Writing long-form content doesn’t have to be a chore. Whether you’re interested in providing valuable information to your readers or turning website visitors into customers, long-form content is vital to any content marketing strategy. But what is long-form content? And how can you sustain a topic for an extended period of time while adding real-world value to your business?
What Is Long-Form Content?
There is no dictionary definition that provides a clear distinction between short- and long-form content. However, Search Engine Watch claims that long-form posts are “typically 2,000 words in length.” At Online Optimism, our Search and Content Department has started to shift from routinely crafting 3–4 short-form posts per month toward 1–2 longer pieces that are between 1,500 and 2,500 words apiece. Why have we done this? There are multiple benefits to crafting and posting long-form content.
What Are the Benefits of Long-Form Content?
Long-form content has a variety of benefits for companies in every industry. Among other positive factors, with long-form content:
- Users engage more with each post, increasing dwell time on your site and positively affecting your SEO.
- Search engines can read and crawl more targeted long-tail keywords.
- Readers are more likely to convert to customers.
Many times, the biggest hurdle for a business is to attract visitors to its site. Long-form content has the potential to directly address this concern by harnessing the power of targeted keywords and answering exact questions readers may have.
Let’s dive in to understand the top four hacks for writing long-form content.
Top Hacks for Writing Long-Form Content
1. Use the Listicle Format to Break the Post into Chunks
The reason long-form content can be so tricky to write is that you can quite simply run out of things to say about a particular subject. So how do you get all the benefits of long-form posts without droning on about the same thing? Break up each post into smaller subjects, so you can hone in on each subtopic and outline as much information as you can. Subtopics are a great way to break up the post both physically and mentally for your readers. This technique can be most readily seen in the form of listicles. Listicles were heavily popularized by light and fun articles in Buzzfeed. Though Buzzfeed articles like “25 Signs You Drink Too Much Wine” may not be journalistic masterpieces, this trend has led to other sites catching on and making more in-depth listicles. A keen reader will notice this blog post is itself a listicle.
2. Cite Studies and Quote Experts
Citing studies and quoting experts is not plagiarism. Though you may be wary of putting facts, information, or opinions from outside sources in your content, it actually increases the overall validity of your posts. Readers don’t want to rely on blind faith when they read an article. Statements need to be backed up with evidence or expert opinions. Make sure to include a brief biography of the person you are quoting and link back to the original source to show both readers and search engines that the information came from a trusted place. If you cite studies or polls, make sure to include as much visual information as you can. Though long-form content keeps readers on your site longer, visuals are still vital to engagement. According to Inc., “Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts.”
3. Take Advantage of Testimonials
If you’re writing content to convince an audience (to read more, buy more, or learn more), make sure you leverage one of your most important assets—customer testimonials. Your customers are some of your biggest advocates, and their testimonials can be incorporated throughout a post to make your statements more believable or help them resonate with a specific audience. For example, if you’re writing for a boutique hotel located in Nashville, you might write a lengthy blog post about all the different amenities your hotel has to offer. Though your writing may be eloquent and illustrative, readers will view it through the lens of a hotel employee. However, if you sprinkle in testimonials or personal experiences from customers who may have enjoyed those amenities, the credibility of the content suddenly skyrockets. Not only do testimonials help give your writing a personal touch, but they also allow you to engage with your current and former customers in a more dynamic way.
4. Combine Elements from Previous Posts
Just because you wrote about a particular topic six months ago, it doesn’t mean that topic is off limits for all of eternity. Make sure you pull from your well of content so you can strategically incorporate it again where it’s both useful and relevant. I’m not saying just write long-form content for the sake of it. On the contrary, use this format to fully explain a topic, and don’t be afraid to restate or rehash old topics and ideas. If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know how to begin, just check out my old blog post from 2017, “Getting Started with Creative Content Creation.” In it, I explain how to identify the right content for your audience and then actually track your results, so you know all that time and effort was worthwhile.
Get Started Today
Though technically not a long-form piece (according to our definition), I tried to use this blog post to give you a brief template that outlines what long-form blog content could look like on your own website. For more education or guidance, feel free to contact Online Optimism and get started today!