Your content strategy is meant to drive sales, not drive you nuts — but that’s easily said when you don't know which type of content works and when. Short form content, long form content … the list of content types just never seems to end, doesn’t it?
Well we’ve got both good and bad news for you.
- The good news: both types of content help your business grow … if they bring your customer value.
- The bad news: creating all types of content takes up a massive amount of time and resources.
Setting a strategy that covers which type you decide to invest in and how much is essential for your long-term success.
Here's the answer to the question though: short form content attracts attention to your brand, long form content maintains it. Both types of content work at different points in your content marketing strategy and smart marketing managers know how to leverage them best.
Read on for some tips and tricks on how to join this club and massively, organically boost your brand value without losing your sanity in the process.
Types of content: the long and short of it (and when they work best)
If making sales were as easy as just telling people that your product was awesome, we’d all be millionaires — fortunately, the right types of content for your online brand presence can take you from telling to selling pretty reliably if you’re smart about it.
Let’s explore the two major content types for what’s most useful for your website and what helps bring attention and visibility to it in the first place: long form and short form content.
Long form content types
The most versatile and effective of the content types, long form content is the major driver of building long-term revenue. As the name implies, long form content tends to be 1000 words and upwards; it's typically long, comprehensive and takes the reader anywhere between five minutes to an hour to digest.
Here are some of the most popular examples of long form content:
- Blog posts and articles
- White papers
- Ultimate guides
- Case studies and success stories
- Pros and cons lists
- Product reviews and comparisons
Investing in long form content is where your industry expertise can truly shine. Site visitors might not find your company blog immediately — but they might find one of your blog articles on Google if you’ve written and published useful, educational content tailored specifically to answer their questions and help them find solutions to their problems.
Marketing managers take note: Google overwhelmingly favours long form content for ranking and meeting user search intent best simply because of how comprehensive such articles tend to be. This means writing to answer people’s questions first and optimise for search engines only after.
Writing long form content also happens to be our specialty at Say it right: our clients outsource content writing to us for their blogs and websites so they can have fresh organic content every month that positions their products as solutions and keeps them on Google's first page.
Which types of long form content work and when?
The best type of long form content is the good old fashioned blog post.
Blog content works best as your baseline website content towards the beginning of your marketing journey, as it drives traffic to your website through organic search. It's a versatile, repurposable content type that you can re-promote and reuse over a long-term period.
At the same time, it’s not enough to just write long form content — your content strategy works best when you promote it consistently. But is long form content alone the best choice for drawing attention? Short form content promotion channels like social media tend to have character limits and you need a way to inspire interest and curiosity in your products without overwhelming your readers with too much information.
Now it’s the turn of short form content to shine.
Short form content types
You could think of short form content in three ways:
- Content pieces usually under 1000 words, such as client testimonials and social media posts.
- Repurposed long form written content pieces, like an infographic summarising the results of a white paper.
- Micro content (spanning between 10-30 seconds of viewing time, like GIFs and short videos like this one.)
Your long form content could be a Holy Grail of useful information — but your greatest competitor isn’t actually another business: it’s your customer’s 8 second attention span.
Most short form content types draw views, clicks and visits back to your website and also help you engage and connect with your customer base, get a feel on what they’re discussing (and complaining about), and draw in new customers. Short form content also helps you exercise your unique brand voice and personality.
Here are some kinds of short form content that do this best:
- Snippets and short summaries of your long form content can draw attention and visibility to your products from new and existing customers.
- Visual content such as infographics, graphs and charts summarise original research data points and make it easier for readers to understand.
- Sneak peaks of your upcoming content such as white papers or ultimate guides can get your followers curious and interested in your work.
- Interactive content types, such as polls, quizzes and surveys help you get a pulse on what your followers are discussing and what kind of content might be useful to them.
- Client testimonials are how you can gather social proof of your products’ benefits and maintain your ongoing relationship with them.
Which type of short form content works and when?
Short form content in the format of repurposed long form content is the most efficient and effective way to increase brand awareness and recognition. Here’s why.
Once you’ve invested in long form content for your website and blog, you’ve got to promote these content pieces right by leveraging your social channels and ensuring that your content is visible and readily accessible for customers on every corner of the internet.
But from our experience, creating short form content from scratch takes up a massive amount of time and resources. This type of content also tends to disappear as social algorithms change and audience interests shift elsewhere.
Here's a smart fix though: by repurposing long form content into short form types, you can continue to drive organic traffic, keep your followers engaged and reach new audiences while also saving time and effort. This is a wise step to take once:
- You’ve built up your baseline organic content on your website.
- You’re looking to promote your product and engage with new and existing customers.
These two steps are the basis of a healthy, sustainable content lifecycle and an organic lead generation strategy that yields tremendous long-term revenue.
Finding the right promotional channel for your content
Social media platforms let you connect with your audience way more intimately than any messaging portal on your website. Marketing managers over the world are gradually considering high-performing platforms like TikTok and Instagram for improving their organic reach and visibility. You might even face less competition on these platforms compared to heavyweights like LinkedIn or even Facebook, which might be costlier investments as well.
(If it’s some inspiration, Microsoft has a TikTok account.)
Depending on your industry and target audience, having a dedicated social media channel for your business is a smart marketing investment and should be part of your overall strategy.
Short form and long form: which type of content works and when?
Let’s recap our response from earlier: both types of content work at different points in your content marketing strategy and funnel— if you leverage them at the right time.
- Long form content informs and educates your audience
- Short form content draws in that audience when you promote it right
If your marketing strategy is still in its beginning stages, we recommend first building up a base of organic content. This might look like 6-8 baseline blog posts that cover a broad topic in your niche in comprehensive depth. Your site and company blog are the primary drivers for conversions, lead generation and making sales — a solid base of helpful, informational content optimised for people first and search engines after will be the building blocks for brand expertise, authority and trustworthiness over time.
Once you’ve set up this base and are looking to promote your product, start leveraging your social media channels. You can save time and effort by repurposing your long form content to develop engaging short form content. Short form content helps you share updates easier, connects you with new and existing customers and allows them to interact with your brand before being enticed to your website, your educational long form content, and eventually a product landing page.
Bottom line: content keeps your customers content — when you use it wisely.
Long form content and its repurposed short form versions are your evergreen, long-term, versatile solutions for driving sales, deepening customer relationships, establishing your brand as an authority and helping your business grow.
When every business needs to come up with unique ways to generate leads and new customers, it can get challenging — especially when you’re marketing to other companies. If you’re curious whether a solid base of organic content can help you reach other businesses, here’s a post which covers how content drives conversions within the competitive B2B tech sector.