As someone born in 1981, I may be among the last people born with an attention span.

Well, that’s the stereotype anyway. If you are a part of the so-called Millennial generation, word is that your attention span can be measured in seconds. I mean, it is the age group that popularized TL;DR, right?

Of course, I seem to remember when it was the Generation X’ers who were the shiftless layabouts, too distracted to focus on anything for more than a few seconds. And yet, the New Yorker lives on today. People still have subscriptions to the Economist and the Times. It may be the age of Twitter, Vine and Instagram, but there’s still demand out there for long-form content.

Not convinced? Here are three reasons why in-depth content should be a part of any content marketing strategy.

Your Audience Wants It

A few weeks ago, Google announced the inclusion of in-depth articles to their normal search results. According to their research, approximately 10 percent of people are searching for this kind of long-form content. This change to Google’s Panda algorithm is meant to bring relevant, in-depth results that may have been buried in the search results to the front page.

This is big news for content marketers. While work is still being done to determine exactly which articles are chosen, it looks as though content between 2,000 and 5,000 words is the sweet spot you should be looking for. This is a whole new opportunity to get in front of people who are searching for this kind of content. The audience is out there. Are you talking to them?

Your Image Demands It

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the term “thought leadership.” But if brands want to be considered a leading voice about a certain subject, long-form content is among the best ways to go about doing it. In-depth materials that appeal to your target audience and influential figures in your space provides your brand with legitimacy, authority, and yes, thought leadership.

Your Readers Connect With It

It’s probably not news that readers will spend more time with long-form content than they would a 140 character tweet. But nothing connects with a reader quite like long-form content. While it certainly takes longer to produce, this type of content is usually more immersive and engaging for the reader. And if you’re one of those people who needs to see the data to prove it, quality long-form content produces lower bounce rates and longer time spent on site.

Of course, it’s not just about longer content for the sake of content. The goal is to produce better, more engaging content. Content that draws the eye and entices the reader to continue with the story. There’s a reason that one of the most popular articles on The Atlantic’s website is a nearly 10,000 word piece from 1982 about the diamond industry: it’s well-written, relevant and engaging.

Long-form content isn’t back. In fact, it never left. And as more brands embrace a media company mindset, these in-depth pieces should be a key aspect of any content marketing strategy.


Image courtesy of peteoshea.

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