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John Jantsch

Founder of Duct Tape Marketing

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Why You Must Use Long-form Content for Lead Generation

August 12, 2016

There are many forms of content that can generate great leads.

I’ve always believed that if marketing strategy is the sports car, then content is the engine that makes it perform. The better the engine, the faster your car goes. But these days the once-a-day, 500-word blog post just isn’t going to capture enough eyes. There is too much noise, and there are too many voices competing for your audience’s attention.

The key to not only catching a lead’s eye, but also gathering their information, is long-form content.

Generating leads is all about gathering information. The problem is, your customers know the value of the information they are giving you. No one wants email messages they aren’t going to read. They know that when they surrender their information to you, it opens the door for you to market to them.

So, you have to give them something valuable in return, something for which they’ll happily give up their information.

That’s where long-form content comes in.

Give Them Value

This is absolutely the most important piece of advice I can give you for generating leads. You must give your leads something valuable for their information. And I don’t mean something that looks like it has value, but is just empty words. I mean real value.

Simply putting together a 3,000-word e-book isn’t good enough if it doesn’t educate and delight your fans. You don’t want your leads to be disappointed right from the get-go.

Value is in the eye of the beholder. Your content doesn’t necessarily need to be longer or have more images to be valuable. To provide the most value, look for what your target market wants and would view as gold.

Execute Well

Content can be delivered in a variety of formats. Here are a handful of tried and proven options.

  • E-books: This format is a beautifully designed, focused piece of content on one topic. This could be exclusive content written specifically for an e-book or a collection of related blog posts. E-books are accessible to almost everyone, so they are a great way of collecting a large number of warm leads.
  • White Papers: This is a more focused, academic-style piece of writing that explores a specific subject in depth. These tend to be more focused on targeting specific insiders, so they are better for business-to-business (B2B) marketing programs that target industry leaders.
  • Content Upgrades: Lately, this is my favorite method for generating leads with content. In a typical content upgrade, the roles are reversed. Where you’d normally promote a long piece of downloadable content with a short blog post, content upgrades are most effective when they are shorter and the blog post promoting it is longer. Think of a content upgrade as a “next step.” Checklists that outline specific steps of executing a topic covered in a blog post, for instance, are particularly effective.
  • Podcasts, Videos, or Live Events: Finally, we all know people love multimedia content and live events. Offering a download of multimedia content or registration to a live event is another great way of generating leads through content. Remember, content isn’t limited to words on a page.

Creating long-form content is a great way to provide value to your leads in exchange for information. Now it is just a matter of deciding how you’re going to deliver value.

This article originally appeared on Inc.

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