Have you been adopting a short-and-sweet approach to your content? Concise, short-form content with a focus on keyword optimisation has often been seen as the way to drive more traffic to your site and keep users engaged in a world of shrinking attention spans. But studies now show that long-form content is actually performing better than short-form across search and social – and it holds some clear advantages from a B2B marketing perspective too.
What counts as long-form?
Debate rages on as to how many words it takes before content goes from short-form to long-form. Maybe asking “how long is a piece of long-form content?” is a bit like asking “How long is a piece of string?” Rather than focusing on precise lengths, it is better to consider the purpose of the content and why long-form is lengthier than short-form alternatives.
We know that early in the sales process, users want instant headline facts and figures to help them create their shortlist. But when they get further along in the process, content that provides all the information needed to make an informed purchasing decision is invaluable.
Long-form content could thus be said to be anything that goes in-depth on a product, service or topic with the aim of educating and informing the reader. Typical types of long-form content include whitepapers, e-books, how to guides, case studies, and lengthy blog posts.
Increasing value and engagement
Research shows that users are more likely to be engaged by long-form content than short-form. One study has shown that creating longer, more in-depth content has amplified the average amount of time users spend on site from 1 minute 33 seconds to 4 minutes 35 seconds.
And that increase isn’t limited to devices with larger screens; even on mobile, where common practices suggest that ‘shorter is better’, content over 1,000 words long has been shown to keep users engaged for more than twice as long as short-form. The evidence therefore suggests that long-form content is an effective way of optimising user engagement.
Audiences are engaged by longer-form content in part because of the assumed value and authority it holds. Detailed, well-researched and well-written content is a great way to position yourself as an authority in your field, situating you as thought leaders and boosting your reputation. People are driven to content because they have a problem that needs solving. A detailed, information-rich piece of content can be the preferred solution to that problem.
You may be beginning to see why investing in long-form copy is a great strategy for B2B marketers. B2B sales typically involve products or services that are more of a commitment to purchase and entail a multi-layered purchasing cycle. The products themselves are often highly technical and complex to explain. Authoritative long-form content then becomes a great way to inform and educate your reader to the point where they are totally comfortable making a purchasing decision.
Search and social benefits of long-form
Perhaps because of its human engagement benefits, longer-form content also yields results from a search and social media perspective. A Hubspot study found that articles with a word count between 2,250 and 2,500 words earn the most organic traffic, and that articles with a word count over 2,500 get shared the most on social media. Content length also makes an impact on SERPs. Research has found that the top-ranked content for search results is around 2,450 words, again suggesting that long-form content helps situate brands as the authority within their field.
By offering authoritative and informative content that engages readers, brands can harness the power of long-form content. The results are better online visibility and increased sales. Research shows that long-form is liked by Google and readers – which is why it’s starting to be loved by B2B marketers.
How we can help: from whitepapers to in-depth landing pages, Miramar can produce long-form content that engages your audience. Get in touch!