Content Marketing: Publish Long-Form Content, But Don’t Expect People To Read It

by Randy Murray on January 23, 2014

I’m going to let you in on a little marketing secret: you need long form content. You need in-depth articles, white papers, and even books and guides. But you don’t need them for the reasons you might think.

Prospective customers love these in-depth and LONG materials. They typically don’t read them, but they love them. They read the introductions, the executive overviews, and look at the charts and infographics. The print these things out and stack up at the conference tables when they talk about which product or service to spend their money on. They wave them in the air and point to them.

They use them as evidence of expertise and credibility. But they don’t read them. And we marketing people know that. Yes, even us writers know that.

You may see that as cynical, but it comes from years and years of marketing experience. And it’s a very good reason for you to do the work and publish really excellent long materials.

Why? Because in addition to those who simply point to these works, a few actually do read them. And these people become your advocates inside these prospective customer organizations. Don’t try and cheat. Just do the work.

You need great depth, but you also need the short, condensed, and frequently published. The combination of the two will bring you more success than doing only one (all short or all long).  A single white paper can be linked to from dozens of short posts. You’ll get a lot of milage from having great, in-depth resources to back up your daily posts. You need both, and as much of both as you can produce.

I have no illusions that those thirty-page white papers that I write get read by a wide audience. They get read by a select audience. They get SEEN by a wider audience. And the select and the general audiences make their decisions about what to spend their money on with those materials in mind.

And now you know the secret, too, but will you do anything about it? Don’t despair and turn away from publishing long works. You really need them. You just don’t need a wide readership for your long works. Let the combination of long and short works drive sales by the increased perception of your credibility and expertise.

Content Marketing: Publish Long-Form Content, But Don’t Expect People To Read It by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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