The importance of longer-form content has been eroded over the years. While it was once seen as critical to have articles about your work in key publications, the need for this became less apparent as the ability to directly target potential customers became easier. However, the landscape seems to be changing again.
Ever since Apple changed its security policy, it has become more difficult to effectively target people based on cookies. While once you could be confident about the number of people you could hit with a paid social campaign, you are now having to work harder to get in front of the relevant eyes. This means that while paid social is still an effective tool when done right, it takes more skill and knowledge to generate the results that people have become used to.
This is where longer-form content is making a comeback. The changing role of cookies hasn’t altered the fact that people are searching for information, it just means that it is harder to find those people after they have been searching. This has led to an obvious change where companies are now trying to shift the point where they target people and serve them relevant content when they are searching for it.
Long form content in the style of case studies, thought leadership, ‘how to’ articles and even news stories can be a good way to get your brand in front of the right eyes. But in order for this to work as you intend, you need to think about a few elements.
The first stage is to think about your audience. Who are you creating this content for and how will it help them? If you don’t know who you want to read the content or what benefits it should bring to them, then the content you create will not serve any real purpose.
Next you need to think about what you want to talk about. Can you cover subjects that will always be relevant so your content can be evergreen and provide value to countless people over the years? Or does it need to be tied to current events, giving it a very limited shelf life and the requirement for regular updates?
After this, consider what could help you find your audience. Good content should always shine through, but a little SEO massage can help an audience to find it more quickly. Do you know the keywords that people are searching for and how those can be applied to your copy in a way that makes sense for the reader and the algorithm? Will a click-bait headline help to put it in front of the right audience?
Finally, you need to think about how you are going to deliver the content to your audience. Will you try to add value by placing it with a relevant publisher? An impartial source can certainly help add gravitas, but it may also take away some of your control of the story. Is your own website the right medium to share the message? This gives you control of what is said and the ability to build larger campaigns around your central message, but it may also not hit the same volume of people that it otherwise could.
The return of longer-form content is something that should be embraced. If it is done properly, it can help businesses of all sizes to improve their visibility.