It’s assumed that in the age of smartphones and social media, short and snappy content performs the best. That might be true when the visual is what counts (who wants a long caption beneath a photo of a puppy?) but sustainable marketing is deeper than that.
You can’t build a long-term marketing campaign on cute photos alone. What does that say about your brand? What’s worse than a bad message is no message at all. Unless you’re a visual artist, it’s likely that some text would add to the content.
Of course, good marketing means knowing your platform. But long-form content isn’t ignoring the modern world — it’s appealing to a different part of it.
Let’s look at how telling stories and creating longer content will take your sustainable marketing plan to the next level.
If you’re a podcast binger, it’s likely you’re used to listening for an hour or more. Netflix more your thing? 45 minutes per episode, no problem.
Even YouTube has seen a rise in longer content performing better. You don’t have to go far to see the bounty of “storytime” videos — and homemade documentaries have just seen an explosion in popularity, thanks in large part to YouTuber Shane Dawson.
Watching videos and listening to podcasts helps us learn, empathise, laugh, pass the time and way more. Why wouldn’t you want to put a little more effort into making that content?
Getting across your sustainable message means learning what your audience wants. Short-lived content has a place, but long-form captions, videos and podcasts are some of the best ways to get your message out there.
We all love to scroll. We’re scrolling our way to carpal tunnel and we don’t even mind. We see a photo we like, we double tap, we scroll onwards. It happens dozens of times a day and it’s probably why our brains can’t focus like they used to.
But sometimes we invest a little longer on a piece of content. Why? Because it grabs us, either through the visuals or a thoughtful caption, carefully crafted and infused with something deeper.
These are the posts you should be aiming for. Upload a photo of your product with the caption “Out now!” and you can bet no one is stopping for more than a second.
But how about a photo of you making the product, together with a story about one late night in the workshop when it all just clicked and you realised this was your calling? We both know that’s a more meaningful piece of content.
In the long run — and that’s what sustainable marketing is about — it’s these messages that will promote brand loyalty.
We bring this tip up a fair bit, but with good reason — your Instagram post deserves more than a three-word caption.
If you can’t think of anything to say, you’re trying too hard. Don’t try to make every caption profound and world-changing. Give us your thoughts. Tell us what was difficult for you today and what made you smile from ear to ear.
Stick to your brand guidelines but don’t be afraid to get personal.
Committing to longer captions also forces you to think about your brand more deeply. If you don’t have anything to say, maybe you need to act more. Get out in your community and tell us what you see. Volunteer at a local community project, speak to your loyal customers over the phone, do more real things that people can connect with.
Because in an age where everything is disposable and short-lived, we are the resistance. Your social media accounts reflect that. Say no to single-use plastics and say no to content that no one will remember.
Tell us some meaningful stories and start prepping for the long haul.
Rhys is Conscious Creatives' resident writer and photographer. His work has been published in various online publications, and he was recently chosen to update a bestselling book on SEO. He continues to seek new and interesting angles for his photography work, shooting his local streets on 35mm film.
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