In the age of social media, hyper-fast information turnaround and short attention spans, offering something of greater value to your readers may seem counterintuitive. After all, blog content quickly becomes obsolete, thanks to emerging trends and changing stakeholder expectations. Enter long-form content, which can effectively transform the way you conduct business with B2B leads.
According to Smart Insights, 36% of B2B professionals lack a marketing plan, with lead conversion, brand awareness, and partnership-based production being among priorities for 2020. With a vast array of B2B companies on the global market, differentiating your brand through long-form content marketing can create a drastic difference for your brand.
However, approaching such content production, whether for a SAAS or eCommerce business, can be difficult without the proper know-how. Let’s take a closer look at what makes long-form content uniquely suited for B2B success, as well as how you can take advantage of it.
Benefits of Writing Long-Form B2B Content
Let’s address the most important question on everyone’s mind—why should you care about long-form content? After all, readers are prone to skim through blog posts and online content in search of relevant information more often than not.
In regards to B2B networking, long-form content can help improve your brand reputation, professional image, and effectively bring B2B partners to your doorstep. Company representatives and investors who come across your long-form content will find it welcome, as it will illustrate that you are familiar with your industry.
Whether you focus on the aforementioned eCommerce, service outsourcing, or business consulting, different industries offer various areas of exploration for long-form content. Once you start producing such content for your website, you will experience several important advantages going forward, including:
- Ability to explore industry topics in great detail
- Higher SEO ranking and engagement due to industry-relevant content
- Improved industry authority, B2B brand awareness, and reputation
- More frequent B2B outreach and networking opportunities
- Internal linking and omnichannel sharing possibilities
Types of Long-Form B2B Content to Consider
How do we define “long-form” content? In essence, long-form content can be any piece of written or produced media that is longer than the industry average. You can choose in-house writing or rely on platforms such as Evernote, a research paper writing service or tools such as Readable for content production. If typical blog posts contain 1,000 words, long-form content is anything over 2,000, as it offers more in-depth value for the reader.
While such content may not be viable for B2C customers and casual visitors, B2B representatives place great emphasis on such content when scouring the web. Combined with platforms such as CS-Cart B2B & B2C however, these content pieces can be used to bolster the value of your eCommerce website for B2B leads.
As such, you can differentiate your content types depending on personal preference, skills of your content creators, and frequency of trending news and events. Some of the content types for long-form B2B production include:
- Case studies
- White papers
- Tutorials and guides
- Industry interviews
- Resource listicles
- Statistics-based research
- Videos, podcasts, infographics and other forms of multimedia which is longer than standard
Writing Long-Form Content for B2B Content Marketing
1. Set Goals & Milestones
Given the long production cycle of long-form content, you should only approach it with concrete goals in mind. Mainly, what do you hope to accomplish by producing content which is longer than industry-standard? Do you want to achieve better SEO ranking and grow your organic engagement rates? Or do you aim to position your brand among other B2B companies to attract lucrative partners and investors to your website?
Different goals will direct you to different ways of writing, formatting, and link-building, which makes concrete goals a must in pre-production. Rely on methodologies such as SMART to define your B2B content marketing goals before writing, and your content’s performance will reflect those efforts accordingly.
2. Outline your Content
It’s important to note that long-form content takes time and effort to write, which will often result in multiple writing sessions and unavoidable focus issues. To avoid problems in the flow of information and cohesion of your content pieces, outline your work prior to writing anything of substance. Melanie Sovann, Editor and Content Marketing Specialist at Best Writing Advisor, said that: “Poorly thought-out, scattered written content will always underperform. This is especially true for B2B-centric writing, as representatives carefully choose which companies to reach out to for further networking inquiries. Choose the longer path and structure your long-form content.”
Start with the standard intro-body-conclusion segments and fill in the blanks with subheadings, potential research data, and resources you will refer to. By writing a comprehensive outline before tangible production takes place, you will ensure that any B2B content you publish features high quality, relevance, and formatting.
3. Implement Topic Clustering
The benefit of long-form content is that you can take your time and explore individual industry topics depending on personal preference. Topic clusters can help you achieve better internal link building and cross-content cohesion, not to mention better SEO ranking as well.
Create a single piece of long-form content intended for B2B marketing – this will be the pillar of your topic cluster. Go through the piece and look for opportunities to expand on different ideas, terminology, trends, and other dangling threads left unexplored in the pillar piece. Once you’ve ideated several new topics from the main one, you can produce multiple long-form content pieces and interconnect them with links, bolstering their value.
4. Social Proof & Industry Research
While long-form content in itself may boost your organic engagement and ranking, the content itself will speak volumes of your brand’s practices. Thus, you should aim to back your claims with as much statistical data, social proof, and industry research as possible.
If you claim that B2B companies continue to lose interest in physical networking events, where is your proof to back such a claim up? Providing tangible sources for your claims will considerably increase your B2B content marketing appeal, leading to a better reputation and networking opportunities.
5. Proofread & Format Adequately
Lastly, you don’t want your long-form content to look sloppy and rushed, especially when you intend to target B2B leads with it. Format your writing with proper subheadings, bullet points, paragraphs, quotation marks, and make sure all of your hyperlinks work as intended.
It’s good practice to read through your long-form content front-to-back to ensure that its flow and legibility is up to your industry’s standards. There are no second tries when it comes to impressing B2B stakeholders – take the initiative and spell check and format your writing prior to its publishing.
Long-form content is uniquely suited to bring your brand closer to the B2B market and increase its appeal in the eyes of potential networking partners. Besides a plethora of content types, long-form content also allows for audio-visual production which can help mix up your media offering even further.
However, while beneficial, long-form content takes more time and effort to write, especially in regards to backing your claims and providing factual data. Think about what types of long-form content you can produce for your company based on its service portfolio, values, and long-term goals. If you stay true to your brand’s core ideals, the right B2B audience will find you sooner than you might think.