Text that people won't stop reading halfway through

We live in a time of information overload thanks to technology that is developing at an incredible speed. Due to the overwhelming flow of incoming information, people lose the ability to concentrate, and short-term memory is often overloaded. Therefore, the modern reader is often called lazy.

So why has the format of long texts not disappeared, but is still in demand? Why are such texts gaining millions of views?

In this article, we will analyze what a longread is, its emergence, and reveal its strengths.

And at the end, as a bonus, we'll compare several Russian tools for creating longreads.
What's a longread?
Longread means "long reading". However, don't be intimidated if your coworker asks to look at an interesting piece of content in the form of a longread. You certainly won't find a 4-volume of text as long as War and Peace. The average length of longreads is considered to be a text volume of 1200 words or 8000 characters. But the main feature of a longread is not its length, but how deeply the topic is covered.

The specificity of a longread is the presentation of information in the form of structured and formatted text. This format is diversified with the help of interactive tools: infographics, videos and photos, tests and exercises, etc.

A properly formed longread is a single and complete narrative.

A longread is a separate webpage with a design and layout developed for it. This makes it different from a regular article.
Where did it come from?
The first longreads appeared in the 60s in the USA in such publishing houses as The New Yorker and Esquire. The longreads were a mixture of a novel and a classic article. Journalists used storytelling and dramatic techniques: a well-thought-out storyline and characters, development, and resolution of the conflict.

The first longread is considered to be the multimedia article "Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek," published in The New York Times in 2012.
Among the first longreads in Russia is the material about the Dyatlov Pass, published on the Loo.ch portal (the material is currently unavailable). One of the most famous Russian longreads "Land of Alienation" from the publishing house "Kommersant".
Publishing house Kommersant "Land of Alienation"
What kinds are there?
Longreads differ in the following ways:
  • Subject matter
    It can be absolutely anything, from describing the habits of capybaras to analyzing the cost of Philip Kirkorov's concert costume.
  • Aims
    Commercial (selling), entertaining, informational (educational), research.
  • Genre
    Reportage, portrait, history, research, instruction, etc.
  • Presenting
    Mini-website, interactive page, e-course.
Why do longreads work?
There are several factors contributing to the popularity of longreads. Their combined effect enhances the overall effect:
  • Timesaving
    A longread is a summary of several large topics. In an hour of reading a longread, students will receive a volume of information that would take them several days to independently search and analyze.
  • Structuring
    Longreads are divided into topics/sections, which makes it possible to split the process of studying one large longread into several steps: study one topic in the morning, another in a traffic jam on the way to work, and a third after dinner.
  • Presenting of information
    Users will read truly interesting text regardless of its length. Visual presentation of material using graphics and media content allows you to further increase reader engagement.

    Layout capabilities of modern longread constructors allow you to create materials that are convenient to read from any device.
Let's compare several domestic services for developing educational longreads. All solutions considered are adaptable for different devices; their main difference is the variety of functionality of the content block. The services have a free test period, during which you can make the best decision and determine the necessary set of features.
Tilda Publishing
iSpring Learn
Variety of content
More than 25 types of content blocks: simple content (text, video, lists, quotes, dialogues, tables) + interactive (accordion, tabs, steps, slider).
Ability to connect an article, video, page, webinar, and homework.
The "Article" block contains a huge number of content blocks: from text and images to buttons, forms, schedules, stages.
More than 60 different content blocks: text, video, audio, interactive, etc.
15 content blocks, including interactive ones: cards, videos, exercises.
Knowledge Check
Testing with and without evaluation.
Types of tasks: single-choice, multiple-choice, inserting missing words.
Testing indicating the minimum number of correct answers.
Types of tasks: single-choice, multiple-choice.
Testing indicating the minimum number of correct answers.
Types of tasks: single-choice, multiple-choice.
Exercises with or without feedback. No grade or % of completion.
Types of tasks: single-choice, multiple-choice, inserting missing words.
Course settings
Limited options for designing the course color scheme. But there is a preview of the changes.
Wide range of color and font design options (connecting fonts from Google fonts).
Ability to apply a color scheme design to the entire course.
Setting up the linearity of the course and setting mandatory elements for passing (video, test).
Setting the linearity of the course. Limited color options: you can only choose an accent color.
Export formats
Scorm 2004
Scorm 1.2
web version,
export directly to the LMS,
access via a link,
Scorm 2004
Scorm 1.2
web version,
access via a link,
Scorm CAN 1.2
Scorm CAN 2004
Scorm 2004,
Scorm 1.2,
access via a link
Additional features
There are several modules: courses, projects, scenarios and tasks, partners, teams, reports.
Ability to create user groups, register, and assign to a course.
Search engine optimization.
The "Homework" block.
Receiving a certificate of completion of the course. Ability to insert an imported scorm block.
It is one of the iSpring Learn LMS modules.
1. Deep research
Longreads are useful when you need to present detailed research, especially in an academic, scientific, or professional field. They allow you to explore a topic in all its aspects, providing a platform for the presentation and analysis of a large amount of information.

2. Difficult or controversial topics

Longreads are suitable for analyzing complex or controversial topics where you need to present both sides of the argument and achieve a complete understanding of the problem. They provide insight, context, and informed analysis.

3. Narrative reporting
Longreads are well suited for storytelling or narrative reporting, where it is important to provide details, create an emotional connection with readers, and keep their attention throughout the text.

4. Interviews or profiles
Longreads can also be effective for interviews or profiles where you want to present a life path, opinions, and experiences of a particular person. This allows you to create a deeper understanding of an individual and their history.
Ultimately, the success of using longreads depends on your goal and audience. If you need to tell the whole story and provide detailed analysis, longreads can be the ideal choice. However, if your goal is brevity and speed, then it may be worth turning to shorter formats.

If you have any questions, write to us and our specialists will help you choose the optimal solution for you.