Why long-form content will position your business as an authority

Mark Armstrong

RateMyAgent chief executive officer and co-founder Mark Armstrong. Source: Supplied.

The modern world seems to move to the staccato beat of instant communication, with Twitter and Instagram grabbing attention and headlines daily.

However, as an entrepreneur, I try to look beyond short-term soundbites and create long-term value for my business. With this goal in mind, my team and I launched our first-ever web series in 2018.

Here are my top four reasons why long-form content can help position your business (no matter what the industry) as a brand authority.

1. Feed fatigue

As a punter, the super-highway of information is exciting, and then it’s exhausting. As we move to more established relationships with our smart devices and digital platforms, we’re seeing people change how they use them.

They’re looking for more value out of less use. That might seem at odds with advocating long-form content, but it’s not. Sources that reliably deliver will remain, with a greater share. Longer content means opportunities to cover more issues and different perspectives. Do that well and you’ll earn a place in that less noisy, more productive world.

2. Longer offers more

Short- and long-form meet different objectives. Short-form is great for introducing a concept and retargeting to seal the deal. Long-form will help you in the middle — with explaining and educating in particular — and has been shown to be more effective at driving awareness, being recalled and elevating brand consideration, preference and purchase intent.  

It’s obvious stuff really, and if your market is complex and changing fast there’s probably a role to break it down, set out your perspective and explain how you can help. Real estate fits that picture and I’m sure many readers will relate.

3. Add to the conversation

What’s driven the success of The Economist? It doesn’t repeat what’s already out in the world, and you know it’ll always give you fresh thinking and a new perspective.

Your content needs to do the same.

Most content on the net will never be watched, so find the white space, answer the unanswered questions, find a different voice, whatever it is, just make sure you have it.

For us, we realised that while real estate was a national hobby (we google it as much as footie and more than shopping), there was nothing that was easy to watch. Bringing the tone of a pub conversation to property news, opinion and education was the genesis of our long-form series.

But if the opportunity isn’t there in your market — don’t start! I love this comment from London ad agency LuckyGenerals on the topic of their new podcast: “After months of honing the idea, we’ve come up with a unique format: just not doing one. We believe this is an agency first and we’re already delighted by the reaction. Thanks to everyone involved in not making this happen.

4. Economies of length

Long content is more economical. You can slice and dice it in lots of ways — different subjects, different audiences, different channels. Properly planned and deployed over time it lasts longer and costs less per second.

A few closing words

Long-form content isn’t a strategy, it’s one answer to a particular customer or business need. The costs involved are real and the value of your content will increase over time from a relatively low level as your reputation and audience grow.

Reasons not to do it: following your competitors, chasing the latest thing, your friend runs a video production company.

Reasons to do it: unmet customer need, building an engaged and valuable audience, sharing your energy and passion with others.

NOW READ: Five ways to recycle and extend the lifespan of your content marketing

NOW READ: Avoid cliches and don’t be boring: The golden rules of effective content marketing


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