When it comes to content marketing, longer articles are extremely useful if something needs to be explored, intrigued consumers require more information on complex questions or a more digital market is in need of educating on more complex subjects. With a growing digital industry, the majority of audience members turn to online sources, such as Google, to find answers to any particular problem they face. Although short-term content schemes, like vine videos, are a particularly innovative, modern idea, they don’t offer enough for assertive people in need of lengthier articles. Long-Form content should therefore be embraced and used to its advantage.
However, marketers must adhere to new guidelines in order for their company, product or service to be seen and consumed more successfully. What ways can they do this? Here are five top tips in writing successful long-form content.
1) Serve a strategic purpose
If you want to ensure a distracted audience gives their full attention and consumes all the content you produce, you need to consider any questions your target audience may have. Making sure your piece is meaningful to your given audience, you need to ensure your purpose is in the greatest interest of who it is you’re writing your piece for. By knowing your audience, you can then offer them the answers that fulfil a particular need they may have, in a way where it is both educational and that gives you their full attention.
The best way to achieve this is in the development process. Doing your research before you put pen to paper will allow you to build up a structure that successfully puts across all relevant information.
A great recent example of this is Emily Mace’s blog entry for Vertical Leap, titled: ‘What do I need to know about Universal Analytics?
Visually, you can see it is an extremely elongated piece which could dissuade her audience away from reading till the end. However, what Emily has successfully achieved throughout her piece is through the use of a clear layout. She has split her blog into smaller digestible sections. Each of these sections cover a particular question her target audience may have, allowing them to find what it is they are looking for without the need of reading pages of work.
You’re writing a Long-form content piece, but how many words defines ‘long’?
This is a question that many people will ponder and question but realistically, the more informative things you write, the more you are offering to your audience. To write in-depth information within 250 words is ambitious. Red Rocket Media found during a straw poll that a minimum of 500 words is sufficient enough, but again it depends on the writer. As long as you ensure what you are writing all has a purpose and you don’t repeat the same piece of information over and over, the more credibility you will give yourself. Allow yourself enough words and paragraphs to demonstrate your expertise in a way that shares your knowledge.
3) Make it easily accessible
Creating long-form content allows you to demonstrate your knowledge, making you appear like an expert in your field. This gives you an automatic advantage from a SEO point of view, purely because you are publishing valuable and informative content. By ensuring the content is easily searched via online search engines, more and more people can access it, spreading the word and promoting your company further.
Also, by optimising your sources and allowing customers to view the article on both a laptop and a mobile, customers can view the piece on the go. This is particularly useful if they need to switch devices.
4) Allow content to be shared amongst other media platforms
With a large amount of the population using online media sites, opportunities to share, talk about and comment on content are sufficient. By incorporating social media within an article, either by including hash tag trends or tweet links throughout the article, consumers are encouraged to share and talk about it with their peers. If the content is successfully written and problem solves more than one issue, sharing through social media sites spreads the word and can effectively make the article go ‘viral’.
Promotion before publication could also help share and spread the word as it builds momentum for the content. It plants a seed for your article and the best ways of promoting this is through sending emails and again, social media sites.
5) Embed images and/or videos
Including images and/or a video into your content makes it easier on the eye as consumers read and process information. It helps break down the paragraphs which can effectively compliment the detailed writing, making it more entertaining to read. By embedding images, companies can easily ‘pin’ themselves to Pinterest, a photo-sharing website that allows users to manage a variety of images through a pinboard-style layout, where people can re-pin, like and browse other photos. This visual bookmark offers marketers to be more creative by augmenting their content with multimedia elements. Embedding images also gives an opportunity to play around with Transmedia storytelling, as long as it doesn’t detract from the article.
Although this highlights the advantages of using Long-form content, short-term is still just as effective. It’s learning how to use the best of both forms to widen your marketing campaign and make the most of your strategies.