Did you just get transported back to hair scrunchies and bomber jackets? We’ll tell you one thing, although that phrase is past its prime, epic content is not. And if you’re not prioritizing epic content—also known as long-form content—your content strategy might as well be in a DeLorean heading back to the 80s.
To stop yourself from moving backward, your 2021 content strategy should include whitepapers and other long-form content pieces. They’re the perfect way to capture more website traffic and conversions to grow your business.
Long-Form Content: Generating Epic Results for Your Business
Long-form content can benefit your business in many ways. For example, HubSpot found that:
- Articles with a word count between 2,250 and 2,500 earn the most organic traffic
- Articles over 2,500 words get the most shares on social media
These are the results you want to see to ensure your website is collecting views from potential customers. But that’s not all.
Long-form content that delivers value often gains backlinks from others wanting to source and share your awesome content (for example, a business adding a link to your content in a blog post). These links help Google determine which content is worthy of a higher rank.
“For example, if other prominent websites link to the page (what is known as PageRank), that has proven to be a good sign that the information is well trusted.”
In short, long-form content offers great fodder to boost your search rankings.
Examples of Long-Form Content
Long-form content comes in many varieties. For example, even blog posts can be considered long-form if they’re over a certain word count (typically 1,500+). Other examples include:
- Case studies
How to Get Started Writing the Perfect Whitepaper
The whitepaper isn’t the only type of long-form content out there. Yet, we’ve found it’s often the one that offers great value for all levels of a business from sales to marketing. It’s also the form that provides the greatest insights for customers who are further along the buyer journey. So, it’s the perfect place to start.
What Is a Whitepaper?
HubSpot said it best,
“A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution.”
It isn’t a sales pitch about your product or service. It also isn’t a document chock-full of stats and numbers that overwhelm your reader.
Look at the whitepaper as an in-depth guide to help your potential customers understand their problem and what they can do to solve it. And, when they do, they’ll be ready primed and ready for your services.
Let’s now walk through the steps of creating a whitepaper.
1. Define Your Audience’s Problem
You must start here. This is where a detailed customer avatar can be incredibly useful. Take your time to list out the pains and struggles your specific audience goes through. For example, an attorney might say their potential clients don’t understand the importance of an estate plan.
Once you have your list, select a pain point to which you can address and provide a solution in content form. Our attorney here might write a whitepaper about many issues an estate plan addresses and what’s included in a traditional plan.
Whatever you choose, be sure you provide actionable steps your audience can take to solve the problem.
2. Create Your Whitepaper Document
Because they’re long-form, whitepapers must have an outline. Do not skip this step!
Long-form content is difficult to create without first laying down your thoughts. Whitepapers typically have an introduction or foreword that explains the topic of the whitepaper, as well as a table of contents.
Next, you’ll want to break your body copy down into sections that make it easy to consume. Consider the highlights of your piece and create separate sections with headlines for easy reading.
Finally, include a conclusion that wraps up your content. End your document with a blank page that includes a short snippet about your business and your contact information.
3. Write & Research
Whitepapers aren’t thought pieces; their main purpose isn’t to share your opinion. Their purpose is to inform based on data and proven process.
For example, our attorney might include stats on what happens when estate plans aren’t prioritized by families. They could also add a proven estate planning process a part of their solution.
If you have stats or facts of your own, use them! Use your customer successes and proven processes.
If you don’t have numbers or successes of your own, borrow them. Use stats from reliable resources to help solidify the points in your paper as you write.
It’s also important to note that you should format and design your whitepapers to make them easier to consume by your audience.
- Remove any big blocks of text.
- Use short sentences.
- Add images that support your copy.
- Include graphics to visually express key information
If you struggle with design, ask for help from a skilled graphic designer who has experience creating enterprise documents for businesses.
Need Help Writing Epic Content That Converts?
Creating long-form content takes work, but it’s more than worth it.
If you need help writing long-form content, we’ve got you. Reach out to the Word Nerds to learn more.