Almost 90 percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers use content marketing. In your industry, it’s a useful strategy for developing brand awareness, attracting high-value leads, and building client loyalty. A lot of content marketing strategies, however, forget long-form content.
What is long-form content, though?
Long-form content is a proven way to improve your content marketing strategy and its results. In this blog post, you can get the complete story on long-form content, from what it is to why it matters to how to write it. Get started now!
The definition of long-form content
Marketers define long-form content by its length, which generally ranges from 700 to 1200 words. As more companies adopt long-form content, however, it’s becoming more common for marketers to focus on content with 1200 words or more.
With its high word count, long-form content can cover a variety of topics. It can address complex procedures, designs, policies, and more. Or, it can take an in-depth look at a simple topic, like the uses of a piece of equipment or hardware.
The versatility of long-form content makes it useful for companies in a variety of industries. Whether your company operates in the industrial, manufacturing, or oil and gas industry, you can take advantage of long-form content.
3 reasons long-form content matters to industrial businesses
Industrial businesses adopt long-form content for a few reasons, including:
1. USERS RESPOND TO IT
Companies in the marketing sector have completed numerous studies on the impact of long-form content. In each of these studies, they found that users respond better to long-form content versus short-form content.
A study by WordStream, a provider of online advertising software, demonstrates how users react to long-form content. After WordStream adopted long-form content, it tripled its average time on site, which means users stayed on their website longer to read content and browse related articles.
When it comes to content marketing, you want this level of interaction from users. It shows that your company’s created not only relevant content but also captured the attention (and possibly trust) of your target market, which can result in new leads and sales.
2. SEARCH ENGINES LOVE IT
While your content focuses 100 percent on your audience, it depends on search engines. Without a search engine like Google or Bing, users unfamiliar with your business will probably never find it on the Internet.
That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical part of content marketing.
With SEO, your team (or digital marketing agency) optimizes your content for users and search engines. Your long-form content, for example, may feature keywords that capture the topic you’re writing about, like the different grades of stainless steel.
For reference, a keyword is a word or phrase that people use on search engines. Someone looking for a breakdown on stainless steel grades, for instance, may search, “stainless steel grades,” which your team could then use as a keyword for your long-form content on stainless steel grades.
Publishing user-focused and search engine-friendly content helps your company maximize the impact of your long-form content strategy. You’re not only writing content that users want (and need) but also helping them find that content through search.
In the B2B sector, search is valuable because 71 percent of B2B clients start their product search there.
3. INDUSTRY LEADERS NOTICE IT
No matter your specific market, it’s essential for your business to earn the trust of potential clients. Longform content can help your company accomplish that, especially when your competitors aren’t producing any content for their site.
A well-produced long-form guide, for example, can capture the attention of not only business leaders but also staff members who work with them. Via word-of-mouth recommendations, your website and blog can get noticed by some of the highest value leads in the industry.
Earning the attention of these valuable business buyers can make your company a top choice when they’re ready to buy. From your content, they know your team understands the industry, as well as their challenges. That’s why they call your business, rather than a competitor.
How to write long-form content for your industrial company
Now that you know what long-form content is and why it matters, are you ready to write some? While your team won’t draft your first piece of long-form content today, this six-step walkthrough for creating long-form content can help get you started.
1. Research your target buyer
Before your company starts producing long-form content, you need to understand your target buyer. For long-form content that performs, your team needs to understand the pain points, questions, and needs of your audience.
In most cases, your business will likely have some on-hand information about your ideal buyer. While it’s helpful to reference this information, it’s beyond valuable to research your audience online and see what they’re discussing and asking right now.
A few ways you can research your audience online include:
- Browse industry forums
- Check-in on social media groups
- Explore question-and-answer sites like Quora
If you can, it’s also worth chatting with your sales team. Since they’ve interacted with clients one-on-one, they have firsthand experience when it comes to the questions, needs, and goals of your target market.
2. Investigate competitor content
Next, take some time to review your competitors’ content. Browse their websites and blogs, as well as social media profiles. In most cases, you’ll find long-form content on a company’s site and blog, though they’ll often share it via social media.
Depending on your competitor, they may not have a content marketing strategy. Or, they may use content marketing, but their plan doesn’t include long-form content. If that’s the case, it’s a tremendous opportunity for your business.
If your competitor does use content marketing, as well as long-form content, compile a list of their topics. While you don’t want to copy-and-paste your competitor’s strategy, you do want to look for content gaps.
A content gap describes content that you and your competitor haven’t covered.
3. Compile a list of topics
With your audience research and competitor analysis completed, your team can build a list of potential long-form content ideas. As you create your list, it’s essential for your company to do some keyword research. Each topic, for example, should target a primary keyword and some related keywords.
This proactive step helps your business remove low-value content topics from your list. While your company may come back to these topics later, you want to start your content strategy by focusing on high-value, low-competition topics first.
You can assess the value of a topic by evaluating the search volume, competition, and cost-per-click (CPC) of a keyword. Free tools like keywordtool.io and Ubersuggest can provide your team with instant keyword data.
4. Write your content
After compiling and evaluating your content topics, your company can move onto the writing phase. Before creating your first draft, take the time to outline your content topic. That way, you know what you need to cover, plus provide yourself with a helpful reference.
For the best results, the person writing your content should understand your industry. If you partner with an agency, like IndustrialFX, we feature a dedicated team of writers with experience in the industrial and manufacturing sector.
When you have a writer with industry experience producing your content, it makes a tremendous difference. Readers can tell they know and understand the market, which can improve their trust of your business and confidence in your long-form content.
No matter who writes your content, though, it’s essential for someone to proofread it.
In most cases, your long-form content will undergo a few drafts and revisions. Once you finish those updates, however, your team can move onto designing custom graphics. While you can work with a professional designer, you can also use free tools like Canva.
5. Promote your content
Ok, you’re ready to publish your content, but your work isn’t over. While optimizing your long-form content for search engines will help it earn valuable traffic, outreach by your team can provide your content with immediate exposure and positive signals that help your SEO.
With outreach, your company needs to connect with industry news sites, bloggers, and other influencers in your industry. Sharing your long-form content with them can help drive traffic to your website, as well as improve your backlink profile.
For reference, your backlink profile describes the quantity and quality of externals sites linking to yours.
Outreach isn’t easy, though. Journalists receive dozens of emails a day, which makes it difficult for yours to get noticed. They also aren’t looking to help your company. Instead, they’re looking to provide value to their readers.
That’s why your team needs to emphasize the value of your content to readers — and fast. When you write short and concise, yet personalized emails that demonstrate the value of your content from a reader’s perspective, you can earn valuable shares and shout-outs.
Need help with your long-form content?
Long-form content offers an immense return on investment (ROI), but it also requires a significant investment from your team. You need to compile topics, research keywords, design graphics, conduct outreach, and more.
It’s a challenge, and if you need some help, IndustrialFX is here to assist.
With more than 20 years of experience, plus a dedicated team of content strategists and copywriters, we offer unparalleled service and results. In the past five years alone, we’ve helped our clients earn more than 4.6 million leads and more than $1.5 billion in revenue.
Learn how we can help your business by contacting us online today!