Why Long-Form and Pillar Content are Taking Over in 2018

By Anne Daly | January 18, 2018

Writing more long-form blog posts is one of my professional resolutions for 2018.

In part, it’s an individual preference. I enjoy the chance to dive into an industry, explore its intricacies, and synthesize them for my clients’ target audience.

But it’s also a strategic choice. The data is in, and long-form content is consistently outperforming its shorter-form peers.

What is long-form content? Why is it an essential part of your marketing strategy in the new year? And what does this mean for the way you go about marketing?

Here are 5 questions about long-form and pillar content you need to answer in 2018.

1. What is Long-Form Content?

People have different definitions of long-form content. Depending on who you ask, you could get answers ranging from 500+ words to 3000 words. One thing’s certain, though - content above 500 words is the new way to go.

Why is this the case? Sometimes, less is more. But in an online world that’s becoming oversaturated with short, fluffy posts, your audiences are looking for something different: well-written content that addresses their questions and pain points in a way that adds concrete value.

2. What is Pillar Content?

If you’ve heard the buzz about long-form content, another term is probably popping up too: pillar content. So, what is it?

According to HubSpot, “A pillar page is a comprehensive resource page that covers a core topic in depth and links to high-quality content created for the supporting subtopics.” It lives in a separate section of your site from your blog, but you can link blog articles back to this pillar page. Pillar pages should always be optimized with CTAs to capture leads who visit.

3. Woah, this sounds complicated. How do I build pillar content if I don't have any in place yet?

If your company doesn’t have pillar content yet, don’t worry. A good strategy to build your pillar content can be to focus on long-form content for now, with the goal of aggregating it and consolidating it into pillar content down the road.

4. Ok, that sounds like a good idea. Any ideas for creating good long-form content?

For the most part, long-form content should follow the same best practice you already have in place … and just be longer. If you’re like many businesses, though, the idea of turning out longer-form content can be intimidating.

So, what’s the most efficient way to produce long-form content that still meets your rigorous quality standards?

One secret weapon? Video. What makes video so effective? Here are some surprising video stats you won’t want to miss. The bottom line for many businesses can be summed up in this statistic from Adobe: “shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers.” Now, that’s pretty hard to argue with.

Other great content ideas include interviewing a subject matter expert about the topic you want to cover, or creating a step-by-step guide to success in your industry. For more ideas, check out our list of the Top Ten Ways to Avoid Business Blogging Burnout.

5. What other marketing best practices do I need to be successful in 2018?

We’re glad you asked. There’s a lot going on in marketing right now. The time has never been better to leverage inbound to grow your business. But doing inbound well is hard work, and needs to be done intentionally.

That’s why we’re happy to share the most up-to-date marketing data in the State of Inbound 2017. Learn the top challenges facing marketing and sales executives today, and gain actionable strategies for leveraging inbound to drive growth for your business.

The State of Inbound 2017


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