Hi and welcome to episode 28 of Startup Marketing. Today, we’re going to be talking about long form content. What is long form content exactly? Long form content is what marketers call content like blogs, video tutorials, podcasts, guides, or e-books. Technically, as defined by Neil Patel, this content is over 4,000 words. I don’t get too hung up on the word count, but my point is, it’s content that does a lot of good for you and your business that’s more than social media posts. 

So, we’re going to walk through why long form content works, what types of content are available for you to create and why they’re valuable for your business. 

Ok, why does long form content work and why does it matter? You might be thinking that creating yet another thing for your business is not something that you’ve got time to do, but, let me tell you, it’s going to pay in dividends to have one or two pieces of awesome long form content you can put out into the world. 

Long form content works because it allows you to build trust with your ideal customer. There’s a lot of other reasons it benefits your business, but, if you’re new to thinking about creating content and the name “long form” feels intimidating because it sounds like it takes a lot of time to create something that qualifies as “long”, start thinking of your end goal. If you need or want more customers, and don’t we all, long form content can help you get in front of them. 

How does long form content help you get in front of your ideal customers? Let’s talk through this real quick and use me and Authentic as an example. Imagine someone like yourself. You’re starting your own business or you own your own business. And you’re struggling to get in front of your ideal customers. You know you need to do a better job marketing your business, but you just don’t know where to start. You feel like you need a professional marketer in your back pocket, but you’re not sure you can afford it or, you’re interested in doing some of the legwork yourself. You start scouring the internet for tips on how to market your small business. 

Google returns some results on Pinterest where you find a link to this podcast. You listen to this podcast and visit my site to download a free guide and learn more, which allowed me to ask you for your email address, which you were happy to give me because you felt like my resource would add a lot of value to your learning journey. After you hit download, your curiosity is piqued and you start browsing my website. You bookmark it to come back to. You start to follow me on social media, where I continue to provide you value. You get weekly emails that remind you of this marketing coach. And, when the time comes for you to invest in your marketing, you contact me and we find a coaching package that’s good for you. 

That whooooole process started with my long form content. So you see, that’s why creating long form content can help you get in front of your ideal customers. Another benefit, that we’ll touch on a little bit later is that it also helps build trust and authority.

Alright, so you’re ready to get in front of more customers and gain visibility. What types of content can you create that counts as “long form”?

Things like:

  • Blogs
  • Video tutorials
  • Podcasts
  • E-books
  • Guides

Ok, I know that at the sound of those, it may sound really intimidating or overwhelming to create those things. Again, you may not be a professional marketer. And, I will admit, some of these are easier to get started with than others. So, let’s start with what’s easy. 

Video tutorials. You may already be doing smaller versions of this if you use Reels, TikTok, IGTV, or live stream. The key with these is to make sure that they have a good structure to them. Think the basics of writing a good paper for school: an introduction, transitions between topics, value tips or tricks and a conclusion in the form of a call to action (something you want your audience to do after watching the video: visit your website, email you, download something, purchase, etc). 

With all of the options through social media channels to get video out into the world, I think this is one of the easiest ways to get started because you don’t need any new tools than what you’re already likely using. And, now Instagram even adds captions on your videos for you, so it’s really easy to get started. If you record your videos ahead of time because live streaming isn’t your thing, you can also upload them to YouTube, which adds to your potential reach. 

The next easiest thing to get out into the world, is a guide. Let’s take a jeans boutique as our example here. A guide that you could create might be one that teaches women how to find the best fit for their jeans. You might talk about what types of jeans work best on body shape, where the jeans should fit on their waist, and what length they should be. You might also throw in how they can measure themselves so they can easily find their size between brands. You can use a tool called canva to create a really nice looking PDF and upload it to your website. You can promote it on your social channels and ask people to give you their email address in order to receive it. 

