As an inbound marketer, you're comfortable putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, you're a giver beyond words and exceptionally empathetic. But as a 21st century businessperson, it's hard to be this lovely 24/7! Writing content might be something you enjoy doing, but you're desperate to get it over and done with, so you can move on to the next thing on your list, be it writing something else, sending out your emails, holding meetings with clients or checking to see that Chad the intern is off his phone (I see you Chad).
So as a total busy-body, can you remember the last time you wrote over 2000 words? Maybe you have ... writing the Christmas lunch grocery list or 'helping' your daughter out with their last minute uni assignment. But have you taken the time to write a long-form guide or eBook for your business? Hmmm. If you haven't, you might be thinking that the juice probably isn't worth the squeeze, and if you have, you know how much work it is and have your own feelings about whether it's worth the trouble.
But success in content, comes from truly putting yourself in your customers shoes and writing as though you're a content consumer, rather than a marketer. Setting aside the time to create something valuable, inspiring and bookmark-able will establish you as the most goddamn trustworthy thing on the internet, as well as give you more of what you want. Keen for somma' that? Let me show you how writing long-form content will give you more online visibility, more proof of authority and more material for engagement. So what does long-form content give you?
1. Something to Promote
How great is social media? It's never been easier to get the word out about your business, because hey - everyone's on it.
The stickler with it however, is that you have to have something to share! While you might be rolling your eyes wishing your irritating facebook friends would take that advice, your content is far more helpful when you have something valuable to promote. Enter long-form content! While blog posts are great for fleshing out your platforms, long-form guides give you the chance to create campaigns and an excuse to experiment with ads, building both an audience and a base of loyal followers frothing for more juicy info!
2. Increased Time on Site
If you're reading content that's well written and genuinely helpful to the problem you're trying to solve, how likely is it that you'll leave the page as soon as you're on it? I'd say very unlikely - unless you're reading extensive eBook about why coriander is underrated. With great content comes increased time on your site, as well as more page views, and as a result more precious time in front of your prospects eyes! As the ol' marketing adage goes, 'more time = more trust'.
3. Higher Ranking in Search
serpIQ did a study of the average length of the content in the top 10 results of search queries and found that the top-rated posts usually were over 2,000 words. Hmm... funny that! It's true - the posts that get the most traffic provide detail and unique value that prove the writer to be an expert in their field, fuelling trust and empowering readers through learning. The single best way to do this is to take the time to write super comprehensively in a way you know you would find truly valuable!
4. A Position of Authority
A hidden but extremely powerful reason to create more long-form content is that is shows you're an authoritative, knowledgable educator. What a title! But think about it, if you're able to put a full-blown book together on parts of your industry and what you do, how could people not trust you!
Why Neighbourhood Love Long-Form Content
By way of creating a library of content, many digital marketers solely focus on SEO, ensuring that each of their roughly 700 word blogs are optimised for keywords. The only problem with this strategy? While you'll get loads of search traffic, you won't see much return traffic, direct traffic or brand searches.
As a content writer, I can appreciate that you might find it difficult to set aside time to write long-form content to impress your prospects, especially given audiences' supposedly minuscule attention spans. But here at Neighbourhood, we see writing extensive copy as a time-saving strategy. Sounds a bit whack? Here me out!
As an agency primarily centred around lead generation, we talk to a lot of our clients about content as a primary first step to get people through the door. However, we are met equally as many times with the question, 'how does that work?'. There isn't a 30 second spiel you can just whip out at any given moment to explain the complexities of how content marketing covers all facets of your strategy.
So we thought, 'How good would it be if we had a referable guide that told our prospects everything they need to know about content marketing, so we can get back to providing them value!'. It seemed like a bit of a no-brainer, so we got straight onto it. Over the course of a few weeks, we created an eBook roughly 30 pages long, rich with detailed descriptions, examples, diagrams and a few jokes with an easy-to-follow structure. Once we were happy with the value of the guide, we built a campaign around it, to further educate our people on a topic we knew they wanted answers to.
How to create long-form content
1. Outline your goals
Why do you want to create long form content? Hopefully, it's not just because I'm telling you to, I know I can be quite the persuasive genius, but you need to figure out what you're looking for. Do you want to save time and connect with your customers like we do, grow your email list, get leads, or do you just love storytelling? Before you create long-form content, always ask yourself - who the content is for, why you are writing it, what you'll consider a success and how you'll measure it.
2. Choose your topic
When you're brainstorming ideas for long-form content, always think back to your goals - make sure you have a reason for writing that content! Think about what people are looking for (do some keyword research!), what content you already have that's performing well, what your buyer personas would find valuable, and what your competitors are writing about (can you beat it?).
3. DIY or outsource talent
Whether you do it yourself, or hire a freelancer, quality will ultimately decide whether or not your content flops. When outsourcing your writing, ensure that you provide a clear outline of your goals and get them well acquainted with your audience. The more detail, the better!
4. Design for appearance and practicality
The best content isn't just expertly written, it's also got a sweet design, optimised for a wonderful user experience and lead generation. So start by implementing email sign-up buttons to make it easy for people to get more of your content. Include links to other content, because your eBook might not be exactly what the reader is looking for, but you might have something else they'll love. Ensure you make next steps as seamless as possible, for example make signing up for a newsletter or sharing the content on social media a super obvious and easy process.
5. Create a promotion strategy
Lastly, you don't want to have gone through all of this just to blindly publish the content and cross your fingers hoping for the best - you need a detailed, comprehensive and creative promotion strategy! This might include a mix of strategies including paid ads, email updates, features on your website or even a direct mail campaign. No matter what you choose to do, you need all hands on deck to propel your long-form content into the success stratosphere!
There you have it! You've now got the full low-down on why you need long-form content and how you can create it easily, there's only one thing left to do - get writing!