Businesses operating in competitive, fast-moving industries should be doing everything they can to get ahead of their rivals and win the loyalty of their customers. The growth and development of content marketing means it offers many ways for you to take on this challenge. However, before planning and launching any marketing campaigns, you need to […]
Size does matter: why you should create long-form content
For many businesses – particularly those operating in the B2B space – it’s not easy to
establish and develop audience relationships.
Your customers are likely to be very busy and won’t have a lot of free time to spend consuming marketing content. If you face this challenge, your first thought might be to keep your blog posts as short and snappy as possible, or to stick with easily accessible visual materials like videos and infographics.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad strategy – and exciting assets like these absolutely should be included in your content marketing mix – wanting to make a quick impact on your audience doesn’t mean you should ignore more in-depth media. In fact, there are big benefits to be achieved from taking a long-form approach.
The power of long-form content
Longer content, when it’s done well, can lead to various benefits in terms of your SEO, brand recognition and user experience. It can result in more time on-page, increased opportunities for backlinks and a better chance of Google crediting your website with a certain level of authority.
From a content marketer’s perspective, long-form pieces like in-depth blogs, guides and whitepapers give you a real opportunity to research, analyse and write about specific topics. They let you show off your knowledge and expertise, establish yourself as a thought leader and carve out a place for yourself within the conversation.
Longer content is also about passion and exploration. It’s about following tangents, moving in unexpected directions and digging into subjects that will be interesting and relevant to your customers.
It goes without saying that these pieces will require more work. Not just more time but more motivation, commitment, focus and curiosity. Ultimately, though, they will deliver value for your audience and consequently your business.
How to develop long-form content
A good place to start with this type of content is to develop a piece that taps into your specialist expertise. What do you know or do better than anyone else? What are you passionate about? What can you contribute to the conversation? Think about assets you can create that show off your experience and position you as an expert.
For your audience to invest the amount of time and energy required to read a longer piece of content, you need to give them something worth their while. Your creations need to be engaging, educational and of genuine value to the people accessing them.
Do your research and preparation
Long-form content needs to be carefully thought out and well-researched to really make an impact. You should be considering:
- Who you are writing for
- Why you are writing this piece
- What you want the reader to learn about this topic
- How you can answer your reader’s questions
- How you will format your content – with sub-topics, headings, images, bullet points etc
Big blocks of text are not appealing to read, so as you plan, think about where you can add graphic elements and attractive visuals to enhance the overall experience.
Give yourself time to write
The actual production of your long-form content is the most important stage of the entire process, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to write and gradually refine your material until it reaches the required standard.
You’ll probably want to go through multiple drafts, involving various stakeholders and experts within your business at different points to share their feedback and insights.
If you simply don’t have the time to dedicate to this task, or you don’t have the necessary skills to do it in-house, outsourcing production to a specialist digital marketing agency is a good option to consider.
Promote, promote, promote!
If you’ve spent a long time producing an outstanding piece of content, don’t be afraid to shout about it.
Make sure you’re promoting your latest creations across your social platforms, emails and other communication channels.
Paid advertising can also offer great potential to drive as much traffic as possible to your long-form content.
One of the best things about creating in-depth content is that you can break it down into chunks for repurposing. Could the key points in a whitepaper or guide be used as the structure for a webinar or blog series, for example?
You’ve put in the hard work, so don’t let it go to waste – find ways to reuse the assets at your disposal to maximise your return on investment.
If you’re looking for expert guidance and support with your marketing efforts, Axonn can help.