In today’s fast-paced digital media landscape, long-form content is easily overlooked for driving PR. But there’s a growing consensus — especially among content marketers — that says longer content is coming into its own, gaining in both popularity and effectiveness in generating leads.
From a public relations perspective, longer content is an effective way to establish authority as a thought leader or build a reputation for expertise. Balanced with other aspects of a PR program, it can also work for SEO and in lending credibility for earned media placements.
And, because it often has a longer shelf life than shorter pieces or placements, the content is valuable for sharing, re-sharing, and revisiting later on down the road.
Here are our best tips for developing long-form content that helps drive good PR.
Create content that’s a delight to read. Regardless of whether the content is long or short, quality matters. To borrow words from an editor we recently worked with, would you put down your coffee to continue reading the piece? Chances are if you’d enjoy the content, your peers — or those you’re trying to reach — would like it, too. Compelling, quality material is what gets read and shared, and it’s what drives engagement.
Don’t sell. An overly promotional piece is an instant turnoff for both readers and editors, if dealing with an earned media placement. Tell a story, explain what something does or how it helps us do what we do, and let the merits of the piece stand on its own. The draw of public relations lies in earning kudos through authenticity, not a slick, commercial approach.
Show authority. Bylines, white papers, and other types of long-form content are the core of a thought leadership program whose main purpose is to set yourself up as an expert. The content should demonstrate a strong command of the category or subject at hand, showing deep experience, knowledge, and the ability to offer insight and enhance understanding.
Include tips that add value. One way to be an authority is to offer actionable advice as a takeaway for readers. Use tips based on your experience, real life examples, or data and research to earn even more credibility. If the tips actually do work and help people, the positive PR naturally follows.
Do consider SEO. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that shows longer content can be effective for SEO purposes, especially over the long term. It’s true that publishing shorter, multiple posts a day is probably the quickest way to gain rank in organic searches, but long-form content can yield “long tail” traffic that can be more valuable over time because it attracts more specific queries that often represent stronger business leads.
Interested in more on how to pitch longer content? Download our free tipsheet:
6 Sure-Fire Steps to Pitch and Place Long-Form Content