Can long-form content help your business?
The Internet and its vast and seemingly limitless methods for delivering information is a boon to marketers and business owners alike.
Between company websites, blogs, Twitter feeds and other options, it’s easy to get news and information to customers quickly and easily.
However, in this age of getting out short and sweet blurbs on a timely basis, many marketers may be missing out on an equally powerful means of communication: long-form content marketing.
Question: Do you use long-term or short-term content on your blog or website?
Sometimes taking the time to produce an in-depth, detailed, informative piece of information is a better way to provide information to potential clients than something that just skims the surface.
Ideally, a business will provide both short- and long-form content to gain even more followers and transition them into paying customers. Here’s what you need to know about this form of communication and how to make it work for you.
What is Long-Form Content Marketing?
To better understand the value of producing long-form content, it’s best to have a good understanding of what it is. Just as it sounds, long-form content is a lengthy, in-depth story that goes into greater detail on an issue than a shorter piece is able to. Think of it this way:
- Short-form content: Grabs someone’s attention and provides introductory information
- Long-form content: Gets beneath the surface and provides a more detailed description
Long-form content is more than just words.
Typically, this form of marketing also includes graphic elements to support what is being written about, break up lengthy text and provide quick bits of information in an easy-to-digest manner. It may include videos or webinars to help deliver information.
It could even be an e-book or in-depth guide. Basically, it’s anything that provides lots of information and value to the reader.
Question: Do you include graphics, videos, or webinars in your content?
Long-form content is not limited in its delivery, however. Companies like Chevy have had success using long-form content marketing in conjunction with mobile devices, proving that there are many means of getting this information before consumers.
Remember: Short-form content is a great way to drive traffic. Long-form content delivers the goods and helps build connections with the reader.
Long-form content provides value that short-form content can’t do, and that is what converts followers into paying customers. A potential customer is going to want to research and get to know your company, what it stands for, how you help your customers, and how you can help them specifically.
A short blub of information is going to make your audience feel as though you’re hiding something. Providing long-form content with tons of information makes you look open and honest about who you are as a company.
What Long-Form Content Marketing Can Do for You
Not only can long-form content provide valuable and informative news, it’s also easier to find on a search engine. Let’s say a person wants to find information about alcohol detox programs. He or she already knows what is needed; They need access to information about programs in their area. Search-engine returns are more likely to find long-form content than something that’s short and blurb-like, such as a tweet.
Tip: It’s easier to incorporate keywords into long-form content and get the results you’re looking for.
Not only is it easier to find this information, long-form content also tends to up your credibility. Providing in-depth and informative copy is a great way to showcase your expertise on any given topic and makes you appear as a leader in your field. It gives your company an authoritative voice that builds trust among readers and clients.
Anyone can tweet about being an expert on addiction, but only a true expert can write a 3,000 word summary about the disease of addiction and the process of alcohol addiction.
Question: Which would you trust more: A 3,000-word essay, or a 300-word paragraph?
This doesn’t mean that short-form content is useless. An ideal marketing campaign will include both short- and long-form content. Tweets, Facebook posts, and short blurbs of copy are great for drawing your audience in. The long-form content is what makes them stay. Combining the two forms together can complement each other and add value to your campaign.
Example: You can tweet about the release of your upcoming white paper or produce a quick YouTube video as a teaser for your e-book.
Use short-form content to drive viewers to your long-form content, and then hopefully to your customer base!
Putting Your Plan Into Motion
Now that you understand the basics of long-form content, it’s time to create and then implement an effective plan. Here are some key points to consider when coming up with any marketing plan.
- Define Your Purpose. What do you want to accomplish with your long-form content? To provide expert information? To describe your company’s products or services? Come up with a clear mission statement on what you want out of your campaign.
- Hone in on Your Audience. With long-form content, you are most likely going to be reaching people who are familiar with your topic and want more information about it. Whether it’s B2B, teens or sporting-goods enthusiasts, make sure the information you provide jives with your market.
- Choose Your Channels. How will you deliver this information? On your website, your blog, your YouTube video channel? Keep your delivery method in mind when creating your campaign.
- Clarify Your Process. Organize your marketing team, come up with an editorial calendar and make sure you know how to best use SEO to attract those readers.
Long-form content marketing is a tool that can take your campaign far. By showcasing your expertise and taking the time to create something of value, your business can reap the rewards by converting followers into customers.
Question: Do you agree? Do you believe that it’s important to have both short- and long-term content on your website or blog?
Michelle is a blogger and freelancer. She’s written about almost every topic under the sun, and loves constantly learning about new subjects and industries while she’s writing. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.