Suzannah Benjamin | September 09th, 2022

When time is money and a 280-character limit is often considered generous, approaches to marketing are evolving rapidly. However, when it comes to B2B marketing, longer, analytical content needs to be a part of your marketing mix.

There is a lot to consider when planning your B2B content marketing strategy – your commercial and marketing objectives, target audience, and the type of content that suits your audience. And because the goals for every company, every campaign, and every piece of content vary, there is no ideal word count that can guarantee maximum engagement.

Still, in our experience the case for long-form content is strong. And while there’s no outright consensus on what constitutes long-form content, studies and our experience tell us that a piece of writing over 1,000 words is generally considered long-form.

If less is more, then why go long?

So, let’s talk about why, in a world where TikTok has become the world’s most popular website, long-form content is still valuable:

  • Long-form content is great for engagement and visibility. Research shows the average first-page results on Google contain 1,447 words, so longer pieces certainly play a big role in boosting your search engine optimisation (SEO) rankings. Longer forms of content are likely to get your article an average of 77.2% more backlinks, also great for SEO rankings because that signals to the search engine that another resource finds your content valuable. Importantly, Google recently tweaked its search ranking algorithm in a way that specifically rewards content designed to explain and elucidate, and penalises a keyword-stuffing approach.
  • Well-researched and analytical content is an excellent opportunity to build a connection with customers. Every organisation is looking for answers and solution to their pressing business needs. For instance, an insightful e-book is a great way to educate potential clients or customers and spark interesting conversations with them.
  • And then there’s trust. The great thing about longer forms of content is that they give the creator time and space to dive deep into topics, discuss and analyse broader industry trends and themes, and position themselves as experts or thought leaders. A well-thought-out detailed piece of writing can demonstrate the company’s capabilities in a way that can start conversations, influence strategic decisions, and build trust. And it’s trust that will persuade your audience to engage with your business.

It’s not always simple, quick, or cheap, but it’s worth it

Of course, we are mindful that producing compelling long-form content is not easy. It’s time consuming and comes at a cost, so making it work for your business needs is important. It works great for when you are building awareness around your organisation, product, or service. For example, publishing an in-depth report provides an excellent opportunity to reach out to an existing customer or a potential lead to start a conversation about the report’s findings or even ask for feedback.

The life of longer pieces can also be extending by repurposing them into more bite-sized content. A blog can become an infographic or a video, a report can be broken down into a series of articles. Creating supplementary content from the original piece will give you the maximum return on your investment.

And the return on investment can be high. Take for instance, global software consultancy Thoughtworks’ digital publication Perspectives. Packed with original insights from in-house as well as client-side thought leaders, the magazine helped the company successfully build a readership among senior executives at 75% of the top accounts it was targeting.

Ultimately, we would be remiss not to reiterate that the value of any content lies in credibility and relevance. But with its vast room for storytelling, long-form can be the ideal way to demonstrate success.

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