People of all ages continue to use the internet more and more each week, and countless companies from around the world are hoping to capitalize on this growth by creating a powerful online presence. This can be accomplished in a number of different ways, but most companies will need a multifaceted approach in order to increase the traffic streaming onto their site and then convert that traffic into customers. One of the newest tactics used for search engine optimization is long form content marketing, but many business owners are sill unsure of exactly what this type of marketing is and how it will benefit their company.
What is long form content marketing?
This phrase can be used to describe any form of marketing that is designed to capture an individual’s attention for more than a few moments. This definition is purposefully vague because long form content can be created for practically any medium imaginable. Anything that holds a potential customer’s attention for longer than three or four minutes could technically be considered long form content marketing. Examples can be found on TV and within newspapers, but the term is typically applied to digital content with more than 2,000 words. To put this in perspective, most short stories have between 1,000 and 7,500 words while most digital articles are kept around 500 or 600 words.
The Importance of Content Marketing
Content marketing of all types is absolutely vital to an SEO campaign for two distinct reasons. The first reason is that a company is providing valuable, pertinent, and up-to-date information to their traffic. Even when this information is given away freely, a company is establishing itself as a leader within the field and creating as much contact with their traffic as possible. As potential customers begin to stay on one’s website longer or create links back to this information, then the site’s rankings will begin to climb as well. Companies such as Google use the amount of time that each visitor spends on the site as a very important metric when it comes to that site’s position on the various search engine results pages.
Where did short form content marketing go?
Short form content marketing didn’t actually go anywhere. Just because a new tactic or tool is used to improve a website’s standings does not mean that old tools are tossed aside. In fact, ditching all of your short form content for long form content could be disastrous. Depending on the type of traffic you get and the industry that you are in, the average visitor might be on your website for less than 15 seconds. This is why it is so important to have a clear and eye-catching layout that will get the visitor to exactly where they would like to go. Without short form content, most visitors will see thousands of words and figure it is not worth their time. Each style of content is designed for a different type of visitor and serves a different purpose.
A Look at the Numbers
There are some pretty phenomenal tools that allow business owners and their digital marketing partners to collect vital information. These tools help the marketing specialists get an idea about where traffic is coming from, how long they are staying on the page, how many unique pages they visit, and if they finally contact the company or make a purchase. Unfortunately, much of the information surrounding SEO and marketing tactics is anecdotal at best. Long form content must be slowly adopted into a much larger marketing campaign with constant tweaks as more information is made available.
Our Attention Span
When creating long form content, the single biggest challenge is providing the visitor with information that will overcome a short attention span. Even visitors who have found exactly what they are looking for might head to another site if they believe that the information is too difficult to digest or not worth five to ten minutes of their time. These articles will also be much more time-consuming to produce, so the goal is to use long-form content when it will be a benefit and stick to smaller blocks of information when 1,500+ word articles are not required.
Creating Long Form Content
There is no single method that can be used to create the absolute best long form content. Business owners will need to ask themselves a few very important questions before delving into a longer writing project or contracting out for this work. As your project moves forward, some of the questions you should be asking yourself include:
– Is this content I would read myself?
– Am I providing the reader with valuable information?
– Is the content actionable?
– Do I have a writing style that encourages the reader to finish the article?
– Do I have enough media and graphics to break up the writing?
This short list of questions could easily evolve into dozens of important variables that you will have to consider. The single most important thing to remember when creating this content is that it must provide value to the average reader. Delving into a technical rant about a unique piece of machinery is something that most visitors are not going to be interested in. Describing major breakthroughs in a field and showing visitors how it could change their life, however, could be content that they will read and shared with friends.
Finding a Balance
When it comes to creating content, there is no tactic that will work for every single company. Business owners and their marketing team will need to begin by taking a close look at the current stage of their site, how their SEO is working, and what their goals are for the site’s future. Most business owners will want a blend of short and long form content in order to “funnel” visitors to the next touchpoint.
As a final takeaway, business owners should think of short form content as a tool to help them affordably produce information and connect with visitors almost immediately. Long form content, on the other hand, is designed to educate these visitors, keep them on your website longer, and ultimately position yourself as a leader within your industry.
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