Long Form Content for Customer Engagement

“Longer posts usually perform better on every level.” – Neil Patel

In this fast paced age where everything is available at the click of the button, especially information, you would wonder why we are speaking about long form content. In a high-speed environment and time of ‘instant gratification’ is it not better to have content in formats that are short, easy to grasp and those that cater to the short and specialized ‘reading and listening spans’ of the customers and other audience? Then how is it better to have long form content for customer engagement? The answer lies in the fact that when customers need to make crucial decisions and search engines need something substantial in order to rank a company and the content it publishes, long form content beats short content formats like info-graphics, pictures and other such content. However, for long form content to be effective enough to gain customer engagement, it must be able to stand out from the melee of information already present. Easy to understand, readily available and immediately useable are some of the characteristics of effective long form content that will enhance customer engagement.

While short and crisp content may catch the attention of the customers and prospective ones, instantly, it is unable to sustain it long enough for them to either provide repeat business or become customers. Without substance and meaning in content, customer engagement would be a remote possibility. Research has proved that if content is able to arrest the attention of customers and other readers for even 3 minutes, such readers are more likely to come back to the company’s website and social media sites and eventually look at providing business to the company – such attention and customer engagement is gained by long form content. Isn’t this the purpose of content – grabbing eyeballs and ensuring that readers and customers never want to go anywhere else to get their information?

We are not advocating only the use of long form content rather there must be a balance between the loud and crisp content to gain attention of even the shortest span and long form content. As mentioned, popular search engines and social media pick up and ‘advocate’ companies that put on long form content. Of course, short form content (images, videos and such) do get the attention of the audience and work very well when promoting a new product or building awareness and work very well for hand-held devices, as information on the go. Long form content however, gets picked up by search engines and it also works well for customers and readers who need in-depth information that will affect crucial decisions. When they do find a company that provides insights through their long form content, they tend to stick with the company. Long form content helps companies to be ‘found’ from the sea of information and companies and remain in the forefront, in addition to customer engagement.

According to a study, companies that are inclined to long form content are able to establish trust and confidence sooner with customers and readers and search engines too are more likely to prominently display the pages with long content. Long form content, makes for interesting and unique content. While one picture can be viewed and shared, it soon becomes out-dated and uninteresting, long form content on the other hand can be used to convey many ideas and provide value-added information. Customers and readers therefore are more engaged and interested in such content since it is information they can trust and use and ultimately the company gains by exhibiting itself as an expert on a number of topics.

The other advantage and reason for the popularity of long form content is the fact that it can be enhanced, enriched and increased in substance by adding multi-media, graphics, pictures and such. With already interesting and informative long form content, the addition of these eye grabbers would significantly increase the chances of customer engagement and trust. When a company has knowledge and can effectively display it through long form content, customers are more likely to perceive passion and commitment of the company through it. With time customers and other readers would much rather turn to this company for things they want to read about and hence spend more time on the ‘pages’ of the website and media sites resulting in higher probability of repeat business and new business as also advocacy of such sites.

Long form content is most sought after when it is able to provide the readers and customers with more than just information about the company and its brand and offerings. It must be updated, relevant and be available at the time that customers and readers need it. The main reason for existence of a company is its customers and therefore in order to gain customer engagement, trust and loyalty it just makes sense that companies focus all their efforts – including the content – to attract new customers and retain them and their existing customers. Being known as a subject matter expert or leader in one or more areas is a huge advantage that any company can have, especially now that competitors are increasing and gaining ground with each passing day.

As mentioned earlier, customer engagement is a process. It must be continuous in order for it to translate to loyalty and by consistently churning out long form content that arrests their attention and changes their mind-set. Companies can get feedback from customers both by directly asking them and also monitoring the number of ‘reads’ and time spent on each exposition and piece of long form content they publish. Doing so will provide companies with invaluable information on the preferences and interests of their readers and target audience, many of whom may be leaders in their field and those who have and continue to influence others. Such a readership proves indispensable for a company to gain visibility and a top spot for market leadership. This in turn, leads to more customer engagement thereby completing a cycle that is constantly moving. Long form content resonates a lot more with readers since there can be more than a few brilliant ideas and suggestions encompassed in a single piece, if written with passion and commitment to serve.

Through long form content, companies can ‘educate’ their customers about a number of aspects. It starts with letting a target audience know who they are and why they came into existence and how an association with them would be beneficial. As readers begin to see the benefits, they would turn to customers and would remain customers so long as they are engaged. The longer customers stay with a company, the more loyal and profitable they become. Soon they become willing and vocal brand ambassadors for a company, thereby gaining even more customers for them without the company having to put in too much effort or spend huge amounts on promotions and marketing campaigns.

Long form content helps people to come to you through ‘searches’ they run via popular search engines. It saves the company the trouble to search for customers and this is why content marketing is gaining popularity and it would behove companies to take complete advantage of this trend by publishing content that is consistently useful, powerful and highly informative from the reader’s point of view. The ultimate aim of any business imperative is that casual ‘visitors and readers’ become highly engaged and long term customers. Using long form content that exhibits passion and commitment is one such means to establishing credibility and becoming a company that is dependable and the go-to company for not just existing customers but other readers as well. Well-articulated long form content goes a long in ensuring that your customers and readers never forget that you exist and in fact will think of you for a variety of reasons and also let others know about you and the value you add to them and their business – the best kind of customer engagement!

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