In today’s age of TikToks, Stories, Reels and Twitter – er X — posts, one can easily assume that long-form content is dead.
But that is far from the truth.
The term “long-form content” might come off as intimidating, but we’re sure that you regularly find yourself engaging with this type of content. When was the last time you watched an hour-and-a-half-long YouTube tutorial or a 45-minute travel vlog from your favorite influencer? What’s the last feature article that you read?
Those are examples of long-form content. Think of the Room of Requirement from the “Harry Potter” movies we all love. That room is a long-form content of sorts! It offers help to anyone that seeks it, whether it’s something for work, a class or even anything personal. Besides length, this is the most significant difference between long-form and short-form content. Where short-form content aims to summarize information and entertain, long-form content is meant to educate and offer more than enough information to help those in search of answers to big questions.
While it’s useful to the audience or reader, long-form content also offers benefits to the creator, be that a business owner, a brand or an individual content creator.
This second part of our series on short-form and long-form content takes a look at what a long-form content is and how it can help one’s content needs. (If you haven’t read our article on short-form content, check this out.)
Long-form content: What is it about?
Long-form content is, as the name suggests, long or longer than the increasingly popular short-form alternatives, in particular those on social media platforms. In written form, a long-form article usually has 1,200 or more words. In video form, it lasts 10 minutes or even beyond.
Some examples of long-form content are feature articles on specific topics, in-depth interviews, comprehensive product reviews, and how-to guides, tutorials and blog posts that breach the 1,200 word count. Case studies, white papers and much longer material such as e-books also loosely fall under the category. Video-based examples include 40-minute or longer podcasts, webinars and longer carousel posts on Instagram or LinkedIn.
Since one objective of long-form content is to educate its readers or viewers, it tends to be info-driven, comprehensive and detailed. The writer or video creator has more space to use to flesh out ideas, discuss more issues and essentially cover more ground.
How does a long-form content benefit the different stakeholders — audiences, creators and companies or organizations?
For audiences: It provides answers to big questions
All those whats, hows and whys can be addressed by long-form content.
Imagine yourself as trying out a product or service for the first time. Being new to the brand, you want to find out as much info about the product or service. You scour the internet for reviews and testimonials of users of the particular product or service.
Enter long-form content. There are product news articles, company announcements and sometimes even case studies. Brands do provide content that highlights the special features and benefits of their products and services. These not only cater to what you need to know about the product or service but can also be used to motivate you to try them.
What about when you’re thinking of getting a new laptop, smartphone or any gadget and you’re not exactly sure which brand to go for? Those videos you find online that review and compare products can guide you in making the best decision. Those videos fall under the long-form content category.
For creators: It allows them to focus on quality than quantity
Unlike short-form content, creators don’t need to worry about cutting down information to fit the limited space, word count or minutes when putting together a short-form content.
The bigger wiggle room allows creators to broaden the scope of the material or take a deeper dive into the topic in order to share more information with their target audience. Creators also have more flexibility in terms of how to approach content.
What about companies and organizations? Why do brands or businesses invest in making long-form content? What makes it such an important tool in one’s PR and marketing strategy?
- First, it helps establish authority among the target audience: Creating long-form content is pretty much like flexing one’s knowledge on a topic. Good-quality content can help present a company or brand as an expert or a thought leader in their area or industry. Beyond providing audiences with the information they need, enterprises can use long-form content to offer unique perspectives on the matter at hand. When readers and viewers find such content relevant to their needs, there’s a good chance they’ll return for more. This can eventually contribute to building loyalty for the brand, which can also boost sales.
- It helps build trust among the audience: The more the audience returns for more content, the more they are able to learn and be familiar about your brand or the products and services you offer. In this case, long-form content serves as a platform not only to promote awareness but also to establish a relationship with your audience.
- It boosts time spent on one’s website: Content that is interesting enough to keep the reader or viewer hooked from the start to the end will help in generating more website or video views. This means greater viewer engagement with your content. Articles with multiple pages create even more page views and decrease the bounce rate.
- It improves SEO performance: Content that is longer tends to get a higher rank in Google searches than short content. It’s true! That is simply because Google’s algorithm views longer pieces as more authoritative and comprehensive. Additionally, for the creator, long-form content lets them enter more keywords, especially question-based ones. These combined push the content rank higher in search results, thereby increasing the chances of the content reaching the target audiences.
- It creates more engagement: If you think only short-form content can reel in audiences, you are mistaken. Long-form content actually often creates more engagements than shorter ones. How? If a reader or a viewer feels that they are getting valuable information from a content piece, the more likely they will share it with their followers, which then helps in getting more visibility for your content as well as boosting website traffic.
- It is easily repurposed: Running out of ideas for your content calendar? You can repurpose your previous long-form content by breaking it down into topic clusters that can then be presented as new short-form pieces such as infographics or listicles or even short videos.
But long-form content is not all advantages. Unfortunately, it’s biggest asset—its length—can also be a disadvantage.
- It’s not for everyone: Long-form content may not be best for people who are too busy to read lengthy articles or watch long videos. The solution? No, there’s no need to switch to a short-form option right away. Divide the article or video into sections and add headers or subheads to guide the audience through the breaks. For text-heavy material, consider adding infographics or visuals to break the text.
- May consume more resources to prepare: Because long-form content requires accurate, updated and useful information, producing it takes much more time, effort and even human resource, particular for videos. For long-form videos, the overall preparation time involved is even longer and more intense because besides the tedious preproduction work and actual shoot, there is the post-production requirements, which can be even more taxing simply because of the length of the material.
- Requires more planning and coordination: Even with a calendar planned months ahead, regularly preparing and publishing long-form content can get pretty tiresome and tedious. This is even more challenging if the content is time-bound or will need to be updated every now and then.
- May not be mobile-friendly: If the website is optimized for mobile devices, viewing a long-form content will present some challenges. To ensure content is accessible across different devices, media and platforms, break the material into shorter sections, allowing it to be “digestible” on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
NGL, long-form content creation can be a little challenging. It can be more time-consuming as well. But these are outweighed by the fact that such content type can do a lot for your content strategy, may even be the boost that it needs. Share your information, showcase your product or service, talk about findings or experiences in depth. Whatever it is, make the most of the opportunity and use that video or article to get the message across.
In the next part of this series, we’ll be putting short-form and long-form content side by side to review their differences. Stay tuned!