Content comes in all shapes and sizes. Articles, videos, social media snippets, newsletters… the list goes on.
Whether you are a B2B or a B2C company], though, there are two types of content are essential.
The peas: blog articles & social media
The meat & potatoes: LONG-FORM CONTENT. (specifically, 2 types: e-books/guides/white papers and case studies)
Here’s exactly why your content market strategy needs this long-form content:
1. It lets your prospective customers go deep.
I’ll using a dating-app analogy here. On one end of the spectrum, you’ve got Tinder, and then on the other end you’ve got eHarmony. Generally speaking, more folks go on Tinder for a 'good time' and more folks go on eHarmony for a 'relationship' (without being judgemental about your dating life, this is just a useful analogy for you, folks). So you might start with a Tinder or PlentyOfFish, but when you're really ready to find that special someone, that’s when you’ll go down the eHarmony or the Match.com route.
It’s the same when it comes to long-form content. Your customers might first see you through your social media feed or stumble across your website somehow, but - as their interest piques - they’ll want to go deeper with you. They can't connect with you and make some form of commitment, without this depth you give.
2. Greater opportunity for persuasion
There’s only so much you can communicate in a tweet or even a blog post. Even if it a list post, you may be able to cover a variety of different points but the chances are that they’ll all be linked to the one central theme of the article. With long-form content, you can really take the reader on a powerful and meaningful journey. You can show them (subtly or unsubtly), just how they can benefit from your product or service - and clearly demonstrate that all-important Return-on-Investment (ROI) - especially as a B2B business, where justifying this is important in order for them to splash out on your product/service.
“If short form helps them see part of the tree, long-form let’s you show them all of the trees in the entire wood”.
3. Long-form content, executed well, makes for excellent lead-capturing. (and then you can take your potential customer -> the (pre-)sale, AKA the ultimate goal.
Your long-form content should be your very best, A++ content. Much effort should have been made into showing yourself off. It should be the content that when they read it, they go WOW. And then get them to click & take that next action (the pre-sale or the sale itself). But there’s a real opportunity here for them to give them OUTSTANDING VALUE in a way that’s useful to them (but that also isn't giving away your best stuff for free).
By demonstrasting remarkable value through an e-book or a guide, you can capture their email address; essentially, they are “opting-in” to receive this newsletter and, with a tick of another box, are giving their permission to receive newsletter from you. And - after reading your awesome e-book and info. contained within, they’ll only be happy to. Imagine that? Happy to hear from you. That’s what you should be aiming for, and that’s when you’re onto a winner.
Even if the customer doesn’t take the (pre-)sale action right there and then, you have been given permission to keep in touch with them - to keep on reminding them who are you are demonstrating outstanding value in terms of content you are providing, webinars you are hosting, or in-person events you are running.
With each interaction, the connection deepens and thus the likelihood of getting ££s and good brand vibes increases. Gentle persistence and outstanding value pays off, for sure.
4. Long-Form Content provides a handy all-in-one place outline for your prospect. You are making their life easier...
... and, if you are a B2B business, this is extremely useful for your prospect to effectively have a ‘pitchdeck’ that they can use to show their colleagues or stakeholders in other departments to say Guys, check this out. We need to go for this - by showing them what they’ll get, how you’ll help, and what they can expect ROI-wise.
5. Show them beautifully-crafted & well-told Case Studies...
... so that your prospective customers can hear from your customers about how good you are and how amazing you have been.
There can’t really be anya rgument agfter they’ve seen these. More ammo for them to realise Sh*t, these folks are goooood.
If you don’t have customer case studies as yet, you really, really ought to.
Long-form Content is the rocket-fuel for your content strategy.
If blog articles and social media is the little guys on the ground who politely shepherd them to the base of the rocket-ship, it’s the Long-form Content which is THE rocket-fuel that’ll launch them into orbit and blow their mind.
For a B2C business, they’ll want you right there and then. Demo/pre-sales call booked.
If they’re a B2B, they’ll do the above and engage with any relevant stakeholders to bring them onto that rocket-shop and get them feeling dizzy from the zero-gravity (in a good way, of course).
If you haven’t already, your business needs long-form content as part of its content marketing strategy. It is good, good stuff.