Long-Form Publishing (eBooks, Whitepapers, Digital Magazines)
Long-form publishing in the form of ebooks and whitepapers provides informative and educational content, primarily for business-to-business (B2B) marketers, tech companies, and other businesses that need to educate prospects on relatively complex products and services.
Digital magazines work in both B2B and B2C marketing initiatives as they lend themselves more to the type of content that can be entertaining and immersive, as well as informative. They can even accommodate video and audio content, as does KLM’s digital magazine iFly, which is also available in multiple languages
These channels are used primarily for lead generation and thought-leadership. Although whitepapers are generally in PDF format, digital magazines and ebooks lend themselves to a variety of formats and platforms, including tablet computing and ebook readers (such as Kindle and Nook), and can be lavishly embellished with graphics, photos, charts, and diagrams.
All are appropriate for deep information with companies that have ideas and concepts to disseminate. And because all these channels are essentially digital adoptions of traditional print formats, they are highly economical when compared to the cost of actually printing and distributing the content in physical formats. Moreover, multimedia content is an option.
You can track downloads for whitepapers and eBooks. With digital magazines, richer metrics are available such as time spent, pages viewed, and so on.
Not to mention business results. Eloqua has, within two quarters, attributed $2.5 million in closed business to prospects who first downloaded one of the company’s eBooks. Another $4 million is in the active buying process, according to the company.
Distribution strategies must be carefully conceived for all long-form content channels. Marketers hoping to capture too much user data from potential downloaders of their ebooks and whitepapers could be disappointed with results if they require too much data before allowing the content to be downloaded.
Long-form content that’s viewed on screens must be carefully “chunked”—broken up into inviting bits of written and visual content to be easily consumed. Finally, these channels are for organizations that really have something to say and can back it up with data, illustrations, and so on.
That’s why these channels tend to be more popular, at least for now, with B2B marketers, although digital magazines will doubtless open long-form content up to B2C marketers in the near future.
As discussed, long-form content is for organizations with plenty of intellectual capital that has conducted original research or that offer complex products and services.