Long-form content often gets shifted to the back burner due to the time, cost and collaboration requirements of building 800+ words of truly engaging, relevant and educational content. Over the last few years, traditional marketers have been trained to lean on short, sweet snippets for banners, social media postings and email copy. Neither long-form nor short form are right in every situation, but if you’ve shied away from long-form content, read on to find out why you should re-approach it and some tips to optimize your efforts. Your content marketing strategy should include long-form content for a few reasons: – Establishes industry-expertise. Using guides, eBooks and extended blog posts gives you a chance to demonstrate your organization’s personality, and how you can help your audience. Publishing well thought-out, well-written, relevant long-form content pieces helps marketers demonstrate expertise, credibility and develop a thought-leadership position. – Attracts more attention. Visitors spend more time with long-form content – it takes longer to scan and longer to read. The Google algorithm gives higher rankings to pages that have more time on page and have high social share activity. – Boosts social media. According to the Huffington Post, although there is 16 times more content under 1000 words, pieces with 3,000 to 10,000 words get more average social shares. Longer content — because it’s packed with useful information and a lot of it — offers more opportunities to find shareable points of knowledge that readers are eager to share. – Gives new life to existing content. Long-form content gives you an opportunity to revisit past content from print media, videos and webinar events to re-publish as long-form pieces to get more life out of inactive content. – Extends content investment. A comprehensive guide pays off the time and budget allocated for production in its ability to easily morph into a string of other content pieces. Long-form content can be chopped into blog series, infographics, interactives and slide decks that extend the value of your investment. If you’re ready to plan a long-form content project, keep these points in mind to get the most out of the huge outlay in time and resources to produce an informative, engaging piece. – Do your research. Just because you know a lot about 18th century boat design, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a topic that will move your business forward or that there’s a wide readership for it. Use keyword ranking tools and analytics to help you figure out what topics are worth building long-form content for and where it’s most likely to be consumed. If you don’t have a relevant, timely, and informative to expound on, wait until you do before embarking on a long-form content project. – Stay focused. Long-form content goes wrong by trying to pack too much or too little substantive content into one piece. Choose your 1000+ words carefully, readers willing to invest the time it takes to read that much content expect solid information from reputable sources devoid of fluff. Before you start writing or engage a professional firm for execution, identify your target, narrow your topic area focus and build a tight outline to guide the writing. – Have a plan. Once produced, what will you do with it? Just posting it to your website isn’t enough. To make your effort pay off, include publication, supporting promotional activities and distribution in your initial planning. These decisions might also guide your writing and design, for example, if your plan includes a social media blitz, you’ll want to make sure the piece is designed with images that can easily be popped into a status update. – To gate or not to gate? Gated content forces users to submit an email address and other demographic information to read or download content. This model ensures you’ll get prospect information for email list building and future marketing efforts, however, gating content can also stop search engine spiders from properly indexing and serving your content.