Is your potential customer ready to read? That’s the question you have to ask yourself before developing a long-form piece of content. When used correctly, long-form types of content marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool to earn a better reputation, increase brand awareness and increase conversion rates, and ultimately see better results from your content marketing campaign.
Long-form content has the power to drive a convincing argument if it’s aligned well to your buyer’s needs. Here are three long-form types of content marketing that can help you gain traction with your customers and prospects and when to use them.
eBooks use facts, statistics and examples to provide readers with insight into a topic. Unlike white papers, which provide information at an expert level, eBooks are tailored to the expertise and knowledge level of the intended reader.
The Content Marketing Institute defines eBooks as reports that generally run 12 to 40 or more pages in length and present complex information in a visually attractive, reader-friendly format. The content is both informative and entertaining, the tone collegial and the format “chunky” rather than linear to facilitate skimming and scanning.
When to use them:
eBooks typically require at least a name and email address for download, making them great for capturing leads
eBooks are great resources for prospective customers and help build credibility and thought leadership
Customers who download eBooks can range from the tail end of the awareness stage all the way to the final deliberation stage of the buyer’s journey
Length: No fewer than 10 pages
Structure: Includes a title page, table of contents and tips, steps or examples to fit the intended content organizational structure
2. White Papers
A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution. White papers are used to communicate robust technical information and demonstrate a problem, solution and outcome. They are authoritative reports that help readers understand an issue, solve a problem or make a decision with plenty of useful, factual information.
When to use them:
White papers typically require at least a name and email address for download, making them great for capturing leads
White papers are ideal resources for prospective customers and help build credibility and thought leadership
Customers who typically download white papers are further into the sales funnel and are warm leads
Length: No fewer than 15 pages
Structure: Includes a title page, table of contents, short executive summary, introduction, several pages describing the problem, hypothesizing a solution, offering an example of a company that used the solution to achieve positive results and a conclusion
3. Research Reports
Research reports present the results of formal studies and investigations. They tend to be a collection, analysis and dissemination of qualitative and quantitative data.
When to use them:
Research reports require a lead capture form for download; depending on the study and analysis, some brands are able to charge for their research and expert analysis.
Research reports build industry credibility and demonstrate thought leadership
Length: No fewer than 30 pages
Structure: Includes a title page, table of contents, statistic and analysis charts, hypothesis, control and variable dynamics and original data
Long-form content is an effective tool in a content marketing strategy. To learn about other content formats that should be included in your calendar, downloading the “25 Types of Content Marketing” ebook.