The Death of the A2A Long Reads
That headline is quite dramatic, I’ll be the first to admit. But it gets the point across: The A2A Long Reads are no more.
I launched the Long Reads back in July 2017. I’ve always been a lover of longform journalism and at the time, I was going through a serious bout of writer’s block. My hope was that by launching a weekly-curated list of long reads, I’d develop a steady flow of content for According to Adrienne.
Lord, was I ever wrong.
It only took me a few weeks after launching the Long Reads to realize just how in over my head I was. A single longform piece would take me anywhere from a half hour to 45 minutes to read and finding that time every day was no easy feat. Initially, my goal was to curate at least 10 weekly articles but once I realized how much time I’d need to invest, that number quickly dropped to a measly five.
To make matters worse, I was disappointed in the overall lack of audience engagement with each Long Reads post. Though I was attracting new visitors to the site, they weren’t staying on the blog long (my bounce rate was hovering consistently around 80 percent), nor were many new readers subscribing for more content.
In spite of the disappointing results, I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. A few months after launching the Long Reads, I decided to switch things up a little: Rather than only having a brief synopsis of each article, I began to include a short excerpt from each longform piece. I hoped that some visitors might appreciate the added touch and to my delight, a few people did. Overall though, I still wasn’t seeing an increase in audience engagement or retention and wen comparing these less-than-positive results to the amount of effort I was putting into each Long Reads post, I soon after decided that my dabble into the world of curated lists was over.
The A2A Long Reads may be no more but that’s not to say I didn’t learn a few valuable lessons along the way. Perhaps the biggest one I’m walking away with is the importance of being willing to try new things. I tried my hand at curating content and it didn’t work out. Such is life, right?
This chapter of A2A might be ending but that’s not to say that it was a total flop (I’d say it was only a little flop). Over the last eight months, I’ve discovered some pretty amazing longform publications, like Atavist Magazine, The Deep Magazine and Huck. I’ve also read amazing stories that have since stuck with me, most notably GQ Magazine’s long read about the Grenfell Tower fire and The Atlantic’s heart-wrenching telling of the senseless death of Tim Piazza. (You can catch a full recap of my favourite long reads from 2017 here.)
I still have an affinity for longform journalism but I think it’s safe to say that my days of curating longreads are over. It’s back to the Accordings and Rants & Raves for now. Thank you to those of you who supported the Long Reads – it was (kind of) fun while it lasted.
But that’s just According to Adrienne.