by John Osterman, @johnaosterman Lisa Drobek, @ldrobek
  2. Forum One is a digital agency that partners with influential organizations to craft solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. Open Source Since 1996 2000 Successful Projects 750 Influential Clients 100% Mission- driven
  3. Introductions Lisa Drobek Senior User Experience Designer, Forum One John Osterman Deputy Director for Communications and Publications, Center for Global Development
  4. of what they read 20%
  5. Digital-first Publishing and Long-form Content ● extends your reach ● is easy and can scale ● has been done effectively
  6. First Great Example
  7. First Great Example
  8. First Great Example
  9. The more senses you engage, the more memorable the experience will be. of what they see 80% of what they read 20% hear 10%of what they
  10. ADVANTAGES OF DIGITAL-FIRST Accessibility of Content and Engagement
  11. Source: Shutterstock % of mobile traffic on websites is steadily rising Accessibility
  12. SEO Benefits ● Higher rank in Google (SEO) ● Higher rank for long-tail keywords ● Attracts backlinks and sharing on social media 50x LONG-FORM CONTENT WITH VIDEO MORE LIKELY TO SHOWON THE FIRST PAGE OF GOOGLE THE AVERAGE WEB PAGE THAT RANKS ON THE FIRST PAGE OF GOOGLE HAS OVER 2,000 WORDS 12%INFOGRAPHICS CAN IMPROVE TRAFFIC BY
  13. Increased Engagement Source: Shutterstock ● Thought leadership ● More visibility and sharing on social media ● Drives action
  14. ● Long-form is a great platform for telling stories. Allows for Storytelling “Do.. or do not... there is no try.”
  15. DIGITAL-FIRST PUBLISHING LEVELS OF EFFORT High One Flagship Reading Experience Medium A Couple Noteworthy Reports Low The Majority of Your Publications
  16. HIGHER LEVEL OF EFFORT DIGITAL-FIRST Publishing enhanced long-form content
  17. Gates Foundation http://www.gatesnotes. com/2015-Annual-Letter? page=1&lang=en
  18. Gates Foundation http://www.gatesnotes. com/2015-Annual-Letter? page=1&lang=en
  19. Gates Foundation http://www.gatesnotes. com/2015-Annual-Letter? page=1&lang=en
  20. AAMC Source: Report Series http: //aamcdiversityfactsandfigures .org/
  21. ● TablePress ● Visualizer ● Highcharts ● Google Analytics Under the Hood
  22. ● TablePress ● Visualizer ● Highcharts ● Google Analytics Under the Hood
  23. AAMC Analytics Findings 36% of readers spend more than 3 minutes on the report - Averaging 1- 2 minutes per page Minutes %ofUsers
  24. Pew Research Center http://www.pewresearch. org/next-america/#Two- Dramas-in-Slow-Motion
  25. Pew Research Center http://www.pewresearch. org/next-america/#Two- Dramas-in-Slow-Motion
  26. Pew Research Center http://www.pewresearch. org/next-america/#Two- Dramas-in-Slow-Motion
  27. Pew Research Center http://www.pewresearch. org/next-america/#Two- Dramas-in-Slow-Motion
  28. ● Readable 1 column of text ● Imagery to break up text ● Call outs and quotes to emphasize key information ● Give context to data visualizations and timelines ● Use video to explain complex pieces ● Add animations to delight users Best Practices for Reading Experience
  29. MEDIUM LEVEL OF EFFORT USING DIGITAL TOOLS Not just text, visuals and data too
  30. Farm to School http://www.fns.usda. gov/farmtoschool/census#/
  31. Farm to School http://www.fns.usda. gov/farmtoschool/census#/
  32. Farm to School http://www.fns.usda. gov/farmtoschool/census#/
  33. Farm to School http://www.fns.usda. gov/farmtoschool/census#/me dia
  34. Farm to School http://www.fns.usda. gov/farmtoschool/census#/me dia
  35. 53% 11% Farm to School http://www.fns.usda. gov/farmtoschool/census#/me dia Increase in conversion from to
  36. The Opportunity Agenda http://opportunity-survey. opportunityagenda.org/
  37. The Opportunity Agenda http://opportunity-survey. opportunityagenda.org/
  38. The Opportunity Agenda http://opportunity-survey. opportunityagenda.org/
  39. The Opportunity Agenda http://opportunity-survey. opportunityagenda.org/
  40. Online Tools ● creatavist.com ● hatchforgood.org ● marquee.by ● causevox.com
