New #MarketingNerds Podcast: Why Ebooks, White Papers, and Other Long Form Content can Benefit Your Business

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New #MarketingNerds Podcast: Why Ebooks, White Papers, and Other Long Form Content can Benefit Your Business

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

In this week’s episode of the Marketing Nerds podcast, SEJ Executive Editor Kelsey Jones and Senior Editor Danielle Antosz talk about long form content such as ebooks and white papers, how it can help set you and your brand as a thought leader in your industry, and how you can tie it up with other pieces of content.

#MarketingNerds: Benefits of Long Form Content | SEJ

Here are a few of transcribed excerpts from our discussion, but make sure to listen to the podcast to hear everything:

Big Pieces of Content: Benefits and Getting Started

The benefits of doing a big piece is that you can create lots of pieces of content around it. You do spend a lot of time and energy creating one piece of content, which can be hard for brand [marketers that are thinking], “I can’t get a blog post out once a week, how am I supposed to do this?”

Breaking it down into tasks is definitely the first step. Break it down into something small and manageable. It doesn’t seem as intimidating if you break it down into steps. You can start with outlining the chapters and what you wanted each chapter to be about.

What Makes Content Helpful?

Content that is doing their audience a service always works. We don’t really like content that’s like, “oh, here’s an ebook on everything we offer and why our company’s awesome.” Instead, do an ebook on how to put together a PPC campaign from scratch for beginners, or something that’s actually useful rather than a long piece of promotional content.

Promoting Your Brand Through Big Content

Buzzfeed does a really good job with their sponsored content. They’ll create content for sponsors and it’s labeled as sponsored, but it’s really cool, fun stuff.

A lot of content marketers should be expected to kind of step up their game and put the quality first and then if it happens to slip in at the end some information, that’s going to go a lot farther than trying to only promote yourself throughout the entire thing. With big content, it’s easier to do that because you’re trying to create something huge, and even if you want to talk about yourself, you can only talk about yourself for so long, hopefully. When you create these huge pieces of content, it’s a lot easier and it comes more naturally to most brands when they’re doing a larger piece of content to make it more useful first.

You don’t even need to mention yourself in long content, because you can utilize content marketing to set yourself up as a thought leader. That’s kind of what we did with our long guides. We have a search guide, a social media guide, and then a content marketing guide. That’s setting us up as a thought leader in our industry.

When you’re creating pieces of content, go that route versus “how can we slip in a promotion to our self in this ebook or white paper?”

So, say, if you’re have an SEO tool; you could still develop a complete SEO guide, you could create a complete SEO course if you wanted, and that would be a huge piece of content. The goal would not be on every page to say “come see our tool.” It should be, “if you want to learn everything there is about SEO, we’re a trusted name, this is a guide that tells you how to do it.”

Later, and you shouldn’t mention it hardly at all, later when they go “oh, I need a tool. That brand, I learned everything from them, I bet that works really well.” That should be the sentiment that you’re going for.

Annual Studies and Link Earning

Searchmetrics, who we’ve partnered with to do our SEJ summit conferences this year, do an annual ranking report using their software. Moz also do an annual, it’s either local search or just SEO in general report that everyone looks forward to. And that’s a really good way to set yourself up as a thought leader in the space with a report people are looking for, and it also has original research that people can reference and use to shape their own campaigns.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the creating the very basic the very kind of median line stuff, and essentially regurgitating it over and over. A lot of them (the annual studies) are survey based. They’re usually really deep data driven, of course. Some of them could do survey based just to get a lay of the land. That’s a huge piece of content that you can do that’s not going to require a whole lot of man power on your end, which is good.

If you just do Survey Monkey, which has free and paid options, and then you could do a gift card raffle. You know, “take this five minute survey on the state of B2B marketing industry, and you’ll be eligible to win one of four $50 amazon gift cards.” You’d be surprised at what people do for a gift card. That’s not expensive, that’s 200 bucks, plus if you have to use the paid Survey Monkey platform. Pretty low cost to come up with some original data.

That’s even considering the cost of doing something different and needing to pay your people hourly, right, so like 200 bucks is pretty minimal. Then you might have some cost in advertising to get people to do the survey.

It’s really something, especially if you have found that your industry hasn’t been doing a lot of unique studies, that’s a way to differentiate yourself from competitors because your customers are going to see that you’re doing these studies and they’re going to know that you’re committed to furthering the industry. Which is going to hold you in a higher esteem, I feel like.

It’s not a bad way to earn links either. If you’re doing it to be useful. I think that’s the biggest thing, is if your main goal is to be useful first and foremost, I don’t think you can go wrong.

Other Types of Content You can Use to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

With big content it’s easy to create a ton of content.

We have the history of content marketing as one of the sections of our guide. We could just as easily take and create the bar graph type, or you could even do just an infographic detailing the entire history of content marketing. And you could use that to promote the white paper.

We’ve had Albert Costill, our writer, write one or two articles just related to content marketing as a whole that still relate to some of the aspects of the white paper. So with white papers you have that.

We have the webinars so that’s a big piece of content that we create four different pieces of content around. We do the video, the Slideshare, the recap post, and a long form post.

If you’re doing an ebook, like what we did with the content marketing guide or the SEO guide… I don’t know how much extra content we created around that, but I think we reference it a lot. So it is still connected to a lot of pieces of content.

No piece of content is created by itself, and it shouldn’t be. It could be connected to all the other ones. There’s tons of ways to take a big piece of content, break up the chapters, delve deeper into data. You have a limited number of pages if you’re doing an ebook or a white paper. Even if it’s longer form, you’ve only got so much time you can use on information, so digging deeper is definitely an easy way to do it.

#MarketingNerds: Benefits of Long Form Content | SEJ

To listen to this Marketing Nerds podcast with Danielle Antosz and Kelsey Jones:

Think you have what it takes to be a Marketing Nerd? If so, message Kelsey Jones on Twitter, or email her at kelsey [at]

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!


Image Credits

Featured image: Image by Paulo Bobita
In-post Photo #1: Andrey_Popov/
In-post Photo #2: Image by Search Engine Journal

Aki Libo-on
Aki is a content strategist, marketing consultant, and former assistant editor of SEJ. When not at work, she is busy plotting her #WorldDomination plans while... Read Full Bio
Aki Libo-on
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