Long-form copy — 1,500 or more words — has received a lot of attention recently among content marketers and SEOs. Long-form content, when well executed, certainly goes a long way toward establishing credibility and expertise. And there is no doubt that from an SEO perspective, good long-form content (HTML text) gets favorable treatment from Google’s crawlers.
The problem comes with “well executed” and “good.” Creating high-quality long-form content, especially a steady stream of it, is no easy task. It requires research, interpretation of data, perhaps a week’s worth of time from a highly talented (and probably highly compensated) copywriter, extensive editing, extensive client/internal review, more editing, and considerable time from the design team to create supporting graphical elements.
Whew, lots of work. Is long-form content worth the effort?
As it always is with marketing, the answer to that question is: It depends. For sure, creating long-form content because it’s the latest shiny object, or because you see competitors doing it, is not a good reason. It is too expensive an undertaking, and with no quantification of goals, a money pit waiting to be dug. Situations where long-form content makes a lot of sense include:
- If you are in a business where expertise is a critical factor in securing new business, long-form content gives you a great chance to showcase yours. Businesses from accounting to home remodeling to health care certainly benefit from “going long.”
- If your brand is not widely known, long-form content can help you build credibility and enable you to be published on highly respected and highly trafficked blogs in your industry and related industries.
- If you are already committed to SEO, and the results are neutral to positive, long-form content should help you take your campaign up a notch, perhaps several notches. (I’d be careful about diving into long-form if your SEO is failing, since there may be underlying reasons that would negate the potential of long-form. It’s not a silver SEO bullet.)
- If you sell complex, technical products, long-form content that explains and softly sells them could be a terrific and very direct way to generate sales leads. In this case, the best “home” for your long-form content could be your website’s appropriate product page.
Over to You
What’s your impression of long-form content? Where do you think it works best?