In today’s increasingly connected world, the content is king. We have an astronomical amount of information at our fingertips. It has changed the way we view everything, including healthcare (hint: WebMD). When you throw in the different means of access, such as the number of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, we find that there is a lot of people consuming a massive amount of content. Luckily, for businesses, this means that there is a variety of opportunities to engage their audience and garner a larger customer base.
So, if you’re looking to create impactful content, how do you go about doing it? Is long form content better than short form content? Is there, perhaps, some magic number in between long-form content and short-form content? To get your post or page indexed by Google, all you’ll really need to write is a quick 400 words. But that’s not necessarily impactful content! So, let’s break down the benefits and cons of both long form and short form content.
To maximise your content, and not just settle for the bare minimum, you’ll need to hit more than 400 words. Your content should not only build a relationship with your customers, it should be informative, have sufficient SEO content and give your company tangible authority.
But let’s define long form and short form content first. Long form content is typically any post that exceeds 2,000 words. On the other hand, short-form content is half of that at 1,000 words or less. If you’re very concise, you could write an impactful brief in just 500 words.
Long Form Content
Blog posts and other articles ranging between 1,200 and 2,000 words currently dominate the long form content cache. However, with the new standard long-form content, these numbers are slowly increasing to over 3,000 words. In fact, some articles can clock in at 10,000 words!
So, why do we need long-form content? Firstly, we need to look at the almighty Google. It will rank long-form content over short form if they have the same keywords because readers will average a longer time on those pages. The other benefit to long-form content is its ability to convey information. Blog posts or articles that are in-depth, informative and demonstrate skilled knowledge about specific topics perform the best. This is because this type of long-form content provides valuable information to an interested audience who is searching for that specific information.
Here are some quick facts about long-form content!
1. Long-form gets more shares.
2. Due to its length, it provides better opportunities for SEO.
3. With this type of content, you can position your brand as an authority on the subject.
4. It’s better for content conversion and generating leads.
So, when do you use long-form?
- If you are trying to introduce a brand-new product or service. In this instance, you’ll need to explain what you are offering and why people need its value.
- When you want to sell a high-end product with a heavy price tag or if you want to sell something with a long-term commitment period. You’ll need to convince your buyers of the investment before they make their purchase and long-form gives you the space to do so.
- If your product is technical or complex in nature, long-form is useful in adequately discussing the product and marketing it.
Short form content is often the favourite of marketing staff because of its ease of use. If you can get the most with minimal effort, wouldn’t you jump on that boat? There are excellent examples of short-form content such as vine videos, infographics, pins on Pinterest and the ever-popular listicles you might find on Buzzfeed.
This form of content has been holding its own because there is a proportion of online readers who prefer to scan through content instead of reading every word. To target this audience, a concise message can be a strong form of communication between a brand and their consumers. It is possible that this audience is generally those always on the go, who read articles on their phones as the short-form content is more mobile-friendly.
When does short-form content win?
- If you have a product that’s ubiquitous or that the audience is familiar with, they won’t want to read a long article introducing it. In these instances, brands will win with short impactful content.
- A simple product or service is another area in which short form content is useful.
- If your target source is tailored for short-form content. For example, an email newsletter, an ad or twitter.
In short, how long your article will be dependent on how much your audience knows about your product. Long form can be great in the sense that you introduce your product to your base and lead them through from start to end. But short form can deliver information quickly!
So here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding on long- or short-form.
- How much does your audience need to be educated?
- How interested are your readers in your service?
- Do you need to create interest?
- What are your basic marketing objectives for your content?
While there are benefits to writing the long form and short form, there are a couple of downsides to both forms that you’ll need to look for. For example, short-form content can be superficial or has the ability to quickly become a hard sell. On the other hand, long-form content needs to be intriguing enough to keep their audience’s attention. Ultimately, if you use either or both forms of content, it’ll need to be executed properly.
Mixing It Up
The strategy is the key to writing the successful long form and short form content. In the end, though, the stats don’t lie! Long-form content has been proven to perform better in search engines, garners more shares on social media and increases the time people spend on a page. For emerging brands, this could be the time to invest in long-form content, whilst experimenting with short-form content or employing it at crucial moments to enhance your long form content.
Content marketers want to go viral. Yes, this is my broad sweeping claim, but admit it. You see shareable content from Buzzfeed, EliteDaily and Bored Panda and you wonder, “how can I replicate THAT”.
