Long-Form Digital Content? Here are three museums doing it well
March 28 2020
By Jim Richardson
How do museums tell effective stories online? Some use film, podcasts or even a series of tweets, but I think that long-form written content is still hard to beat for its ability to deliver long term value.
After all the internet is to a large extent built around long-form written content. When I search google for ‘How do I become a space lawyer?’ the suggested content will primarily be written articles, many of them several thousand words.
And depending on the question, and how many people are asking it, a single article could bring thousands of visitors to a museum’s website.
This is ‘slow’ content.
While a tweet might go viral, long-form content ranked on Google is likely to bring in a steady flow of traffic over years. This could be a handful of visitors a day, but in time that still adds up to thousands or tens of thousands of people engaging with your content.
Not all content is going to be equal. And it needs to be approached strategically to get the best result for your museum.
While I think the value of producing this kind of content is often overlooked, some institutions are producing fantastic long-form written content.
Particle from SciTech
Particle launched in 2017 as a science media brand that delivers creative, engaging, digital content designed to bring science to a digitally connected audience.
It was started by the SciTech Museum in Perth, Australia and covers science topics in an easy to digest and entertaining format.
These three examples show how museums can use long-form written content to deliver value to audiences beyond their walls. In doing so they are using digital media to achieve their mission, not just for marketing.
While Twitter, Film and Podcasts are all valuable ways for museums to tell stories online. Long-form written content has a lower barrier to entry and offers museums long term return as Google ranks the content for long tail search queries.
These three examples show the breadth of the subjects that museums can cover in their long-form content, from being in space to being transgender.
Personally, I believe that the best starting point for developing long-form content for museum is your collection. Look to this for inspiration and think about how you can expand on it with your knowledge and insight.
Above all, think about how you can deliver value to your audiences with what you write.
Remember that this is slow content, but over time even a handful of readers a day will mean that an article could reach thousands of people.
If you have other examples of museums producing long form content, let us know on social media.
About the author – Jim Richardson
Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked with the museum sector on technology and innovation projects for more than twenty years and now splits his time between delivering consultancy, innovation workshops and conferences.