While it's absolutely fair to say that many content marketing professionals understand the importance of actual, high quality content in their overall strategies, it's far too often that long-form pieces are ignored in favor of shorter blogs or even emails. Most of the time, this is due largely to the amount of time and effort it takes to make a piece of long-form content successful in the first place.
But at the same time, it's equally true that long-form content can be some of the most successful content for your business, especially once you've built up a quality history of getting these materials out into the world and into the hands of the people who are eager for them. With that in mind, there are a number of important things you can do to make the process of approaching, strategizing, and even writing long-form content easier than you could have thought possible.
1. Understand the True Goal of What You're Trying to Do
By far, the most important thing for you to understand about long-form content is that you're talking about far more than just another piece of marketing collateral. Really, "selling something" should be the farthest thing from your mind when you sit down in front of your computer and open your word processor.
You have one goal here above all others: you're trying to provide relevant, valuable, and compelling information to your audience. Long-form content should be those pieces that dive deep into the topics that matter most to the people you're speaking to. It should proactively answer their questions or let them think about certain subjects in a new light.
Yes, you can use calls-to-action and other techniques to improve lead generation. But you're not writing a commercial for your business, here. You're establishing your business as a thought leader and a brand worth paying attention to. You can't get to that point if you're only concerned with making a sale as opposed to providing something of legitimate value to your customers.
2. Not Every Topic Will Be Worthy of Long-Form Content
Another critically important thing for you to understand is that not every topic idea you research will be worthy of a 7,500 word eBook. Sometimes, despite your best effort, you'll only be able to hit a few hundred words before it feels like you've run out of things to say.
Believe it or not, this is more than okay.
Those "lightweight" topics are perfect for shorter blog posts, emails, and other collateral of that nature. If it feels like you're stretching a topic too thin to try to get to a larger word count, guess what? Your audience will be able to feel it, too, and they'll quickly lose interest. Save the long-form content for the topics that demand that amount of space.
3. Use Power Words, and Lots of Them
Another key tip for writing successful long-term content involves using power words in both your headline and in the body of your writing.
Power words are those emotional words that strike a direct chord with the reader. Human beings are literally programmed to respond to emotions and the more emotional power words you can use, the more your piece will resonate with those that matter. Power statements might include words like:
4. Always Follow Through on Your Promise
Regardless of what your long-term content is actually about, you need to understand that your headline is more than just a collection of words. It's a promise to your reader that what they're about to open is actually worth their time.
Therefore, you need to avoid the number one sin that most people commit when writing long-form content to begin with: failing to live up to that promise and leaving their readers hanging.
If you're writing a 5,000 word piece about "the secret to your business success that you had no idea existed," whatever that secret is had better be equal parts compelling, relevant, and powerful. It shouldn't be obvious or a topic that has been done to death by so many other writers. It better be legitimately exciting or you'll end up burning far more credibility than you build with this particular exercise.
Create Better Long-Form Content, Build Better Relationships With Your Customers
At ManoByte, we've been helping organizations like yours with all of their inbound content marketing needs for many years, including a healthy emphasis on the types of long-form content that will continue to represent your brand long after you've hit "Publish." Yes, publishing a deep dive on a particular topic requires more effort than a quick blog or email ever will. But when you consider that it helps establish your brand as an authority, builds a high level of credibility, and even establishes loyalty with your audience, it's beyond clear that it's more than worth the effort.
If you'd like to find out more information about the best tips for writing long-form content, or if you just have any additional questions you'd like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please contact ManoByte today.