The What, Why, How of Long Form Content Marketing
Long form content, one of the many marketing strategies, has been the ace in the sleeve of inbound marketers. It not only skyrockets your customers’ engagement, but also converts much better other types of content.
What is Long Form Content?
A brief search on Google about “long form content” leads us to multiple, sometimes conflicting definitions. If you are guessing that it’s content that’s extra long, you are on the right track.
Joshua Steimle from Forbes.com said that a piece of long form content should be around 1200-2000 words.
But, there’s more to the story…
Chris Knowles from premium.wpmudev.org believes that long form content should deliver a feel and look quite different from a regular blog post from your primary website. It should also signal to the readers that such type of content is special and requires a significant amount of time investment to produce. For example, check out Snow Fall by The New York Times.
Why Long Form Content?
Given the time and effort required for producing long form content, many companies are hesitant to start taking on their long form journey. But those who put in the extra effort have seen great results, such as Moz and WordStream.
According to Majestic SEO, Moz’s free Beginner’s Guide To SEO has been visited over 1 million times, and has been linked to more than 36,000 times. This free guide has 10 chapters, and its downloadable PDF has 67 pages! Wordstream also saw that visitors have stayed on their page three times as long as before. What does all of this mean? Lower bounce rates and higher page views show Google that these pages are highly credible and popular—as a result, they get ranked higher in the SERPs. Besides the extra ranking benefits, long form content can generates more leads and establish you as the thought leader of your industry.
How to Do Long Form Content Marketing?
By now, you should realize that long form content is harder to produce than a regular blog post. It requires a tremendous amount of time and financial commitment in order to make it successful.
A Word of Caution
Long form content is not for everyone. Before you venture into this strategy, take a look at your Google Analytics, see what type of content performs the best, and if your audience is ready for long form. Do they prefer short blog posts or longer blog posts? How about the bounce rate for each type? Or you can conduct a Google Consumer Survey and directly ask participants if they would like to read more in-depth articles.
Chris Knowles proposed a few important questions that will help you decide whether you are ready for long form:
1. Are you committed?
2. DIY or hire a pro?
3. Does your long form content need its own unique template?
4. Should you make your content available in other formats (pdf, webinar, e-book, etc.)?
5. Does your print version measure up?
6. Which platform are you going to optimize for?
7. How are you going to facilitate discussion?