Table of Contents
- Why Should You Create Long-form Content?
- Why Whitepapers?
- Why Ebooks?
- How to Create Long-form Content
- Key Takeaways
A good content distribution strategy comprises a mix of both long-form and short content pieces, where each offers value to different consumer segments. Although, nowadays, long-form content such as ebooks and whitepapers is gaining more popularity both amongst consumers and marketers, since it provides detailed insights into a particular topic.
Any piece longer than 2,000 words comes under the category of long-form content. Content marketers now prefer creating complete guides, ebooks, whitepapers, etc., to boost engagement and provide every possible solution pertaining to a particular topic, all in one place.
A consumer would naturally prefer getting all the necessary information in detail in one place rather than having to sort through multiple resources. Long-form content pieces provide exactly that, along with lots of value and context on different topics. Let’s glance at two of the most important long-form content pieces—ebooks and whitepapers—and which one suits your content distribution plan perfectly.
Why Should You Create Long-form Content?
Creating long-form content is vital for both B2C and B2B content distribution strategies, especially now, when people are more inclined towards ebooks, whitepapers, quick guides, and any other form of well-elaborated digital content. Long-form content is ideal for getting more visibility, engagement, and quality leads, and acts as proof of your industry expertise. Here are some benefits of creating and marketing long-form content, especially ebooks and whitepapers.
Getting more of everything
Creating and marketing ebooks, whitepapers, how-to guides, case studies, podcasts, and even lengthy videos offers tremendous benefits to brands and marketers alike. This help improve your search engine rankings since most articles that show up on Google’s top search results are long-form, help increase engagement and social shares, and build authority for your brand. With longer articles, you get more room to add engaging calls to action (CTA), eventually resulting in a higher number of quality leads. You can also find more ways to repurpose and reuse long-form content and promote it in multiple ways.
You can even add more links and engaging graphics to long content pieces, which ultimately helps in improving SEO, getting backlink opportunities, and creating better partnerships and referrals.
Creating social media posts and running ads is a good strategy to promote your brand, but without a solid base to back these posts, you won’t get good engagement for long. Creating long-form content acts as a solid and reliable resource for your short posts while providing an opportunity to experiment with ads.
Promoting long-form content through ads is way more powerful than doing so for short blog posts since the content here is divided into multiple topics that can grasp the attention of all types of viewers. Using information from whitepapers, e-books, and lengthy guides, you can cumulate different types of ads, be they text-, image, or video-based, and promote your business on multiple channels.
Higher social media success
Long-form content usually gets more shares and engagement on social media, since it’s an in-depth analysis of a particular topic. According to HubSpot, articles having a word count between 2250 and 2500 garnered the highest organic traffic. This is because in-depth articles accommodate a lot of long-tail keywords, which are often the most searched by users wanting concise, to-the-point answers to queries.
Moreover, the numerous topics covered in your ebook or whitepaper make way for a variety of social media posts, which include text, infographics, or videos. If you are planning to use a video content distribution strategy for social media, your lengthy articles and ebooks can be easily transformed into catchy video posts, further resulting in a higher engagement rate.
Continuous touch with your audience
The basic idea of creating any form of content is to stay in touch with your audience, promote your products, and spread brand awareness. Although you can do this by creating both long and short content pieces, longer content tends to attract more attention than shorter pieces.
You might have noticed that most TV commercials tend to engage the audience by telling stories or highlighting societal norms pertaining to their brand in great detail. All of these are based on long-form content formats, and they instantly grasp viewers’ attention. Similarly, lengthy articles, ebooks, whitepapers, and guides tend to help you form deeper and more meaningful connections with your audience. Long-form content helps keep relationships fresh, gets constant feedback from experts, and allows you to deeply connect with peers to form mutually beneficial bonds.
High search ranking
Creating long-form content is great for SEO too. According to research conducted by Backlinko, longer articles get more than 77% more links than shorter content pieces. In fact, sites with high authority tend to link to your content easily due to the accuracy, detail, and depth of your writeup. It also helps expose your content to an audience that you may not have been able to connect with before.
According to Brian Dean, longer articles are generally more preferred by Google’s algorithm than shorter ones. Moreover, these result in a higher attention span from readers, thus increasing your ranking in Google’s search results.