According to FRACTL, Steve Harvey’s wrong announcement in the 2015 Miss Universe winner had increased organic traffic by 123%. So yes, who wouldn’t want to go viral? It is a quick way to get noticed — millions of shares and likes, plus a lot of traffic to the site. It is the golden ticket!
The problem with that is that it takes time to create it and a longer time to replicate it (if anyone knows the exact percentage of content going viral, give me a ping!). Plus you need the ability to anticipate and know the best distribution channels for your content. From split testing headlines to mining content and being familiar with your target audience’s needs is what drives the sharability of the content you created.
So what is wrong with wanting to go viral?
Company-centered VS Consumer-centered
Ask yourself the following questions:
That is biggest problem when content marketers focus on KPIs when creating viral content.
Instead, shift the focus on the consumer. Create content that benefits or adds value to them. By looking primarily at traffic to website, you just want a get-rich-quick scheme. Don’t underestimate you audience. People reading your content are smart. While you may have gotten a lot of clicks on that post with a click-bait title, the numbers will tell you that overtime, the engagement rate is not picking up because what’s in it for them to keep talking about it?
Viral content does not help your KPIs
Depending on the nature of your company, the audience your piece of content attracts may not be valuable to your brand.
The problem with viral content is that while you get an explosion of eyeballs on your website, the kind of customers who keep coming back can be few. Going viral for the sake of it means you might be sacrificing the need to attract the right customer base. So if you want to re-engage with these people who liked or commented on your viral post, they may not be loyal to your brand. Just to that post.
Misuse of the marketing budget. Yes, I said the B-word — budget. Do you want to waste man-hours, time and resources on coming up with a singular piece of content and hedging your bets on it to succeed? With such high risks, if you’re a novice, then its best to stick to content that is accessible to a target audience that is right for your company. Instead, refine your content delivery process. Take a look at how newsletters can be optimised. Or devote resources on SEM and in optimising pages. Marketing goes beyond that of content. Content may be the king, but what is royalty without its subjects to keep the palace afloat?
That is my argument on why content marketers should focus less on viral content and more about creating pieces that add value to your audience’s lives. If I haven’t convinced you about the dangers of viral articles and videos, then here are some guides that breakdown the art of it:
Love it, hate it, viral content is here to stay. How can content marketers be responsible with it? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section!
For individuals just starting to strike out on your own, this new-found freedom is exhilarating (and a little daunting). While you relish in the chance to set your own hours and be your own boss, freelancers tend to forget that without a company or manager, you pretty much have to be responsible for yourself. This is important in setting your rates, negotiating with clients and finding the discipline to complete assignments on time. If you’re an established freelancer in your field, then these would seem a little familiar.
Here are the key mistakes to avoid and HOW to avoid them in future:
Rookie Mistake #1: Calling Yourself a FreelancerYeap.
We know it is important to keep it simple instead of making up a title such as ‘Visual Aesthetics Specialist’. If you’re a graphic designer and your own boss, you’re a freelance graphic designer. But by doing that, did you know that you’re repelling and/or attracting some groups of clients instead of getting the right ones? Clients tend to perceive ‘freelancers’ in a way that may be damaging to you. It seems like your services are cheap (you can’t spell freelancers without free, amiright?), you are new to the market plus it can also mean that you’re unemployed and in desperate need of a job. Which makes it difficult for you to attract and retain high quality clients..
Sure, times have changed and some of the negative connotations of a freelancer may no longer be there. However, if you’re starting out, pay attention to how you brand yourself (Sheryl Sandberg disagrees). If you stand for something, you are memorable. In the freelancing world, that it a good way to get clients to trust you.
Rookie Mistake #2: Not Selling Yourself
Not the kind where you stand outside a mall and hand out flyers with your number and work details on it. Be smart about selling yourself. Start with your current clients. After finishing an assignment for them, ask for a referral.
The best way to sell yourself is to get your clients to spread the good word about you! Now, there is an art to asking them to do you this favour.
Rookie Mistake #3: Undervaluing Your Services
You may be booking your first gig. Don’t let inexperience guide your rate. There is no best practice for setting your own rates. Some prefer to do it on an hourly basis and some find it easier by charging per project. No matter which method you choose, first calculate your monthly expenses. Think about how many clients you would need to book in order to cover it. After All, people are paying you for your time spent.
Rookie Mistake #4:Assuming You Have an Inferior Position in the Working RelationshipA client just booked you because you have the skills they need. Have some confidence! Just because you don’t have the backing of a large corporation behind your title doesn’t mean that you are inferior to your client. Some freelancers think that way. The working relationship is worse off as freelancers get too afraid to push their viable ideas for the company.
