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Forbes – Why Long Form Content Marketing Works, And Why It Doesn’t




July 16, 2014

By Joshua Steimle

The common wisdom about marketing is that people are busier than ever, have short attention spans, and are riddled with ADD – therefore, the only kind of marketing that can work must be concise, clear, and get its message across in 0.5 seconds or less. Otherwise, an advertiser risks losing the attention of his audience, right? Nonsense. Enter long form content marketing.

What is Long Form Content Marketing?

There’s no trick to understanding the term “long form content marketing.” It’s marketing, delivered through content such as writing, audio, or video, and it’s long – meaning longer than a 30 second TV spot, a one-page magazine ad, or a billboard. While there is no exact definition of what “long” means, most experts peg it at 1,200 to 2,000 words when it comes to the written form.

The UK based digital marketing firm Builtvisible just launched a new long form content marketing piece called Messages in the Deep: The Remarkable Story of the Underwater Internet. This webpage talks about the efforts and challenges involved in laying underwater cables on seabed floors around the world, incidents in which those cables have been damaged or cut, and how government agencies, like the NSA, have tapped into such cables to aid in its spying efforts. It is indeed a remarkable story, culled from over 40 sources, and a remarkable example of long form content marketing, comprising efforts from at least six members of the Builtvisible team. As a writer and web designer, I can appreciate the substantial work that went into this informational resource.

“We created the piece because we think our entire industry is moving more towards long form, in-depth looks at interesting subjects and content that’s visually appealing,” said Darren Kingman, Creative Marketing Associate at Builtvisible. “We also wanted to see just how far we could push ourselves, hence not only the design and development time that has gone into it, but also the contributions.”

Other examples of long form content marketing include the Twilight, Harry Potter, and Hunger Games book series, any movie based on characters from Marvel Comics, and The Lego Movie. Oh, you didn’t realize that was a two-hour long advertisement you paid good money to watch? That’s because the best long form content marketing doesn’t make one feel like they’re being marketed to.

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