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Do content marketers need to look beyond long-form blog content?

In the past few weeks this topic has reared its head several times. The first definitely involved a pretty big rant, which went something along the lines of: “there’s more to content marketing than long-form blog posts!” (And yes, I do see the irony that I’m explaining this in a long-form blog post.)

However, this brings me to the next instance, which occurred recently in a meeting with another digital marketing agency. I was asked quite directly by one of their team if I believed long-form content was dead. Their argument being that readers tend to prefer ‘snackable’ content that’s easier to digest while long-form instantly puts them off.

Images of my recent rant sprang to mind…. yet, my response was actually this:

“I’m not going to say long-form content is dead as I believe in the power of a well-constructed article. I also believe that long-form content serves very important lead generation and thought-leadership purposes”.

I then paused and simply said:

 “No. It’s not dead but it’s certainly changing”.

And here’s why:

* Consumer interest decreases when posed with more and more content options. Why spend 10 minutes reading something when you can spend two?

* We are time poor and want to get to the point quickly – this is especially true when it comes to determining whether something is worth sharing to our own network.

* Gif articles have proven that it’s possible to be entertained in mere minutes.

* One very obvious reason is that it’s simply not comfortable to read so much online. If it were, then the kindle wouldn’t have been invented!

And here’s why long-form content won’t disappear completely: 

  • Lead generationAs a business looking to capture email addresses you generally need to offer something of value: eBooks, whitepapers, how-to guides etc. If you’re expecting people to give a little, then you generally have to give a lot back.
  • Thought leadership – No one has ever demonstrated convincing expertise on anything in less than 50 words! (Sorry twitter.)
  • Niche content – The more niche an industry, the greater the need to clearly explain its intricacies (this blog post for example).
  • Education – It’s in the human psyche to want to expand our minds, learn and be educated.
What should businesses and content professionals be thinking about? 

Long-form content isn’t dead but it shouldn’t always be the go-to form of content. If the format of the content you’re producing doesn’t demand it then try and experiment a little.

Can you make your point in a more visual way? Do you need to really explain your argument or can you make a more poignant and powerful point in a snappier ‘snackable’ way.

Think about it this way… if long-form blogs are the ‘main course’ of your content menu, then what are you snacking on (and most importantly, what’s for dessert?!)

Have I missed anything? Let me know below!

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