Long form content is an article that is made up of over a thousand words that’s been optimized for search engines. Many purists suggest that for content to qualify as long form, it has to be at least fifteen hundred words.
This is because the main purpose of content is to boost the functionality of a website or a web platform. SEO long form content attracts traffic to a website, and it boosts a website to get a higher ranking among search engines. More traffic and higher rankings ultimately contribute to higher revenue and profit.
7 Companies Using Long Form Content Successfully
Search engines use algorithms that favor long form content more. Here are 7 brands taking advantage of this, along with examples of how they’re doing it.
Multinational IT corporation IBM uses long form content as a marketing strategy. Their most successful campaigns were delivered through long form. They have the same content delivered in video, audio, and text formats. The audio and video formats serves to lead the audience into ultimately consuming the long form text version.
The technical part of the technology industry can be boring to some, but IBM uses long form content to make it more appealing and interesting. Basically, long form content is about an interesting and relatable story.
One of their pieces is an inspiring article about an athlete that went blind and eventually became a computer engineer. She went on to join IBM as a researcher and these are projects that she became involved in:
● Development of the Braille Library Network
● Creating a cognitive assistant for city navigation
This is a piece of content that clearly communicates the values of the company to the audience in an indirect way. There is more similar content such as a series of articles that demystifies Big Data so that non-technical people can understand it.
A big percentage of the long form content that this car company produces is not related in any way to vehicles. One of the articles highlights a young baseball pitcher that the company supports. It is a heartwarming piece of content that not only inspires others, but also promotes the social element of the motor company.
Another famous way the firm has capitalized on long form content is in their piece titled 100 Years of Icons. (Here’s an example of Chevy’s long-form article on a local dealer’s website.) This article is a documentation of the Chevy’s journey and seeks to impress upon the reader what role the firm plays in American culture.
An article like that makes Chevrolet customers feel proud to be part of a cultural product with a historical print. The title itself is very captivating and the content contains all the details of the key milestones the company has been through.
Other brands have tried to emulate this template of long form content but with little success. This is because Chevrolet has a cult following and a large one at that.
Long form content works well when a brand has a known history. This history is created from constant content output that proves that the particular brand is a leader in their area of specialization.
Qualcomm is a telecommunication company that has delved into long form content in all mediums. These include text, audio, and video. They offer branded video content that not only immerses the audience into the story but sensitizes them about the company’s products.
One piece of content is a short film where the audience follows a guy who wakes up to find his girlfriend missing. The short film utilizes the technology that the company makes.
In a separate piece, company representatives break the film down as they explain the technology to the audience. This is a making-of or behind-the-scenes content. One of the technologies that Qualcomm develops is the finger sensor and it gets to be portrayed in a non-technical way.
Qualcomm uses long form content to market their products to the masses in a way that feels more like a story. This way, a consumer gets to experience what it feels like to use the products and is more motivated to purchase.
The educational nature of their content is productive because an in-depth understanding of how something works leads to a better customer experience with a product. For example, here’s an educational piece of content about artificial intelligence in the video below.
BMW is another motor vehicle company that is taking advantage of long form content. They also have ventured into films in order to promote their brand while at the same time entertaining the audience.
In a recent content release, BMW uses a typical horror narrative to suit one of their products (below). This form of creativity has inspired content creators to come up with long form content around the subject.
The buzz created from the content leads back to the company in form of more profits. Here BMW uses the long form content in a video format into inspiring creators to create valuable content related to the products.
BMW is using films to bring into public view some of the developments they are involved in. This creates anticipation from the audience on when the product will become available for retail.
Using film is a way to get people to create long form content around the subject matter. The content is packaged in form of reviews, testing, how-to-tutorials, and many more.
BMW uses this model to create an ecosystem that constantly produces long form content, which is profitable to the business.
REI stands for Recreational Equipment Inc. Blogging is a way to produce long form content and the most successful blogs deal with people’s experiences. REI has capitalized on the blogosphere by producing content that is both emotional and relatable.
One of their popular pieces of content is a documentary by the name Paul’s Boots. This is a moving story about a hiker’s dream. He died before his dream could be realized but REI did a unique thing in realizing the dream for him, through his boots.
An emotional human story like this will inspire many more into producing long form content that in turn will promote REI as a brand.
The model is simple; the company comes up with a long form piece of content that will inspire many people. Consumers will be proud that their chosen brand really cares about them individually.
REI are not crushing on this medium for profit, but it’s a form of giving back by paying tribute to one of their customers.
Patagonia is another apparel firm that is utilizing long form content in a similar way to REI.
Consumers love adventure, especially Patagonia customers, and this company understands the market need. They produce long form content that reflects their products. Patagonia designs gear and clothing for outdoor activities such as such as skiing, surfing, and much more.
One article that stands out is titled, "Climbing in Iceland with Loki the Deceiver." The article details the trials and tribulations of four climbers. Unlike other articles, this one contains both the good and the bad parts of the experience.
A piece like that dives right into a reader’s emotional world and offers valuable insights. A brand like Patagonia understands that readers are seeking out-of-the-ordinary, non-fiction content that is relatable to their present life status. This is exactly what the company’s content spells out.
Once the audience gets what they need from the content, then they reciprocate in the form of purchases and engagement with the company.
Long form content is not a direct means to profits but is an avenue to create a platform that will ensure business growth.
Airbnb has done something rare in the world of long form content creation. A few years back they published an interactive annual report that highlights and details the growth of the company to the last tee.
This is an unusual approach from the conventional format of videos, articles, and audio. The report became successful because it was presented in an interactive way.
Another contributing factor to its success is that Airbnb is a firm that runs on honesty and the annual report provided transparency.
Their significant growth may have attracted new customers but it also reassured loyal ones. The report was not just text and numbers, but it contained detailed information about the service users.
These are real life stories, supported by images and videos. The strategy was a clever move in an age where many brands relied on the same old content publishing mediums.
Another company that went a different route is Quick Sprout.
From all the above brands, Quick Sprout is the only one that used an ebook as long form content. The brand offers tips and materials on how to grow and improve your website.
A company like this is expected to have relied on articles and other formats for long form content but they did not.
This is understandable because ebooks are one of the currencies of online businesses. It is one way through which digital product creators make their money and grow their businesses.
The ebook that Quick Sprout published has all the secrets for growing a website online. Essentially this contained tricks that the company uses to fill the needs of their clients. Putting it out there makes the brand superior in their area of specialization.
Final Thoughts on Long Form Content
These seven brands understand what their customers need, and they realize that long form content is the secret for online success. They have combined the knowledge of what their audiences want with online tools to advance their businesses.
Adapting some of the models and ideas these businesses relied on will ensure your success in long form content creation.
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Lorenzo Gutierrez is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in digital strategy. His MBA in Strategy & Management along with his industry experience make him uniquely qualified for this position. Lorenzo’s clients come from competitive industries such as healthcare and biotechnology. He enjoys writing in his free time on some of his favorite topics like entrepreneurship. Connect with Lorenzo on LinkedIn.