Long-Form Content: What is it and How to Create It
In this highly competitive era, people assume shorter articles to be more beneficial for producing great content. But shorter doesn't always mean more effective.
Instead, you have to leverage the power of long-form content if you want to stand out from the crowd. On average, articles on Google's first page are 1,890 words long.
Including long-form articles as part of your content marketing strategy boosts your SEO ranking and drives organic traffic. Moreover, it provides your audience with content that establishes authority while increasing SERP rankings.
Everyone is placing their bets on long-form content to master lead generation from new startups to massive enterprises. However, writing a few lengthy paragraphs isn't what defines long-form content. There is so much more depth to it.
What Is Long-Form Content?
The precise word count for a piece of content to be deemed “long-form” is a debatable topic. Some people consider over 500 words to be long-form, while others think somewhere around 2000-4000 words. However, in my opinion, something above 1500 words qualifies as long-form content.
But when working on long-form content, meeting a particular word count should not be the only target. The primary objective of long-form content is to provide something valuable that captures the customers' attention.
Therefore, whatever you write about should be covered thoroughly and not intended to be skimmed. If your content is mashed with fluff, it can significantly harm your website’s performance.
Additionally, long-form content also comes in many forms and sizes. Hence, you need to understand what attracts your audience. Some types of long-form content include
Long blog posts
Evergreen pages (or pillar posts)
Guides and tutorials
Benefits of Implementing Long-Form Content
Now that we know what long-form content is, let's talk about the benefits of putting it into practice.
Increases Time Spent On Your Site
Generally, it takes time to read a lengthy article. However, if your long-form content is well-written and provides value to readers, they willingly spend the necessary time reading about it.
In other words, the in-depth coverage of the topic is what they stay for. According to Pew, users typically spend more than twice the amount of time on articles with 1000+ words than on shorter articles.
The time users spend on your website has great importance in terms of website performance. Increased time on site opens up multiple opportunities for lead generation. Once you grab the reader’s attention, you can implement CTAs, email subscriptions, or pop-up banners to enhance conversion.
It Performs Better In Search Engines
Keywords are essential to any SEO content. And long-form content has a higher chance of ranking because it contains more room for keywords. This means a lengthy post ranks higher than a 500-word blog post.
Long-form content also ranks well on Google because it encourages readers to stay on your website longer. Websites with high user engagement score better on Google. By increasing time on site by just 3 seconds, you will rank one position higher in search results.
When your content ranks higher in search engines, it increases your organic traffic. Quartz, a renowned publishing brand, believes long-form content establishes the brand as a subject matter expert, which brings in more organic traffic.
Increases Your Credibility and Conversion
We are all in the business of trust - an essential component of every relation and every purchase. Long-form content is not only about gaining customer loyalty but also boosting your brand’s credibility.
Website optimization tool Crazy Egg saw its conversion rate increase by more than 30% when it extended the length of a landing page by 20x.
When you offer an in-depth topic analysis, it validates you as an expert. People start to establish your brand as reliable and trustworthy. The more customers trust you, the more they feel comfortable regarding your services and products, thus increasing conversion rates.
Gets More Social Media Share and Backlinks
Long-form content has the potential to take a reader on a learning journey. It allows you to address all queries from beginner to advanced level in a single post. When you provide content with value, it inspires people to share it. Research on 100 million of the most shared articles revealed that long-form content gets more shared than short-form.
Secondly, Long-form content also provides more room for link building. Other content creators will likely link your website if it provides valuable, impressive, and detailed content. This earns you more backlinks and increases your site’s crawlability.
Backlinko states that long-form content gets 77.2% more backlinks and more social shares than short-form content. In other words, the more long-form content you publish on your website, the better your chances are of being a backlink.
How to Prepare Long-Form Content?
It may sound overwhelming to create lengthy content, but in reality, it is not that challenging. You just need some planning and consistency. Here are some tips:
Start By Choosing a Relevant Topic
Generally, when writing long-form content, you aim to create something that provides meaning and knowledge to a broad spectrum of potential readers. However, choosing the right topic that sparks your readers’ interest can be time-consuming.
To choose a suitable topic, use your insights to determine what your readers are more receptive to. This will give a proper understanding of what content suits your audience and help you determine how long each piece should be.
Additionally, you want to choose an evergreen topic with long-term potential, higher volume, and search engine rankings. The Internet is full of tools to help you identify valuable information. For instance, you could use BuzzSumo to look at the most shared content or Ahrefs to keep an eye on the competition.
Work on Compiling an Outline
When working on long-form content, keeping your thoughts organized can be challenging. To overcome this, you must work on your content structure. Mostly, blog posts and articles follow a basic structure: Introduction > Body > Conclusion.
The introduction is where you give the reader a reason to stick. A great way to make people stay is by adding an anecdote in your introduction - something they can relate to. Secondly, the body is where you explain every point in detail.
Finally, the conclusion should summarize what you have said in the post. It should also include a call to action encouraging readers to act on what they have read. This results in a cohesive and gripping story.
Once you have picked the right topic and laid out an outline, it's time to pull your sleeves up and do extensive research. The most common place to start your research is Google. Conduct keyword research, type your target keyword into Google, and examine the top results.
Remember not to use long tail keywords as they have little search volume. When conducting keyword research, focus on elements like search volume and competition.
Moreover, you want to research all the queries your audience would want an insight into. Start by going through a list of questions, researching the most valuable ones, and adding more questions as you go.
Proper research can raise the bar for your long-form content. If you are still confused about reliable research sources, here is a list for you
Research papers and journal articles
Tools like Sample Size Calculator, Living Facts, Pew Research Center, and Think with Google.
Use Relevant Media
A picture is worth 1,000 words. Many content creators overlook the significance of how their written piece looks. This is a severe factor that determines how your content will be perceived. Images are a great way to engage the readers with your content and improve the overall quality of your website. Moreover, they can assist readers in understanding what your content talks about.
Images make the content more engaging for many readers. About 63% of marketers say original graphics perform the best.
When choosing the right images, natural shots from photographers are always ideal. However, you have to spend a hefty budget to make them yours. Instead, you can consider purchasing images, a pocket-friendly option. There are various reputable online sources where you can get stock photos at affordable prices. Moreover, you can alter them according to your preference.
Word count isn't the only factor to consider when putting a good content strategy into action. However, long-form content has the ability to boost website traffic, social sharing, and authority. Undoubtedly, it is a tool for marketers to increase conversions by sharing information that can be deemed valuable.
Long-form content is not about writing till your fingers ache. It requires careful planning, thorough research, and the desire to publish a piece of content that can benefit your circle of influence—and beyond.
Amos Struck is the founder of Stock Photo Secrets and a veteran stock media industry expert with numerous achievements. He is involved in developing several products for stock photo buyers and is the co-founder of Microstock Expo, which is the first conference dedicated to the microstock segment. Amos is passionate about digital marketing and visual imagery and also loves food.
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