“no one reads anymore.”
While America’s shrinking attention span is well documented, the claim that “people don’t read anymore” is not.
According to the Pew Research Center:
- the percentage of adults who have read a book in the last year is holding steady at over 70 percent; and,
- the average number of books a person reads per year is 12 (and younger adults are actually reading more than older adults).
what does this have to do with marketing? more than you might think.
For marketers, the fact of the matter is that people reach a certain point in the buyer’s journey when they need more information in order to make a purchasing decision. Many times, that information can be effectively delivered in a piece of long-form content. Before you think, “Long-format content doesn’t apply to us,” consider the following:
- for an ag manufacturer, an eBook that explains various techniques for maximizing crop yield;
- for a brewer or vintner, a free download that explains the nuances of beer or wine tasting;
- for a martech company, a case study that demonstrates return on investment for custom technology implementation;
- for a local government, a white paper that shows how sustainability initiatives save taxpayer dollars;
- for a paving company, an article that explains how new paving techniques can significantly reduce maintenance costs over the life of the structure; and,
- for a financial services company, a blog post on how to make smarter choices about year-end philanthropic gifts.
None of these are about selling—they are about educating your customer and helping them to be more successful. And, these pieces are “evergreen,” in that they will remain relevant for a considerable period of time, giving you more opportunities to extend their value with minimal additional effort. Long-form content can easily be repurposed as:
- Social media content
- E-mail content
- Direct mail content
- Website content for lead generation, or even monetization
- A reason to reach out to a new prospect and offer some helpful information with no obligation
Long-form content positions you as an expert in your field, and it can also improve the performance of your website. According to inbound marketing platform Hubspot, online content of 2500-plus words earns the most backlinks and social shares, and online content of 2250 to 2500 words earns the most organic traffic.
Most importantly, long-form content shows that your first priority is to help your customer—not get them to buy something from you.
I hope you find this helpful—that’s always my first priority.