The Long and Short of it for 2015
Drew Bartkiewicz recently recorded a short video for Social Media Today in which he predicted that 2015 would mark a move to longform in social media and in most content, a suggestion Twitter is surely disheartened to hear. He also mentioned analytics as being important in the coming year, but the thrust of his message was that short, quick conversations aren’t really raising the bar for communication between a brand and a customer. It’s not about fast, and it’s not about reach. It’s about quality. But then again, it always has been.
It’s Coming Back Around Again
The funny thing about timeless truths is that they always show back up, even if they disappear once in a while for a short time. For years, I and many others have highlighted the single most important aspect of social media – authentic engagement. Having something to say isn’t the same as wanting to say something. The idea put forth is that the tweet, the 250 word blog post, and the listicle aren’t engaging people, they’re just jabbing at them and eventually annoying them.
There is definitely proof of this as it relates to longform writing. The most popular, shared, and viral articles on the web are increasingly becoming very long pieces which tell engrossing stories as they impart their information. But there’s no reason to give the obvious new creedence as a revelation when it’s as old as the topic itself. In other words, longform serves engagement well, because it makes them care and become emotionally involved. That wasn’t out of style in 2014 or 2013, even if it was buried under the 140 character avalanche.
And so here we are, where we started. Content is king in 2015, just as it always has been. It’s when we try to shortcut the process that we forget these things and jump at the shiny prize of some new followers and fans, without ever engaging them as more than a single digit in your dashboard’s display of follower count. If you don’t care, your content will show that, and they won’t care either. Interesting authenticity is the vibe you want to give off to your readers.
Don’t be misled, long content does not automatically equal good content. If the content is bad, it only becomes more excruciating if it’s drawn out for a couple thousand extra words. It’s good content that you want above length, but it seems to naturally happen that the best content ends up being on the longer end of the scale. You may need to reach out to freelance writers if you are trying to handle all of your content in-house and aren’t getting results running things by the numbers.
Analytics was the other piece of this prediction about next year, which seems another obvious choice. Particularly in the arena of fast and short machine-gun social media management, it’s virtually impossible to know your impact without running good analytics and reports. A business doing online marketing can’t afford not to measure their ROI with good analytics. Of course, with better content comes better engagement, and with better engagement comes better comments. And a few really heartfelt comments have a bigger impact than a few thousand likes.