Even in this day and age, content remains king in the kingdom of digital marketing. But not all kings are created equal. Some are more powerful than others.
And according to experts, those who want to maximize the power of SEO marketing in building brands, generating leads, and, most of all, making sales should consider long-form content.
What Is Long-form Content?
Long-form content is a complete, lengthy text, although not everyone seems to agree on the ideal length. Some say that anything that’s at least 700 words can already belong to this category. Others believe it should be not less than 1,500 words.
What they all agree on is the fact that this type of content offers comprehensive insights on the subject at hand. The quality and depth of research are usually phenomenal. Long forms are compelling, in-depth pieces written to create an experience for the reader.
The term “long-form” has been associated with the newspaper industry since the late 1960s. Even then, publishers were aware that people tended to prefer reading longer articles instead of short ones, so they just started giving their products more pages.
Why Long-form Content Is a Great Marketing Tool
The last few years have seen a shift in focus for marketers and content creators from quick, snackable content to ever more ambitious long-form storytelling.
What was once an exception is now the rule: media outlets like Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post pivoted towards greater depth over breadth, while countless brands created epic pieces of branded content that would never fit into a single tweet or status update.
Many publications moved away from publishing multiple articles per day toward a much slower one-article-per-day model to ensure that stories were better edited and had more time devoted to promotion and distribution. Others doubled down on their commitment to creating high-quality native advertising.
And as more and more marketers have begun investing in long-form content, they’ve spent less time worrying about whether their ad landing pages are using the right font. The pivot to long-form has often been accompanied by a shift away from direct-response campaigns focused on lead generation toward brand-storytelling efforts designed to drive overall website traffic.
These changes are happening because long-form content can offer the following benefits:
1. Increased Engagement
There are only so many things you can do within a single tweet or status update. This means that when you create longer pieces of content, it forces people to engage with your brand for longer periods. In a Pew study, a person’s average time reading a long news article on a mobile device was 123 seconds compared to 57 seconds when reading stories with less than 1,000 words.
This is incredibly important because there’s an opportunity not just for increased exposure across search results pages (after all, having more words is better than having fewer) but also the chance to drive referral traffic from social media channels like Twitter and Facebook that don’t rely on links.
2. Increased Word of Mouth
While creating excellent branded content would have been enough to generate positive word of mouth in the past, long-form content greatly enhances this process. Not only are readers more likely to notice any backlinks included within these pages, but they’re also more likely to share branded pieces of content after spending long periods with them.
3. Impressive SEO Metrics
It should come as no surprise that Google wants people to create longer pieces of content, given its commitment to delivering useful search results for searchers. While many brands have been warned not to go overboard with creating page length at the expense of compelling content, this has not stopped some companies from experimenting with longer pieces of content.
This is especially true if you are launching a new product or service. You need to explain the benefits of your offering in detail. How-to guides also fall within this category. They provide longer descriptions of how your product can be used for more specific tasks.
Finally, success stories, interviews, and case studies are examples of content that educate prospects by giving them valuable information that will hopefully convince them to become paying customers.
Meanwhile, all these types of long articles can give you a lot of room to add diverse keywords, from primary to long tail, so you can improve your ranking in search engines.
Not all articles in a blog or website need to be extremely long. In the end, people would still want to see versatility and diversity. However, for topics that matter the most, long ones seem to be more suitable.