Content Creation

10 B2B Businesses School Us in Long-Form Content Marketing

By November 28, 2014 5 Comments

brands doing good long form content

If you could use just one marketing tactic, for the rest of your life, what would it be?

For me, the answer’s simple: long-form content. Also called “fat-tail” content, it’s a one-stop-shop for achieving your business goals, simultaneously attracting visitors to your website, earning their trust, and proving your authority. Best of all, it’s a universal tool.

As these 10 examples illustrate, long-form content is effective in even the most niche and complicated of B2B industries. These actionable guides showcase content marketing at its most helpful, and most effective; they cover complicated topics in insane detail, and lay-out step-by-step solutions.

They prove that marketing boils down to a simple exchange:

Offer your audience a ton of value, and you can expect their trust, gratitude, and custom in return.

10. Buffer’s Tell-All Twitter Guide

Buffer is a small business with a big web presence. Despite offering a single product, they’ve harnessed the power of long-form content—like Twitter Tips for Beginnersto drive insane amounts of targeted traffic back to their site. By drawing on their own experiences and problems, they set themselves apart with the honesty of their content, creating actionable guides that are packed with empathy.

9. Atlassian’s Actionable Agile Analysis

Atlassian has successfully transformed the unimaginably dull into the incredibly valuable, by combining in-depth guidance, light jazz, and faux-development coach Chet RongTM (genuine trademark or subtle witticism? You decide!) into a guide that’s packed-full of personality and advice.

8. Copyblogger’s Copywriting Case Study

It’s time to get slightly meta-physical, with a look at Copyblogger’s awesome long-form content guide to creating… awesome long-form content. Copyblogger sells marketing and copywriting advice for a living, but in classic practice-what-you-preach style, they’ve realized that the best way to earn the attention of their audience is to give away their help for free.

7. QuickSprout’s Gargantuan Growth-Hacking Guide

QuickSprout’s content marketing strategy is a simple one: be the best answer on the web. Spanning a colossal ten chapters, The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking could easily be an awesome eBook—but by making it free-to-view, QuickSprout has established itself as a go-to resource for actionable marketing content.

6. Deloitte’s Insane International Tax Guides

Despite tackling a topic so dull that just thinking about it risks inducing a brief coma, Deloitte’s insanely useful cheat-sheets have achieved the impossible: they’ve made me excited about taxes. It’s long-form content without any bells-and-whistles, but its intentions are crystal-clear from the outset – taxes sucks, but here’s everything you need to know. Thank you Deloitte!

5. Thomson Local’s Beautiful Business Funding Guide

Thomson Local provides an example of actionable content paired with awesome design and UI. Their interactive flow chart explores all aspects of business funding—creating a visual guide that provides clear, well-structured guidance—and illustrates the golden rule of long-form content: help your customers, in this case, get money.

4. KISSmetrics’ Simple Social Media Strategy

Neil Patel is the brain behind both KISSmetrics and QuickSprout, two of the web’s best examples of long-form content in action. His benefit-focused approach to content marketing promises desirable outcomes to his audience (in this case doubling your social media traffic) and then employs real-life case studies and data to deliver on his promises.

3. IBM’s Paid, Owned, and Earned Exposition

With a website that’s a veritable treasure-trove of business advice, IBM just ­gets content marketing. Their 58-page PDF guide to Paid, Owned, and Earned marketing is a particularly epic example, going a step further than most brands by showcasing their own social media strategy. The guide was originally a gated asset, but by opening it up to their entire audience, IBM has dramatically amplified its reach.

2. Bidsketch’s Powerful Proposal Post

Long-form content doesn’t always have to break the bank. Without the help of a massive marketing budget, Bidsketch’s super-simple guide to writing web design proposals works for three simple reasons:

  1.        It’s highly-targeted, trading massive reach for meaningful engagement.
  2.        It offers obvious and quantifiable value, directly contributing to new customers and revenue.
  3.        It’s backed-up by a great blog and a ton of free templates and resources.

1. Moz’s Superb SEO Summary

Great long-form content does more than educate its readers; it also begins a process of lead-nurturing. Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO tackles the fundamental aspects of search optimization, sure—but it also educates their audience to a point where they can better appreciate the value of Moz’s services. Smart!

Do you have any other examples of awesome long-form content? Let me know in the comments!

Ryan Law

About Ryan Law

Ryan is a freelance B2B copywriter and professional coffee drinker. Read his content marketing musings over at Contender Content, and visit Iconsive for advice on all things inbound!

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