Has Long Form Content Had It’s Day?
Hello and welcome, I’m back from my week away in San Francisco and I can tell you that my Find Nearby experiment yielded zero results! I had it on the whole time I was there and I checked it several times in busy places but never once saw anyone nearby!
This week I want to return to Articles which we have covered recently but a listener highlighted an Article on LinkedIn about long-form content and I really felt I should counter it with a different perspective.
Firstly let me be clear……I definitely don’t believe long-form content is dead or even dying, I just think people need to recalibrate how they use it.
Anyway more of that later
Interesting Stuff I Saw This Week
- Another week and another fake account story – Sort this out LinkedIn, it’s becoming an embarrassment!
- Good news for visually impaired users. LinkedIn is starting to automatically add Alt-text to images. Matt Navarro shared this screenshot recently
- LinkedIn can’t block public profile data scraping, court rules
- Oops! A classic case of a scheduling error but also many of the comments highlighted the error but he still hasn’t taken the post down suggesting, like many schedulers, he isn’t active and present on the platform! Thanks to Dan Smith for sending this in.
- Thanks to Greg Cooper for alerting us that LinkedIn appear to be testing or rolling out a reduction in invitation note characters from 300 to 140…have they gone completely mad?!!
Whilst scanning through the activity of the LinkedIn Help account I saw this funny post, I still can’t decide if they got the joke initially!
You need to click on the post below to watch the video.
Is Long-Form Content Dead?
No it’s not but the way content writers (serious, proper writers) keep moaning about a lack of views, you might be tempted to think so!
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen comments like this one from Article writers
I try posting articles instead of shorter posts. I want people to actually go and read what I have painstakingly written
Oh, so we have to read your article because you painstakingly took the time to research and write it? I think the truth is that we will read what appeals to us…it’s not about you and how hard to worked to write it!
Perhaps you prefer to avoid conversations and just – ‘present your stuff for us to read’. Well that isn’t what people on LinkedIn want, they actually want to engage with you and read your content
Listener Andrew Knowles highlighted this Article to me this week
This is a well-written piece and there is a lot to like about it, many of the points he makes I firmly agree with;
- You should never chase vanity metrics such as views
- Articles often appeal to more senior decision-makers in organisations
- The majority of senior decision-makers prefer to consume their content on LinkedIn
- Well written articles should win you business
However, the premise of his piece appears to be that Posts are for low-level ‘pond life’ and Articles are for the ‘Elite class’ – what a load of crap! The snobbery demonstrated here is staggering and completely inaccurate.
I guess Nick’s problem is that he is feeling threatened by the decreasing popularity of long-form content. Many people, especially the younger generation have no time or patience for long-form these days, that trend may be worrying but it’s real and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
His ‘Elite’ class also happen to mostly be from a generation that read newspapers, tomorrows business leaders will have spent their careers gaining knowledge and information from 140-280 character Tweets!
That aside, his article is littered with incorrect statements & assumptions. for instance;
“LinkedIn will credit your video with a qualified view whenever a user scrolls past it” – Incorrect, a 3-second pause is a requirement for a qualified view on a video post!
and this one “LinkedIn awards Long-form creators with ‘upscale’ and powerful readers” suggesting that LinkedIn distribute your Articles only to a select group – utter garbage, I’ve seen no evidence of this at all. If you write great content, the audience will want to read it, the audience are most likely to be your followers so the level is determined by who you connect with and what you write.
He claims that Likes and Comments are merely vanity metrics, I’ve heard this so many times before but it makes no sense at all. Engagement is the distribution vehicle of your post allowing a wider audience exposure to you and what you have to say. If you want to grow your business, you need to be more visible – Articles are highly unlikely to make you more visible because they rarely attract engagement.
It’s also a common misconception that Posts are purely another form of ‘content’, I see posts more as conversations (a term LinkedIn use), sure some are purely content but the best posts I see tend to be more conversational.
LinkedIn Articles and long-form content are not dying, they just need to be repositioned.
When a long-form article (or link to anything long-form) appear in our feed we tend to do one of the following;
- Ignore it. We are busy (at work) and don’t have time to read anything long, the moment it appears in our feed
- Print it and read it later (this requires pasting the Article url into a private/incognito window to print in a readable format)
- Save it to read later – not a well-used function and in my experience, people often forget to go back and read later
- Click on it and read it. This is great but they fail to like or comment on it in the feed and this massively inhibits its distribution and visibility.
- Even if they comment within a LinkedIn Article, this doesn’t appear in your followers feeds.
Add to the above the ‘content overload’ factor that has been caused by the ‘content marketing’ trend of recent years and you can see that Articles have some real weaknesses.
The bottom line is that Articles are not a great way to increase your visibility on LinkedIn. In addition, posts provide an opportunity to interact with others which build relationships and enhance the understanding of who you are and what you stand for to those who follow.
Articles, however, are critical in establishing your authority and credibility. It’s one thing being visible and building a relationship but that often isn’t enough to persuade someone to want to buy from you. Long-form content requires the readers’ commitment and through the process of reading you, they gain a better understanding and belief in you and your capabilities.
Those that just write long-form articles are missing out on countless opportunities because they simply won’t be visible enough on LinkedIn.
You need to write good quality Articles on LinkedIn but you should take your time and focus on occasional high-quality articles rather than a mass volume of average content (another point we agree on).
You also need to post on a regular basis with the intention of engaging your audience in interesting, stimulating conversations.
When combined, the results can be outstanding but each in isolation is much less effective.
Comparing Articles to Posts is like comparing the engine of a car to its wheels – you need both to get anywhere!
I have had so many nominations since the last episode and that was two weeks ago so I’m entitled to give you two this week….but I’m gonna cheat and give you three!
I saw many topical posts this week about the kids returning to school but this one takes a unique and very worthwhile angle to the subject. Approaching 30,000 Likes and over a thousand comments proves that it really resonated with the LinkedIn community.
My second one is probably my favourite, the numbers are quite as high as the other two but it combines humour with an employment theme and is delivered in a relatable video format. I think it works better with the sound on…enjoy!
Finally, the one with the highest engagement and undoubtedly the one that took the most planning, time and effort to put together and boy was it worth it with an astonishing 1600+ comments, over 3000 likes and approaching 150,000 views. Well done to Ahmad for having the creativity to think of the idea in the first place and the tenacity and persistence to put it all together.
This weeks question arrived on voicemail
I have tested this myself and Thierry is right, comments can’t be deleted on Articles but they can be on Posts!
I can’t see any logical reason why either. Can you?
That’s all for now, keep in touch and let me know if you have any LinkedIn topics you would like me to cover in future episodes.