Google gives preference to longer articles as per its ranking metrics, especially content pieces that have explanatory images, infographics, and cover a diverse range of sub-topics answering common user queries. You should make sure that every new topic you introduce is at least 2,000 words long so that you can rank both for the consolidated long-form content as well as the individual content topics included in them.
You can retain site visitors
Users spend a considerable amount of time on sites that provide them with more value, be it in the form of unique products, exceptional services, or content pieces that solve their queries. For example, if you are seeking information about a particular product, you’d prefer a site that details the features, benefits, uses, reviews, and care instructions of that product than a simple one-paragraph description. Similarly, users prefer staying longer on sites that provide more information on a single page.
That way, even if they somehow don’t find what they had been looking for, they’d have spent considerable time browsing through the various topics covered in your long-form content. Long form write-ups make people stay on a web page 40% longer. A well-written and genuinely helpful content strategy also helps lower the bounce rate and builds trust for your brand.
One of the most important, yet often disregarded, benefits of creating lengthy and detailed content pieces is that they prove your authority and expertise on a topic. Since you have to research a lot for creating long, detailed articles (and sometimes even interview experts) these content pieces demonstrate that you know the topic well.
This builds trust and shows your users that you really care about them. Creating comprehensive content projects you as a marketer and your brand as highly credible and knowledgeable in the niche, prompting users to always revert to your website to get any information they seek.
This authority position will also prompt people to choose your products and services over a competitor.
Whitepapers are essentially detailed reports that aim to break down a complex topic for readers by providing relevant statistics and expert insights. These usually include factual information, survey findings, industry expertise, or statistical data. They are typically written in a detailed, authoritative, and persuasive tone, and usually follow a similar format comprising an introduction, statistical data, guidance or opinions by industry experts, and a proposed resolution.
You can include whitepapers in your content distribution plan when your writing is focused on thought leadership, you need to explain a topic in-depth with relevant facts and well-researched statistics, or you wish to play a bit with design while retaining the essential format of a whitepaper. Ideal for studies and reports, whitepapers are best for conversion and to fill buyer journey gaps.
Ebooks are the most interesting type of long-form content and take considerably less time to formulate and design, as compared to whitepapers. They usually comprise a variety of charts, infographics, numbered pages, pictures, and anything that makes the content easier to read and comprehend. Ebooks typically use a more informal, friendly, and conversational tone and are usually broken into simple-to-understand topics. Source
EBooks are best used as part of your digital content distribution strategy when you want to deeply connect with your target audience. These make for great tools for effective lead generation. They also help build your brand’s image and enable you to share your expertise on a particular subject.
Choosing the ideal content type requires immaculate planning and attention to detail, while also considering the type of audience you intend to write for and what ticks them best. You need to consider different marketing statistics and the message you are trying to convey. Although both whitepapers and ebooks are great for your content marketing distribution plan, each of these is consumed by different types of audiences.
Ebooks work best for B2C and eCommerce brands, where the information is casual and informal; whereas whitepapers suit B2B businesses whose audience demands more detailed, factual, and statistically backed content. You must consider the budget, too, since creating whitepapers requires much more time and money as compared to ebooks. You must consider all possible factors before deciding which type of long-form content you need to create.
How to Create Long-form Content
Long-form content isn’t just limited to whitepapers, ebooks, guides, or blog posts. It can also include detailed infographics, explanatory videos, webinars, and comprehensive reports. That’s why it is important to know the exact process of creating long-form content that converts, and accordingly, plans your content distribution strategy. To create interactive, knowledgeable, and well-researched content that results in you gaining multiple benefits, you must follow this step-by-step approach.
The first step is to identify what type of content will resonate best with your audience. If it’s a choice between whitepapers and ebooks, the former is more suitable for a B2B audience, while the latter works best for the B2C segment.
You can start by answering a few questions: what is the purpose of writing a particular piece of content? What is your target audience? Will it answer all their queries? Are you going to include useful statistics? How will you determine whether it will be successful?
Choose between gated and ungated content
Gated content requires the viewer to enter their personal details including an email address, phone number, name, and sometimes, even details of their professional profile. Creating gated long-form content acts as a great lead magnet for businesses. On the other hand, ungated content can be viewed and downloaded freely by anyone without the need to share personal details. The biggest advantage of using ungated content is that it gets more shares and much more views than gated posts. It is up to you to decide what type of content you wish to create, depending on the benefits each of them provides.
