Fact: Long articles get the most shares

Content Marketing, New Zealand: A Hubspot seminar in Auckland last week revealed that 2000 word articles, or longer, get the most social media shares.

This one fact goes a long way to dispelling the myth that people only read what’s ‘short and sweet’ — relevant content, long form or short form, will always appeal to an audience that is engaged in the subject.

There’s no question that long form content has a number of benefits. Search engines like long articles – they’re rich with keywords and phrases – and long form articles allow you to explore a subject in depth, thereby demonstrating and proving your expertise in the subject.

Long form content is also a good way to qualify your audience – people who are interested in the subject or doing research are more likely to stay with you than those who are only browsing or have a casual interest.

The best way to get your long form content shared is to take the intimidation factor out of it, and you can do this by breaking it up with visuals and text devices. For example:

Visual devices:

* Charts

* Graphs

* Photographs

* Cartoons

Text devices:

* Sub-headings

* Bullet points

* Pull quotes

When you break your content up with good design aides, your readers feel less threatened than they would by reams of black text.

Another little used tactic in long form content is the frequent use of anecdotes, brief stories, quotations and examples. In other words, there’s nothing like good storytelling to keep people interested.

Something we do a lot of here at Iron road, which I rarely see elsewhere, is to interview and quote other experts or influencers. Don’t be afraid to ring up a university professor, or other experts, and ask them some questions – influencers love to influence.

You don’t have to abide by news ethics and values – you’re not a news organisation – so letting the people you interview sign-off on the contents is fine (they’ll be more likely to trust you if you promise to get their sign-off).

Quoting third parties will make your long form content more interesting, informed, credible and useful to your audience, and that’s good for shares too.

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