by Jordan Brannon
Long-form content is generally viewed as a more robust approach to marketing content. It’s usually defined as content that is between 1,200 and 1,500 words or more, although some commentators would recognize long-form content with as few as 1,000 words. Ultimately, however, long-form content is about more than a higher word count; it’s about deep-diving into a relevant topic.
Marketers use long-form content to speak to a knowledgeable audience. This lends itself especially well to B2B marketers, as their audiences typically consist of individuals with years of experience in their industry. B2B products and services also tend to be more technical and require more in-depth explanation to help audiences grasp how they operate and their benefits.
Since B2B audiences have more background knowledge and do more research than the average B2C consumer, they benefit from long-form content. And, they’re increasingly seeking online content as part of their research. A McKinsey study found more than 75% of B2B buyers preferred digital engagement over face-to-face during their buyer’s journey.
If you’re looking to get a higher impact with your B2B business’s long-form content, there are a few key areas to keep in mind.
1. Optimize for SEO
Semrush’s 2020 Content Marketing Survey showed that long-form articles (defined as those over 7,000 words) drove close to four times as much traffic as shorter articles. But, for your content to have an impact, it needs to be found. Organic search drives more than half of traffic to B2B sites and leads from searches have roughly a 7x higher conversion rate than direct mail, so it’s crucial to craft your content for search.
2. Know and Use Your Keywords
The best way to optimize your long-form content for SEO is by identifying and using the best keywords for your business. High search volume and low-competition keywords are best. Research shows that long-tail keywords are the most valuable because they comprise more than 90% of online searches. Once you know your best keyword strings, you need to use them regularly in your content, especially in meta descriptions and titles. Experts also suggest using target keywords every 100 words or so in a given post, integrating them naturally into your writing.
3. Have a Clear Call-to-Action
Every webpage you create or message you send needs a clear call-to-action (CTA). Usually found at the middle or end (or both) of a message, your CTA directs the reader to take a desired action that advances them towards purchase. Examples of CTAs include requesting a demo, filling out a contact form, or downloading a case study. Ensure all of your communications have some sort of highly visible CTA.
4. Convey Knowledge and Authority
In the world of B2B, you want to position yourself as an authority or thought leader. Do so by using statistics in your writing and emphasizing facts. You want to build trust with your readers and show you’ve done your research, too. Plus, Google ranks web pages with quality content higher in its organic search results, so the more accurate and trustworthy your content is, the better.
5. Use the Right Sources
Trustworthy content comes from trustworthy sources. Be selective about where you gain your information, as your references have a significant impact on the authority of your content. Look for sites with high domain authority, meaning Google and other search engines trust their content. Linking to these sites bolsters your authority and improves your search ranking as Google takes into account sites linked to in your content.
6. Say Something New
Never regurgitate content you’ve found on other sites or in other articles. If you’re saying the same thing as someone else, your pieces have little value. Though you may address a common topic of interest, you want to have your own angle. Whether you present information in a new way or add an innovative idea to an established process, your content needs to be original to engage your audience. Multiple people are involved in making a purchasing decision in B2B marketing, so you have to have content that grips the reader enough to pass it on to others in their organization.
7. Make it Easy to Consume
While long-form content is valuable, its length can be intimidating. Make your pieces easy to consume by breaking them into sections or numbered lists. Use headers and subheaders to break apart text, making it easier to take in visually. If your content is exceptionally long, consider adding a table of contents at the beginning for users to click through to sections of interest.
8. Keep it Up to Date
One of the more challenging aspects of writing technical content is keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry. Part of conveying authority and trust is ensuring you have accurate information, so you need to regularly go back and update content with new information as needed.
These tips should help you as you get started in building your long-form content library. This valuable content is essential for your overall B2B marketing and requires time and talent to gain value.
If your team is struggling to get started, consider working with a digital marketing company. A quality digital marketing team can help you identify your ideal target keywords, generate content ideas for your business, and provide expert writing teams to create SEO and audience-friendly content, driving more eyeballs to your site.
Whether you create your long-form content in-house or hire an outsourced team to perfect it, each piece will bring great value to you and your customers. Happy writing!
Jordan Brannon is the President / COO of Coalition Technologies: a top-ranked marketing and web development agency with 700+ case studies and 300 team members worldwide.