Ben Dickens, December 10, 2013
Whilst I admit that on the surface the online world we live in seems to place a great amount of importance on short-form content, it’s the long-form content that really engages consumers. It’s our job as a full service agency to get to the truth and uncover these insights. You will be able to find multiple articles that celebrate the economy of a 140 character Tweet; of ten minute Ted talks that are revolutionising everyday education; and of infographics that can explain complex data in a scannable and shareable visual.
So where does this leave long-form content? Is it all over for articles that run into thousands of words? The answer is no. Here are the reasons why long-form content should play a role in your content marketing strategy.
Google likes long-form
While you should always create content for real people, the fact that Google likes long-form content cannot and should not be ignored. There is little use in creating content if Google won’t rank it and people can’t find it. Content without an audience is the tree that falls in the woods with nobody to hear it – it’s irrelevant. Google is getting smarter and it knows if you are creating derivative short-form copy that isn’t telling your audience anything new. It favours content that is original and in-depth, and that truly offers something to its audience.
Encourage engagement and loyalty
It is a fact that reading a 10,000 word treatise on the latest trends in your business is not going to be appealing to everybody, but since when is successful content marketing, or successful business for that matter, about appealing to the lowest common denominator? If you have a niche audience, they will appreciate well
There was a time when access to long-form content meant storing bulky encyclopaedias on your shelf and subscribing to numerous printed magazines, but that is no longer the case. In our age of mobile technology, everybody can have access to long-form content on their smartphones, tablets, and kindles. The staggering popularity of online self-publishing indicates that a broad cross-section of people are accessing long-form content regularly via their mobile devices. Not only is long-form content accessible via many devices, but it is becoming easier and easier to manage how we read this content through sites and apps such as longreads.com
People love stories
Human beings are storytellers by nature. We find our way through the world by talking to other people, by sharing our viewpoint, and by listening to the tales of others. Storytelling is something we have always participated in, and something that we engage with every day. Marketers responsible for creating content can get so caught up in following trends that they forget they are writing for real people. There is no better way of making your audience feel something than by getting into the details of storytelling, exploring deep psychologies, and giving your audience the kind of context that short-form simply cannot provide.
In conclusion, short-form content undoubtedly has its place, but when you want to create something valuable for your audience that promotes true engagement and loyalty, long-form content should be at the heart of your content marketing strategy.
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