Long form content is making a comeback in marketing. If you want to ensure your content successfully cuts through the noise, here are my five simple tips.
1. Be Unique: Content marketing is awash with “me-too” topics. “Understanding Big Data”, “Deliver a Great Customer Experience” etc. Give your audience something they haven’t seen before, or at least ensure you spin the topic to be less generic and more unique to your own offer and target market. Perhaps it’s “Understanding Big Data for Restaurateurs”, or “How Cinema Chains Can Deliver a Great Customer Experience”. Find your clear water.
2. Be Useable: Making content shareable is one thing; making it useable opens up a whole new realm of value. I’ve been sat at conferences only to watch a potential client present market insight that he’s pulled directly from one of our reports / whitepapers. It’s a huge sign of respect and trust – and a great ice-breaker!
Try offering readers supplementary content assets; if your long form content includes charts and data, offer them as individual, separate graphics files or as useable powerpoint slides (just make sure you include yourself as the source).
3. Be Confident: You are the experts in your field and you [should] know more about a topic than your target audience. You are sharing this content to a) educate and b) display credibility. Show that expertise and be bold in your commentary. No one wants to read “we think”. They want a strong opinion; they want “we know this to be a fact because….”
4. Be one voice: When dealing with long form content it’s easy to delegate its creation across multiple people and share the workload. “Bob, you take the section on customer value. Sarah, can you write the introduction and also ask Phil from Engineering to write a chapter on innovation.”Believe me, this just doesn’t work. What you’ll get back will be a collection of copy with different narrative styles and counter arguments. You’ll spend another week just editing and stitching it all back together. Whether you are writing this yourself or commissioning it out to a freelancer, make sure you have a single coherent voice.
5. Be peer reviewed: So, you’ve created your piece of long-form content. You’ve made sure it’s unique, useable and that it has a single voice. But is it accurate, effective and brand aligned? While the need to maintain a single voice is crucial during production, this doesn’t negate the need to consult with peers before publication to ensure that messaging is factually correct, that it will have the desired call to action and that it’s aligned with company values. Typical approval processes include marketing and legal; however also consider engaging with the sales team to ensure its hitting the pain points that their customers are talking about.