Here, you’re adding a lot of value to shoppers because you’re teaching them how to make shopping for jeans easier and we all know how big of a pain it is to find the perfect pair of jeans. So, while they may not have been originally looking to purchase your jeans. Now that you’ve made it super easy for them to find the perfect pair, whose jeans do you think will be at the top of their list? That’s right. Yours. 

Now, these last ones, I personally think take a little bit more work or learning to get done.

An e-book doesn’t necessarily take new skills like knowing a software to create it or anything like that, but it probably will take you more time. E-books are also sometimes known as whitepapers, so if you’ve ever downloaded something from an industry expert that’s several pages long, or even several chapters long, with a lot of research and info graphics in it, this is what we’d call an e-book. This type of content might be better suited for more technical industries. Marketing is a perfect example; in fact, whitepapers are super popular in our industry because you’re really educating the reader about a topic that’s very nuanced. Another good example might be someone who writes a nutrition e-book. Perhaps about how to become a vegan. For this type of content, think a topic that can still easily be explained and illustrated through text and graphs, can visually be put into chunks to make it easier for a reader to get through and is a little bit more complex and requires some research and stats to back up your position.

Now, these last two, I would say take a little bit more to get out the door when it comes to content. You have to plan and execute consistently, you’ll be in it for the long haul because they’re not one and done items, and you’ve got some best practices to learn. They’re: blogs and podcasts. 

I’m not sure which one I’d rank as easier than the other. On the surface, it might seem like blogs are easier to get off the ground, but in all honesty, and as any blogger that gets good traction to their site will tell you, there’s a lot that goes in to getting your blog discovered; there’s best practices in terms of how to format your writing, when to post, how long the post should be, keywords or phrases that you should include, research, etc. So, it’s not as simple as just free-flowing your thoughts or ideas like you would in a journal. Not that you can’t gain traction from doing that; I just haven’t ever seen it happen that organically. 

On the flip side, you’ve got podcasts, which sounds intimidating, right? You have to learn software to record the podcast and edit it, you have to find a platform to distribute it to podcast channels for you, and you still have to plan your content and post consistently like a blog. Personally, I was really surprised at how easy it was to get started with my podcast. I watched a couple of videos about editing software (I recently started using Garage Band instead of Adobe Audition and it’s super easy). I researched a few hosting platforms and ultimately chose Captivate FM, which I’ve been super happy with because they have a focus on creating tools to easily help you market your podcast. Garage Band took me an hour or so to learn and Captivate was so intuitive, that it didn’t really feel like I had to “learn” anything; I followed their prompts and was done with a live podcast. 

I think outside of an afternoon of learning software for podcasts, where you’re really investing your time is on a weekly or monthly basis to get content out there. Same for blogs. 

But, regardless of what type of content you choose to get out there, there’s a ton of benefits to having even just one piece of long form content available. And that’s really all you need one great piece to get started. 

Having a piece of long form content is going to provide you with a wealth of benefits like:

  • Gaining visibility. Like I said in episode 11, how to build your email list, long form content becomes a lead magnet for you. If you want to learn how to promote your new piece of content, hop back to that episode and give it a listen; it really comes down to promoting it on your social channels or doing paid ads for it. This point dovetails nicely in to my next benefit:
  • They help you build your email list. A list of potential leads that you own and have direct access to, which means you can get in front of more people more often for potential sales.
  • Long form pieces of content also increase the amount of time people spend on your site. Like I outlined at the beginning of this episode, when someone finds a good piece of content, they’ll be interested in what else you have to say and poke around on your site.
  • They build authority in your expertise
  • They increase trust because you’re viewed as an expert 

The sum of these benefits will lead to more traffic, visibility, leads and ultimately sales. 

Now, we can get into a lot of detail about how to create a good piece of content, but I think I’m going to save that for next week’s episode. 

If you’re not sure where to start, visit getauthenticbranding.com/resources and download my guide on How to Create a Lead Magnet. 

And as always, if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please rate, review and subscribe to help other women business owners like you find this podcast. 

Until next time!