Work WITH your clients. Only when you start doing that, you are not listening and carrying out their suggestions but you are improving on them and adding value. Trust me, your client would rather work with someone like that.
Rookie Mistake # 5: Not Dedicating Time for Skills Upgrading
A happy client is one working with a freelancer who knows their stuff. So keep yourself updated in your field and talk to people to find out their opinion about it.
Here are some tools to help start you off! These are the sites I found useful. (Not a promotional ad, just sharing from experience)
There you have it, rookie mistake to avoid! If you have more tips to share, let me know ! Let’s empower one freelancer at a time :)
Content marketing has evolved in the past 5 years. With brands getting creative in their methods to push product visibility (which felt more like shoving it down our throats, tbh), consumers have gotten adept in spotting a brand sponsored post.
One of my favourite advertisements has to be Dove. They have cornered a large share of the beauty market by simply sharing stories. Making a connection with the audience. This subtle form of branding is why when you think of body care, you think about family and the link to Dove’s products. Boom! Content marketing done right.
Half the issue is not just what you say, it is also includes how you say it, how many times you say it and when you say it. Here are some rookie mistakes to avoid to bump up your content marketing skills to one of the pros:
1. Prioritising Sale Over Information
The primary purpose of content marketing is to make a sale. True. But this should not govern the kind of content you create. Repeat after me: information, information, information. It is all about providing a service to your readers. Adding value to their knowledge about the item or the brand.
Use content as a way to bridge a gap between the company and the target audience. Create trust by talking about the brand’s identity and what the company believes in before you even broach the subject about what you can sell them. Another way to form a trusting relationship between you and your potential clients is to avoid overselling the product. You don’t need me to tell you the cost to your companion by manipulating your loyal readers.
2. Bad Grammar and (gasp!) Spelling
It is the litle tings taht mayce a diferrennce.
Being meticulous and ensuring that there are no misspelled words, shows your brand’s attention to detail. Sure, nobody notices an article with zero mistakes. When they do, it is an eyesore. To put in concrete terms, this could result in you losing a valued reader, a content partner might decide to never work with you or it could reduce traffic to your site over time. That is the worst case scenario. Best case would be an angry comment left on your Facebook page. Thank goodness for technology. Now we can circumvent this hassle by using programmes that double-check on your grammar. Even Google Docs has a spell check add-on to keep your article grammatically pristine.
So British English or American English? It does not matter. Just be consistent!
3. Frequent/Infrequent Posting
Posting too much in a day or a week can cause reader fatigue. It is like scrolling through your Instagram account and seeing a cousin’s picture of the beach with a dozen hashtags (oh yes, do be strategic with hashtagging). Posting too little or inconsistently would result in losing that connection between you and your readers.
Either extreme is bad. What you want to do is hit that sweet spot somewhere in the middle. There is no definite number. What you want to do is to balance out your online presence with your schedule. Keep monitoring traffic to your site before deciding to increase or decrease the frequency. Do a bit of research and find out the best time to post your articles. For example, Sunday mornings are the best time to post on productivity-related pieces and take advantage of the mid-week blues to post about weekend activities.
4. Content Does Not Match The Platform
Some kinds of content work better in text form and other are effective as bite-size content or as pictures. If you want to educate the public about the right way to do squats, being descriptive will not hit the point. Gifs and inforgraphics work better. Not to mention, they make a lasting impression on the reader too.
Always come up with the content angle and direction first, then decide which platform is best to deliver the message.
5. Brand Amnesia
Content is a tool to make a connection with your readers. Every time they see a cat video or a meme, they think about your company. If your content does not reflect the identity or the values of the brand, this not only loses readers but confuses them as well.
Form a strong foundation by sticking to topics related to your company (it does not have to be what you sell). For example, a brand specialising in organic soaps could talk about topics related to sustainable farming, fair practices, eco-friendly packaging and safety concerns.
Let’s put it all together, shall we? Provide a service — create a pool of knowledge about the industry for your readers. Doing this, makes an invaluable connection with them. By being focused on brand identity, your content is sharp and relatable to your audience. Which is why they keep coming back for more.
What are some articles you find memorable? Why did you remember it so well? What emotions did it invoke?
In 5 Reasons You Need Social Media, we discussed specific ways different platforms can help your business. It was a glace into choosing the right one for your business and how to be smart about it.
