How Your Site Benefits From Long Form Content

Aug 9, 2017

This post is going to make you RICH! Content rich, that is, because long form content for blogging and marketing materials is on the rise.

Long form journalism has been around for ages, however, the move to digital long-form storytelling and marketing is fairly new.

Blog posts in the 400-600 or 500-800 words count are generally akin to reading one or both pages of an open novel. The text is easily digestible because these posts only take a couple minutes to read and contain relevant information. The goal is to create and disseminate enough short posts that search engines, like Google, will crawl your site more often.

And this is true. If your site has a vast quantity of relevant content, Google will like you more. So long as your content doesn’t repeat itself, stays on message and doesn’t look like anything else already on your site. The more content you publish, the more you have to keep an eye on if you’ve already published something similar.

Long form content works best when you can exhaust a subject matter without leaving the reader exhausted. Taking a post past 1,000 words, even over 3 or 4,000 words is beneficial to your website and its viral capabilities.

Longer posts lend to a site’s expertise on certain subject matters and lend more legitimacy and credibility to a business or organization after publication.

White papers and case studies are the perfect examples of long-form content meant for marketing purposes. A white paper is meant to give background information, provide tips or solve a problem through the guise of a research paper though fully sponsored by the author’s organization.

Case studies are reports of progress based on further extensions of the problem/solution relationship shared by white papers. Case studies can dive deep into technical language or display graphics and charts intended to liven up normally droll raw statistical information.

Both white papers and case studies, along with all long form content, should include some form of graphics. Thousands of words of text is unflattering in a digital landscape, no matter how great the copy is. It is important to remember that, while your readers may be taking in as much that’s in a few pages of a novel, your website should not look like a book.

Other Types of Long Form Media

Video is another way to produce long form content without the need for wearing out your scroll function. Video offers your business staying power in the mind of your viewer more than text, more so if the video is teaching the reader something a la webinars or tutorials.

Podcasts provide another layer to the long form landscape, both to journalism and to overall marketing efforts. Most reputable podcasts last at least one hour. Some go on for as long as each party wishes to converse.

A caveat of marketing on podcasts, however, is finding one that stays on message related to the brand. Is the sole focus of the podcast part of a long form content piece or strategy? Or is the podcast merely an advertising vehicle while the leading voice meanders through a multitude of topics?

The former will engage your interests throughout a series, while the latter is used for short advertisements in the same vein as radio or TV spots.

Who Reads Long Form Content?

This answer may shock you, but it’s the oft-denigrated but never fully explained. Millennials that are craving long form content. Generation Y is now the dominant age group, surpassing the Baby Boomers. This group now controls what’s on television, what’s popular at the box office and the majority of the news that rolls up and down your social media feeds.

This same group craves a break from all of that above.

If you are familiar with Twitter then you know it can be full of usernames trading 140-character barbs for hours on end.

It’s nice to take a break for a while and dive deep into a topic without traveling to the nearby Barnes & Noble or download a file to Kindle. Devices – primarily smartphones – are already in their hands. Millennials are simply searching for their digital dens.

Long form content also tends to be seen as more truthful. We, disappointingly, live with a stream of ‘fake news’ bombarding our 24-hour news cycle. Lending credibility to the organization that’s behind the content is important and the content itself is seen as more genuine the more differing opinions or a multitude of sources are shared.

The world is messy sometimes and this cohort of 18-35-year olds knows it more than most. To paraphrase Rocky Balboa, the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. Millennials want something to bite into, knowing it might bite back.

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What Topics Should I Cover?

Unless you have your heart set on a case study or white paper tackling one specific product or point of view your business created or corners the market, long form content can be open to interpretation.

And that might not be something you want to hear as a business owner or marketing strategist.

Long form stories involve one narrative but told from multiple viewpoints covering a few different bits of information under one subject’s umbrella. Take this journalism piece of an avalanche or this story on the history of the underwater internet.

In five years, The New York Times’ SnowFall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek generated nearly 4 million views, shares and engagements for the newspaper of record searching for a foothold in the digital landscape.

Messages in the Deep is a riveting journey of how modern fiber optic cable came to be universal by way of undersea activity. It’s meant to reinforce how Builtvisible approaches and attacks projects so it can one day share its measurements to its prospective digital performance clients.

Even this post on long form content encapsulates the previous three months of Valorous Circle blogging, from generational uses of social media, ‘fake news,’ the duplication of content and the use of video to enhance traditional forms of blogging and digital marketing.

Is Long Form Content Right For Me?

Empirically, long form stories drive more traffic to your site than short posts. You shouldn’t, however, rely on long form content. Time consumption is one of the key aspects of work efficiency and the blog posts and articles of this length demand more of your time.

A short post may only take an hour out of your day, while consequently thousands of words on a web page includes more time for editing, image placement, structure, headings and linking.

Plus, long form content isn’t for every industry. Like a great music group, concerts are going to be longer after 25 or 35 years. A new band with one album – or a new site with a handful of clients, services and products – isn’t expected to take up too much of your time.

But if you feel as if your site is deserving of long form content added to your website, don’t hesitate to fill out one of our forms or click the orange button below to schedule an appointment with Valorous Circle.