The trick to long-form content design

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Give them the razzle dazzle
By Rachel Lobley, contributor. 27 August, 2019
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We’ve spoken to the technical benefits of incorporating long-form content into your financial marketing strategy, so now you’re creating it, how do you make sure your audience wants to read it? Creating long-form content that captivates your audience from start to finish comes down to the way you design and present it.

We spoke to Tom Bradshaw, Senior Digital Designer at The Dubs to learn about the key principles of long-form content design. “When you have thousands of words,” explains Tom, “breaking them up into manageable chunks is key. The copy then seems far less daunting to the audience and will help them to navigate to the section they most want to read.”

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Tom’s top 3 long-form content design tips and tricks

1. Use imagery

“There are a lot of options when it comes to using imagery to break up text,” says Tom. “Think about what style suits your brand – and your reader – best.” Options include photography, illustration, diagrams, screenshots and quotes. “Imagery should always illustrate the article, but it should be visually appealing. I try to find slightly abstract, bright images that catch the user’s eye but remain relevant to the content. I avoid using typical stock images as much as possible as there is already a saturation of these, particularly in the finance sector, and they can come across as cliché.” Here’s what it looks like to break free from brand-safe imagery.

2. Navigation is key

When you are designing a web page to host long-form content, the user journey should be top of mind. Tom points to one example by Aberdeen Standard Investments designed by The Dubs. “On this page, we’ve used a special type of scrolling called ‘parallax.’ This helps to break up the text by using background imagery to create relevant section breaks in the copy. To make the navigation as smooth as possible, we’ve built structural elements like graphic heading styles and charting into the page. Another great example of parallax scroll is this page from St Moritz, which demonstrates how illustration and animation can be used to break up text.” If you don’t feel confident structuring your own web page, speak to your web developers about how they can help you make your user experience top-notch.

When you are designing a web page to host long-form content, the user journey should be top of mind.

“When you’re discussing layout with your designers, consider adding a progress bar to your page,” suggests Tom. “This is a really simple way of giving readers an indication of where they are ‘up to’ in your content. Combined with sticky navigation that allows users to jump between sections, making headway through your long-form copy can be a joy rather than a chore.”

The trick to long-form content design

The trick to long-form content design

3. Don’t forget the words

While it's easy to get wrapped up in choosing images and working on your web layout, bear in mind that your ultimate aim is to make this copy easy to read. “How you choose to layout your text is really important,” says Tom. “It’s best in a narrow column with a large font size to create an editorial look and feel – this Vice article demonstrates it well. Making the text easy to read will keep your readers interested for longer and create a better user experience.”

The trick to long-form content design

From creating the content to crafting the best way to present it, at The Dubs we specialise in the complete content package. Get in touch to learn more about our finance content services.

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A specialist in marketing strategy, Rachel has worked on consultancy, content and PR projects for a number of international finance and insurance brands out of London. Now in Australia, Rachel enjoys producing strategic content for the Aussie market and getting to know her new surroundings. When not at work, she's out enjoying restaurants and attempting to do some exercise.