Then we thought, what if we could expand that list? Here are 4 more reasons (in case you weren’t convinced earlier) why social media is every company’s best mate:
1. Stay current
Social media can keep businesses informed on trending topics and the latest news that people are hyped up about.
The Editors use this information and create content around trending topics that link to the business.
Injecting original ideas about a trending topic can stimulate opinions and get the discussion started.
Although social media requires some investment of funds for the best utilisation, many platforms are free! It is much more cost effective to run than other modes of marketing.
3. Customers can find you
Consistent and up-to-date social media activity allows customers to find businesses with minimal effort and cost.
4. Generate more sales
The crux of social media is presence. Businesses can create interest in their products with sufficient exposure.
The Editors specialise in these aspects to create efficient, successful social media content that represents a company’s individual spirit and essence!
Now that you know why social media is important, do you know how to use it to your advantage? What are some of your fears before you expand your company’s social media strategy? Share YOUR thoughts with us!
Many people have asked me, is social media marketing essential? So many businesses have succeeded so well in the past, what’s so different now? If you prefer statistics, a report by Social Media Examiner reported that 92% of marketers have expressed the importance of social media to their businesses.
Still not convinced? Here are 5 reasons that might just change your mind:
1. Finding the right audience
The internet is a wide place that reaches almost everyone on the globe and with ever-increasing globalisation, businesses are no longer restricted by geographical limitations. Social media simply facilitates the ability to reach out and market your products, no matter how specific, to your intended audience.
Apart from the big names in social media, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, rapidly growing platforms such as Pinterest are also equally impactful. Pinterest has the fastest growing base of users but the power of social media marketing isn’t just the users, but also the breadth and depth of their conversations.
2. Drive up traffic to your site
With the hundreds of millions of sites available online, the challenge to draw people and keep them there is real. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a highly-underappreciated skill. The Editors specialise in SEO by creating more opportunities for customers to find and visit your site.
3. Discover your audience
Social media marketing not only creates opportunities for people to discover businesses, it is also a cache of information for businesses on their audience. The Editors use analytics to tailor content and SEO to different types of audiences and create a larger impact.
4. Build trust
The versatility of social media enables businesses to show a more human side. Allow your customers a behind-the-scenes look or show your followers that you’re a company made-up of unique individuals. Build a rapport with your customers, after all, a trusted company is a preferred company.
5. A direct line of communication
Use the constant availability of social media as a marker of your company’s availability for the client. Customers love businesses that they can readily talk to on a variety of social media platforms. Fast, simple communication is what users expect and appreciate.
Social media is transforming the way brands communicate and engage with customers. Increasingly the gap between them is decreasing and businesses need to adopt social media strategies to be responsive to customer experiences as well as understanding trends.
Found this article useful? Have more tips? Share them with the readers in the comments section below!
Setting up a Wordpress account is just the beginning.
Over the weekend, I caught up with an old friend who wanted to create a blog. It is a portfolio for her freelance projects. Good idea? It’s a great start, if you ask me. After hearing much chatter from everyone about starting a blog, they wanted to know how to make it visible to potential clients. In other words, how to make my blog work for me and therefore, be successful?
Hint: it takes more than just logging into your account.
Know Your Audience
You have a product. You want to get it out there. Know who would want or need your services. Ask yourself these questions:
You want to work with a company such as a digital marketing company, for a longer duration, then build trust with them. Your content should show off your personality and values. Your blog becomes your first impression.
If you aim to work with smaller firms, show them how you can provide that extra something in your blog posts.
Do a Little Research
If this is your recent entry into the blog game, don’t think that you are too late into the game. Catch up by doing some research of your own! Doing a basic keyword research on your product would help you find what people are searching for in that arena.
Collate all the keywords related to your business. Remember to use them in creating relevant content that speaks to what the average person wants to know.
Some sites with rich repository are:
Moz Blog on keyword research.
How to use Google Keyword Planner (condensed version for the busy bee).
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.
Be Patient — Continue to Create and Share Content
Keep track of your blog’s performance on a monthly basis. But you have to patient. You can only see results after three months. It takes time for google bots to crawl your pages and more time to direct traffic to your site.
Speed up the process a little by sharing your pieces on social media. With more likes and shares on Facebook, your blog will get a wider reach! Just pick the right platform for your services.
Who are The Editors? Just two creative women with a penchant for writing, an eye for design and an appetite for chai. Contact us via our Facebook page for queries or just share the LOVE with us :)