Content marketing: it’s vital to your online presence, but it’s also time-consuming.
If you asked many marketers, they’d tell you that content is simply a vessel for traffic and engagement and that it doesn’t matter how long it took you to write it. You just need to get “something out.”
And they’re right: right?
They actually couldn’t be more wrong.
Even if they do know content is important, too many marketers view it as a sprint rather than a marathon: thinking they can write 20 short, low-quality blog posts, slap them online, and call it “content marketing.” Unfortunately, this isn’t a recipe for anything other than a full-blown content disaster.
In order for content to succeed online, you need to play the long game with your content marketing goals.
Recently, it took me a whole eight months to rank #1 in Google for a long-tail keyword with an infographic titled “What Copywriters do,” bringing us a great deal of traffic, so I know what I’m talking about here.
While many people wish content strategy were a simple, short process, that’s simply not true and marketers who are prepared for that reality are better equipped to succeed at all things content.
Read on to learn more.
Why Focusing on a Content Marathon, Not a Sprint, is a Good Thing for Your Marketing
Think about a footrace for a moment: it’s pretty brutal, right? To win a footrace, you don’t necessarily need technique or style, you just need speed (at least until you become a professional track athlete, at which point style and form are critically important).
Because of this, the winner of a footrace isn’t necessarily the best runner in the group. Put that same winner into a 10k and he’d likely burn out at the beginning, right? I bet you see where I’m going with this.
The same thing applies to content.
While anyone can sprint in a general direction towards the finish line with crappy content and poorly thought-out content strategies, not every marketer can devise an effective, long-term strategy for actually consistently ranking well with content.
This is the main reason that the long-term content strategy is so much better than a short-term content strategy.
In addition to being more sustainable, the long-term approach is also wiser and more fully thought out.
In the words of Tim Ferriss, “there will always be a need for high-quality, and there will always be a need for long-form.” While short-term content strategies seek to produce instant and short-lived results, long-term content strategies allow marketers to bond with their audiences, build their voice, provide real value, and rank in an authentic and sustainable way. Because of this, marketers who create long-term content strategies often publish more effective content, build bigger audiences and garner more shares across the board.
10 B.S.-Free Reasons Long-Term Content Strategy is Better
1. It’s a Better Use of Your Money and Resources
Imagine going on a diet to lose weight. For two weeks, you eat only whole, clean foods and you exercise for two hours a day.
You feel great and – hey! – You lose weight. At the end of that two weeks, however, you stop exercising and go right back to your old diet habits.
Of course, you gain all of the weight back, and your guise of physical fitness takes a nosedive.
Not surprisingly, the same thing happens with content. Regardless of what you’re doing, content marketing takes money and resources. If you’re paying someone to flood your accounts with content for two weeks and then laying off your strategy entirely, you can bet not only will your strategy be ineffective, but it will also be a waste of your money and resources.
Instead, you’re much better off allocating your resources to a long-term content strategy that will build readers over time and help you maintain steady levels of traffic and clicks over months or years. Instead of wasting your resources, this re-allocates them right back into your company and ensures that you’re building value while also establishing a solid foundation of lasting, relevant,
2. Long-Term Content Makes Readers Think
To keep readers interested and engaged for an extended period, you need to offer them comprehensive, in-depth content that helps them address concerns and solve problems.
And that means long content, in terms of word count per article.
Don’t think just because we live in an age where attentions spans are short that long-form content won’t do well. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Neil Patel did a test on Crazy Egg. He found that content with 2,400 words performed better than anything less, and interestingly, the longer the content on average the better the results: even regarding shares!
In addition to providing outstanding value for readers, long-form content also allows your company to build authority and establish dominance by showcasing your knowledge on relevant topics in your industry.
3. Content Changes All the Time
As search engines and readers progress, the demand for quality, informed, relevant content increases all the time. Because of this, a long-term content strategy is the best possible weapon.
Designed to insulate marketers against change and help them maintain their traffic and readership despite changing SEO, content, and marketing requirements, long-term content marketing allows space for the strategy to absorb and adapt to changing trends, thus ensuring more effective content and a more adaptive strategy that doesn’t have to scramble to keep up.
4. Long-Term Content is Synonymous With Cornerstone Content
Every good house needs a solid foundation, and every good marketing strategy needs cornerstone content it can rely on to provide long-lasting value and relevance to readers. Since short-term content strategies are largely aimed at ranking well for a specific keyword or phrase, they all but neglect cornerstone content entirely. Unfortunately, this leads to a less valuable and less relevant website for users of all types.