Select your topics wisely
When it comes to creating detailed content, you can’t just pick any topic and start working on it. An ideal topic selection requires certain components:
- In-depth knowledge about the topic you wish to cover
- How much your audience resonates with that particular topic
- Important keywords that you can rank your brand for using that topic
- What forms of content work best with your audience (you can get this information by analyzing your existing content)
- The relation of your topic with your brand—whether it is direct or indirect.
- What information you can gather and whether you can beat the competition.
Therefore, you need to select the topic smartly before beginning your content creation journey. It will be wise to analyze available data and the amount of research and resources that will go into creating this content at any stage. Remember, anything you create should be well within the company’s guidelines and budget.
Hire great writers
It is always best to let experts do their job. You might be a great marketer or have thorough knowledge and experience in what you wish to write, but you might not necessarily be able to connect with the audience. Hiring a professional writer will alleviate this issue. You must hire a writer who has experience in working for your niche and the type of content you wish to create. For example, if you want to write an ebook on SEO best practices for the eCommerce industry, you must hire someone who has experience working in the e-commerce industry, has knowledge about SEO, and has written some ebooks. To get readable, quality content that is rich with facts and statistics, you must present a clear outline to the writer, and continuously keep in touch to ensure they are well-acquainted with your content and audience.
Create compelling design
A good design and clearly depicted copy is the first thing that will attract the audience. You might have hired the best writers, but your content won’t last long on Google’s top search results if your pictures, infographics, and any other visual elements aren’t clear.
The overall designing of your long-form content shouldn’t only be pretty, but it needs to be practical too. Consider adding social media share buttons, email signup options, links to other useful content, and visuals wherever possible. To make the most out of your content, hire only the best designers.
Plan a good promotional strategy
There’s no point creating the best content if you don’t intend to promote it both amongst your followers and global audience. Your promotion strategy should encapsulate both organic and paid promotions to capture wider readerships and reap the maximum benefits from your efforts.
Since you’ve put so much effort into creating that one piece of content, having a well-planned, creative promotion strategy in place is a must. Opting for ads is crucial, but other than that, promote the content organically on social media, feature it on your company’s website, and run a direct email campaign. You can also collaborate with freelancers and industry leaders to promote your content.
- Long-form content boosts engagement: long-form content such as ebooks, whitepapers, detailed how-to guides, explanatory videos, etc., boost engagement, viewership, and brand visibility.
- Long-form content is great for SERPS. The top results on Google and every other search engine only feature pages having more than 2000 words of informative content.
- You can promote long-form content in multiple ways. Since lengthy content pieces cover multiple sub-topics, these can be used to experiment with ads and organic promotions using different titles.
- Every long-form content you create has a distinct audience that you must consider before beginning to work on it. For example, whitepapers and research reports resonate best with a B2B audience, while ebooks are meant for B2C businesses.
- The creation and promotion of long-form content requires immaculate detailing. In-depth analysis, research, knowledge, time, and many more resources go into creating that perfect piece of content. And after creation, it needs a well-planned and executed strategy to reap the most benefits.
Now that you know everything about creating long-form content, and which one is the best for your content distribution strategy, you can straight away get to the hard work. While working, make sure to keep in mind all the points discussed above to plan and execute the best content distribution plan.
Long-form content is anything that consists of more than 2,000 words and is written in an informative, descriptive manner. The different types of long-form content include ebooks, newspapers, how-to guides, explainer videos, detailed blogs, and industry reports.
A whitepaper is any content written by industry experts to share factual and statistical knowledge about a particular topic. It involves a highly detailed process and is often written like a business report.
Ebooks, by definition, are books in electronic formats that can be easily downloaded and read on any device. Unlike physical books, they feature lots of visuals, such as graphs, charts, or infographics, in relation to the topic being discussed. Ebooks are typically divided into different chapters and topics for the readers to quickly comprehend the subject matter.
A content distribution strategy is a complete plan used by organizations to disseminate content. It is a strategy they use to promote their content to their target audience.
Ebooks are nothing but digital books. They are long-form content pieces that usually depict the writers’ opinion on a select topic. These consist of different subtopics and can range anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 words. Whitepapers use a more formal tone of writing, and represent statistics and facts pertaining to a particular topic for use by industry professionals.