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Big Decisions for Long-Form Thought Leadership Content

Dave Orecchio
by Dave Orecchio on May 24, 2017 7:23:00 AM

More companies, in the tech industry and beyond, are waking up to the idea that it pays to invest in better online content.

Videos and infographics and neat visual features can grab a user’s eye, but it’s long-form, high-value writing that engages a visitor, by demonstrating the knowledge and experience that the company has, and giving readers something to latch onto, and something to take away from the experience.

That’s why so many inbound marketers and even general purpose consultants stress the importance of “thought leadership content” – of having pages on a web site that show how an established startup or business has risen to the top of its field. More business leaders are understanding that it’s not enough to just tout one’s own experience – thought leadership has to be proven in a competitive online world.

That said, company leaders have big decisions to make about how to invest in thought leadership content, even if they already understand the “why.” 

Where to Put Thought Leadership Content

The old web format of the 1990s often did not accommodate long-form thought leadership pieces: just a landing page with tags for “about us,” “contact” and perhaps “blog.”

So where does this longer content fit?

One big question is whether to put a company’s thought leadership pieces behind a registration wall, which can help to glean marketing information for mailing lists and other purposes.

A registration wall looks impressive, but it does something counterintuitive: it hides that key content that the company is trying to use to show authoritative experience. So it’s not generally a great idea for all educational content. At least some of the company’s best content should not only be free to view, it should be in a place where people can easily access it.

One simple solution is to house high-value thought leadership content on a blog. Instead of spinning off 350-word blog posts, re-format the blog and post the long-form pieces, and you have one of the easiest ways to generate warm leads online. Readers get engaged and interested. They can follow up through a contact form. That’s part of the real value of putting some of your best work out for all to see. Of course, you should also have some valuable content behind a contact form so you may capture the visitors information and nurture them with solutions that appeal to their interests.

The Format of Thought Leadership Content

Another big decision is what the long-form content will look like. Will it look like investigative journalism? If it’s behind a registration wall, will it be called a “white paper or eBook?” What is the best way to label the key ingredient you are giving visitors?

Some of this question is also related to who is writing the content. In general, one of the best ways to improve inbound marketing value is to hire freelancers with actual newsroom experience or other writing and industry skills involving the creation of technical content that offers demonstrative value, but is also easy to read.

How Much Content Should You Create?

As a rule, it doesn’t take a flood of high-value content to really make a web site shine – just a steady stream. Pick a blogging frequency and stick to it. Consider developing a content strategy that aligns with the topics that your best customers are interested in. After all, wouldn't you want more customers that are like your best ones?

Site visitors and potential leads don’t need to wade through endless titles to get the idea that a company knows what it’s talking about. That said, the content should also be relatively fresh, which is why so many companies opt to develop an ongoing content plan or content strategy. The idea is that someone who got something out of one post will come back later to look for another, and even bookmark the site.

These are some of the issues that top business managers will take on when they start to invest in bringing high quality content to their audiences. However you do it, long form content often pays big dividends in a world where online platforms drive an ever greater share of commerce and satisfy the research users perform in nearly every industry.

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Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of  Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line.  Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow. 

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Dave Orecchio
Written by Dave Orecchio
Dave Orecchio is one of the earliest adopters of Inbound Marketing. As one of Hubspot’s first customers and CEO of a Boston-based startup, he experienced the benefits of this effective digital marketing methodology. Dave now provides Inbound (marketing & Sales) services to businesses to help them grow and realize the positive results that an integrated program can provide. Dave is a high-tech marketing and sales expert with more than 25 years of business experience.
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