It is a myth that people will not consume long content. But in order for them to consume YOUR long thought-leadership marketing content, you need to make sure your content engages them in three particular ways.
Let’s get this out of the way.
It is a myth that people don’t consume long content.
Actually, it isn’t just a myth.
People will consume content they’re interested in and that engages them.
And yet, many “experts” will tell you that you have to keep your thought-leadership marketing content and other marketing content short.
You have to write blog posts of no more than 500 words.
You have to keep videos to no more than two minutes.
You have to keep webinars to under 30 minutes.
You have to keep your content short and sweet because the attention span of your audience these days is minute. They’re easily distracted, so they’re not going to stick around to consume your content.
I’ve got some news for you. Those “experts” are wrong.
As long as you are engaging your audience, both in terms of the content you are providing them and the manner in which you are giving them that content, you are going to have an audience for as long as you want.
Think about it. If no one consumes long content any more then why are two-hour-long movies still being made? Why do people continue to read 400-page books? Why do people binge watch hours upon hours of television shows?
Because movies, books, and television shows entertain people in a way that keeps them engaged.
But keeping an audience engaged, especially in the legal industry where complex topics are the norm, is no small feat.
Let’s look at a direct-to-consumer legal practice, family law, as an example. People looking for a family law attorney will be doing so on their personal time. Thus, any legal marketing content will be competing for those people’s attention against content promoting less sophisticated and more interesting products and services.
If a family law attorney wanted to create content to attract prospective clients and referral sources, the attorney has options.
The attorney could create content that talks about the divorce laws in the states in which their firm practices, or how the courts operate in those states.
But it would be challenging to create content covering those topics that is compelling enough to keep a prospective client engaged for more than 100 or 200 words. After that point, their eyes are likely to glaze over and they’ll move on.
But what if that family law attorney went a different route? What if they created content focused on what spouses need to consider before they pursue a divorce, or what married couples need to consider when their marriages are on the rocks, and did so in an engaging way? That’s a different story.
If written in a compelling way, at what point would a person interested in this information stop consuming it? 1000 words? 2000 words? 3000 words? 5000 words? Your guess is as good as mine.
Your target audiences will consume your long content if it engages them. Consumers of your content will stay engaged for as long as you keep them engaged.
But how do you create thought-leadership content or general marketing content that engages your audience? By doing these three things.
First, choose a topic that aligns with your audiences’ interests and concerns.
That prospective client of a family law attorney that I mentioned above probably does not care to hear about the language of the divorce laws of their state.
They will, however, almost certainly want to learn about how to prepare themselves for the divorce process and what they can do today to help them get through the process tomorrow.
So before you create your content, you’ve got to know what your audiences are thinking and feeling so that you can address their thoughts and feelings. The more aligned your content is with what’s on your audiences’ minds, the more compelling and engaging your audiences will find that content.
Next, create content that is accessible and easy to digest.
If you want your audiences to stay engaged for the duration of your content, they have to be able to digest it. That means speaking in plain English.
But it also means your content should be in everyday English. It should be informal—but not so informal that it rubs your audiences the wrong way. There needs to be some polish to it, but your content should not speak above your audiences or patronize them.
Digestible content is important, but so is a digestible structure. No matter the medium, speak in short paragraphs and short sentences. Use subheadings when you are creating written content. Explain where you are going with your content when you are using video or audio.
If your audiences can’t follow your logic as they consume your content, they are unlikely to consume it for long.
Finally, use attention-grabbing headlines and email subject lines.
The headlines and email subject lines that accompany your thought-leadership content and other marketing content must be snappy and grab your target audiences’ attention.
After all, if you are unable to get your audiences to click the links or open the emails that stand between them and your content, they’re never going to consume that content, no matter how engaging it might be.
Compelling content that does not get consumed will do nothing for you.
Now, go bust the myth!
The “experts” are wrong. People will consume long content for as long as it engages them.
Do not fear creating long content.
But before you do, make sure your content is synced with what your audiences are thinking about or are worried about. Make sure it’s digestible. And make sure your headlines and email subject lines compel your audiences to check out your content.
Wayne Pollock is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a ghostwriting service for attorneys and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service crafts BigLaw-quality attorney-written thought-leadership marketing content for attorneys so that they can market themselves while staying billable.
Do you have any idea how much revenue your law firm is missing out on by its attorneys writing their own blog posts, bylined articles, and client alerts? Visit WriteLessBillMore.com for instant access to a free Law Firm Thought-Leadership Cost Calculator.