  41. LOWER LEVEL OF EFFORT THINK DIGITAL-FIRST Making your full text available online
  42. Center for Global Development
  43. CASE STUDY CENTER FOR GLOBAL Our Transition to Digital-First Publishing DEVELOPMENT (CGD)
  44. Homepage http://www.cgdev.org/
  45. Listing page > Summary page > Publication (PDF)
  46. Our Beautiful PDF on Your Mobile Device zoom & pan
  47. Version 1. Standalone HTML
  48. Analytics: Audiences read full text more than PDFs
  49. Version 2: Full Text in Detail Page
  50. Bypass Summary Pages
  51. with custom CSS and JavaScript without
  52. Process: Word Doc > Clean > Adjust > Enter into CMS word2cleanhtml.com Some adjustments <style> <script> Optional
  53. But STILL Offer Printable Option—Meaning Print CSS
  54. But Does It Work? Analytics 7x MORE 4x MORE NEWSLETTER SIGNUPS TWEETS AND FACEBOOK LIKES (USING THE SHARE BUTTONS) 2x FEWER(IT’S OK, MORE PEOPLE ARE READING CONTENT ONLINE) PDF DOWNLOAD CONVERSIONS
  55. Essays and other long-form
  56. CGD’s Digital-first Publishing Steps 1. Convert your Word Doc to HTML. a. Clean up Doc with tools like Word2CleanHTML. 2. Input content into your existing CMS. 3. Make minor adjustments to your CSS styles (font sizes, etc) to ensure a good reading experience.
  57. TAKE AWAYS Digital-first Publishing ● Extends your reach ● Is easy and can scale ● Has been done effectively
  58. ● Positions you as thought leaders ● Attracts target audiences ● Increases engagement Extends your reach
  59. ● Low barrier for entry ● Start small ● Scalable for your organization Is easy and can scale
  60. ● Examples from each section ● CGD case study Has been done effectively
  61. Learning Curve: The first report that you create digital- first will take more time to implement, but subsequent reports will be quicker and easier.
  62. THANK YOU Lisa Drobek @ldrobek, ldrobek@forumone.com John Osterman @johnaosterman, josterman@cgdev.org
  63. Resources Digital-first Transition ● Blog Posts ● Steps for creating projects based on level of effort
  64. Lisa Drobek’s Blog Posts Crafting Long-form Content: Transitioning from Print-centric PDFs to Digital-first Publishing - http: //forumone.com/insights/crafting-long-form- content-transitioning-from-print-pdfs-to-digital- first-publishing/ Repurpose Your PDFs as Long-Form Content on the Web - http://forumone.com/insights/repurpose- your-pdfs-as-long-form-content-on-the-web/
  65. Steps for most publications (low) 1. Convert your Word Doc to HTML. a. Clean up Doc with tools like Word2CleanHTML. 2. Input content into your existing CMS. 3. Make minor adjustments to your CSS styles (font sizes, etc) to ensure a good reading experience.
  66. 1. Think about the story you want to tell and how you can best tell that story online: ● What action are you driving your audience toward? ● What tools will help you achieve your goals? Steps for that Noteworthy Reports (Medium)
  67. 2. Find an online tool or organization to partner with ● The more complex projects may require you to get some outside help. Steps for that Noteworthy Reports (Medium)
  68. Steps for that Noteworthy Reports (Medium) ● Storytelling ● Imagery ● Graphics and Charts ● Infographics ● Small Animations
  69. Steps for that Flagship Reading Experience (High) 1. Think about the story you want to tell and how to best tell that story online (like steps for medium): ● What action are you driving your audience toward? ● What tools will help you achieve your goals? ○ Think about your imagery ○ Think about interactives for your data
  70. 2. Get some outside help. ● Modify your current CMS ● Stand-up a stand-alone reading experience (like a microsite) ● Develop an experience from scratch for data rich experiences Steps for that Flagship Reading Experience (High)
  71. ● Storytelling ● Imagery ● Graphics and Charts ● Infographics ● Video/Audio ● Animations Flagship Reading Experience Features (High)
  72. THANK YOU Lisa Drobek @ldrobek, ldrobek@forumone.com John Osterman @johnaosterman, josterman@cgdev.org

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