Just like the Slow Food Movement which emerged in response to the fast food industry and highly-processed convenience products, Slow Content Marketing is springing up in revolt against the industry of rapid-fire click-bait and subpar quality articles. This time, however, not to bring us locally-grown, homecooked meals in return, but original, fresh, home-baked content.
We’ve reached a point of saturation. 86 million blog posts are published on WordPress every month. Users no longer trust major media outlets. Businesses can’t shout any louder to be heard among the crowd.
More and faster is proving less effective than fewer and slower. Research from Orbit Media revealed content that takes longer to create sees stronger results, no matter the frequency. HubSpot found that over 90 percent of its blog leads came from old posts, even though they release new content every day.
Some of this isn’t new. The efficacy of longer over shorter form content has been known for a long time. However, Slow Content is different — it’s the difference between easy ideas and simple content, big word counts and big impacts. To get behind a brand today, readers need unique approaches delivered with depth, authenticity, and conciseness, not just the same old tosh with a few extra pictures.
For this reason, the value of Slow Content for businesses is clear. Even psychological research tells us what we learn quickly we also forget quickly, i.e. well-developed ideas that follow a narrative are more likely to stay with readers for longer. So how can you become a part of the movement?
Get in on The Slow Content Movement
A huge part of Slow Content Marketing is cutting back on the rate you produce content and spending more time on idea generation than creation. However, to start producing slow content, you first need to start thinking slow. In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman gives an example of the problem with fast thinking with the famous bat-and-ball test:
A bat and ball cost £1.10. The bat costs one pound more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
The price that most likely first comes to mind is 10p, but this is incorrect. Take a second to do the math now if you got it wrong.
This is a classic example of when what Kahneman calls ‘fast’ System 2 thinking takes over, believing it can handle things on its own. System 2 thinking is like autopilot mode that the brain uses to save energy — what most people operate in to get through the work day. But as you can see it often leads to inadequate solutions.
‘Slow’ System 1 thinking, on the other hand, is more creative and intuitive, and is switched on when you’re in a state of cognitive ease. System 1 is the mode content writers and businesses want to be in when they need to come up with marketing ideas, strategies, and campaigns. It puts you in the right frame of mind for the task, helping you be persuasive, emotive, relatable, and generally closer to your audience.
You can improve the power of System 1 by practising more slow tasks that require focus and self-control — things like meditation and aerobic exercise. The most important thing is to avoid a state of cognitive strain; stress, anxiety, and too much coffee can you in a state of heightened awareness and, as a result, cause you to be less open to novel ideas and overlook the wider picture.
If you create the right conditions for slow thinking and make it a regular part of your content creation cycle, you’ll likely find you come up with fewer but better ideas. Rather than publishing three blog posts a week on individual topics, you may produce one long-form piece that explores a topic in-depth, or a five-part series that runs over several weeks or months. These ideas will take added time and effort to produce, but like any aspect of the slow movement, they’ll lead to a greater long-term impact and higher quality results.
Slow Content Marketing may just be the answer businesses need to break through the noise and reach their audience. As well as helping to gain back readers’ trust, it can also help brands find their identity and voice by digging out what they truly value and demonstrating it through meaningful narratives. Add all this to the fact the fast content will only speed up and become more invasive, and an infrequent, value-rich Slow Content Movement couldn’t come too soon.
Joseph Pennington is a freelance writer and long-term traveller from the North of England. Find him on Medium exploring remote working, technology, meditation, and everything in between.