When it comes to attracting long-term clicks and ensuring that a website’s readers are engaged, entertained, and consuming value at all times, cornerstone content becomes more of an essential than a luxury.
Designed to engage and interest a target audience, cornerstone content is long-term content that might not draw a huge number of clicks right off the bat, but which remains valuable for months or years after the publishing date. Think of it as a down payment toward your own business. In fact, if you look at the aforementioned Tim Ferriss’s blog, you’ll notice most of his most popular blog posts were written up to two years ago. How’s that for an effective long-term strategy?
5. Long-Term Content Doesn’t Turn Off With a Hard Sell
In today’s marketing environment, there is virtually nothing customers hate more than being hard-sold. Nobody wants to know why they can’t live without your product or why it’s critical for them to “buy now!” More often than not, these approaches simply alienate customer and make it harder for your company to sell products naturally. Unfortunately, the hard-sell is often a tone taken by short-term content.
Because short-term content is insistent by nature, it’s tough to engineer it so it doesn’t push on your customers. As a result, short-term content strategies run a high risk of alienating customers and making it more difficult to sell your products.
Long-term content strategies, on the other hand, do no such thing. Because they’re not designed to elicit an immediate response from readers, they seek to provide value and relevance rather than insistence and immediacy.
In other words, they succeed in explaining a problem, helping the audience handle the problem and then inviting them to engage in a discussion about the problem. This, in turn, is a fantastic way to nurture long-term customer relationships and ensure that your company continues to meet the needs of your clients.
6. Long-Term Content Strategy is an Effective Way to Approach Current Events
Did you think writing about trending news items and industry events makes you a short-term content strategist? Think again. Trending-content focused blogs are extremely important, and it’s a mistake to think of this as only a short-term strategy.
In fact, trending news can be critical to your long-term strategy as well, and can help you establish your website as the source for up-to-date and relevant industry updates. When you focus on using trending, to-the-minute news pieces as a way to enhance and strengthen your long-term content strategy, it’s easy to see how you can improve your company and boost your business overall.
7. Long-Term Content Promotes Itself
Failing to promote your content is one of the most dangerous mistakes in the entire content marketing industry and, unfortunately, it’s one many marketers make. While short-term content needs aggressive promotion in order to succeed, long-term content essentially promotes itself.
When you create high-quality, in-depth, well-researched, long-term content and push it out to your followers, it’s easy to rank well for your chosen keyword phrase. Because long-term content is meant to garner clicks and shares over time, it’s often a great way to build steady, long-term rankings that can help boost your SERP placement and improve your standing online over time.
8. Long-Term Content is Good Content
Part of the different between long-term content and short-term content simply comes down to priority and intention. As a general rule, people who commit to the pursuit and development of content for the long term are much more in love with content than people who specialize in short-term content.
While all types of content are important, creating good long-term content requires a different mindset and series of priorities than creating short-term content. Because of this, long-term content strategies often boast better content that caters more effectively to readers.
9. Long-Term Content is an Effective Way to Build an Audience
When it comes to building an audience, you don’t want to aim for building the largest audience possible. This naturally results in a massive but unengaged group of followers. Instead, you want to build an audience of people who are genuinely interested in your concept and your content and will engage with it actively when it comes out.
This is one of the areas in which long-term content strategy is so powerful. Fewer people have the attention span for long-term (or long-form) content today, and by making it a large part of your content strategy, you can build a better audience and earn more qualified leads.
10. Long-Term Content is Best for SEO
SEO is a complex mix of strategies that companies need to succeed online. In addition to optimizing content correctly, companies that want to utilize good SEO also need to ensure their content is high-quality, relevant, and useful to their readers.
While this can be difficult with a short-term content strategy, a long-term content strategy suits the goal quite nicely. In addition to the fact that long-term content is written with the reader in mind, it’s easier to target a group of keywords with a long-term content strategy than it is a short-term content strategy.
Finally, every piece of content written in a long-term content strategy goes to boost and improve SEO, contributing to more online visibility and more clicks to your website.
The Case for a Long-Form Content Strategy
Many marketers tend to run a content sprint because it seems easier than a marathon, but good content takes thought, time, and effort. Ultimately, long-term goals are much more productive and result in a higher ROI.
A long-term content strategy caters to readers more effectively and allows room for better content and more relevant material – which helps you build your brand and create a sustainable and successful company.