When you are researching something important, short answers just will not cut it. You need long-form content that goes in-depth on the topic you are researching. Your audience wants content like that as well. There are a lot of benefits to long-form content that go beyond entertaining or informing an audience. Small businesses just like yours use it to build credibility and a relationship with their audience that can turn into real, repeated sales. In this article, you will learn what long-form content is and some examples of long-form content that you can incorporate into your content marketing strategy.
What Does Long-Form Mean?
The exact number of words that constitutes long-form will change depending on who you ask. Long-form content as a form of writing at its shortest is generally more than 1,000 words. With an average font size and double spacing, that is about four pages. That is a lot of content and a lot of work if long-form content is the only content you are producing.
Unlike short-form content, long-form content is more than just a quick answer. It needs to go in-depth and answer as many questions as possible that might come up while reading. While each piece of long-form content should only cover one topic, you should describe it in as much detail as 1,000-7,500 words allows you to.
Benefits of Long-Form Content
Long-form content might seem boring, but if done right, it can have many benefits.
The advice that you should, as a small business owner, write a blog holds true. It helps you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and establish yourself as someone consumers can trust. If you can give them good, honest information and advice, your product must be just as credible. Long-form content is one of the best ways to establish this credibility. If you can explain a topic in detail, customers will get the sense that you understand what you are talking about and that as a result, they can trust you.
Long-form content, as the name suggests, can be long. Why would anyone go through so many words when so many people have such short attention spans? If someone is searching for detail, a long, well-written article will be no problem. Long-form content is just more of what they wanted. As long as the article grabs and keeps their attention, they are going to stay on the page and keep reading. The length itself will not deter them if you write engaging content.
Search Engine Rankings
Many of the top results on the search engine results pages are long-form content. The top-ranked content according to serpIQ was around 2,450 words. Search engine algorithms reward long-form content over much shorter content.
Create a Community
If people love your work, they will come back. Long-form content gives you something to share on social media, something for people to comment on, and something for people to discuss. You should respond to any comments you get and encourage all appropriate discussions regarding your long-form content.
Writing Long-Form Articles
So, how should you write your long-form articles? There is no one way, but there are some tips and best practices that you should take into account as you write your long-form articles.
Spelling and Grammer
It seems like a simple thing, but you would be surprised how many people forget about spelling and grammar. After you write an article, proofread it. Hire an editor if you can. The second set of eyes will catch everything that your eyes may have missed. It’s easy to miss mistakes when you have been staring at the screen all day. There are many spelling and grammar checkers built into word processors and online. While they are not perfect, they should be able to catch most of your mistakes.
The readability of your long-form articles is paramount. Keep paragraphs short and digestible. Large blocks of text are daunting and the reader can easily get lost. Try to keep paragraphs about three or four sentences long. Of course, there will be times when it makes more sense to put a few more sentences together for the sake of flow, but in general, three to four sentences will be sufficient.
Headers serve as signposts to help guide your readers through the long-form article. Though related to the main topic, long-form articles will usually have many different ideas. A reader could easily get confused. Split your article into sections and subsections titled by a header to signal to the viewer what they will be reading about.
Search Engine Optimize
Long-form content needs to be search engine optimized. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of refining your long-form article in a way that makes it more discoverable.
You will need to research the keywords people are using to search for content like your content. Find reputable links with valuable information that will either add to the content of your article or show your audience where you got your information. Use internal links and follow SEO best practices.
SEO will help search engines like Google understand what your content is about and how likely it is to be the best answer to a person’s search query. Good SEO will push your long-form content to the top of the search engine results pages and help you garner more organic traffic. It is important to note that while SEO might initially attract people to your content, it is not going to keep them there. The content needs to be engaging all on its own.
Long-Form Content Ideas
Do you need some help coming up with long-form content ideas? Is that blank screen staring back at you starting to give you a headache? Writing long-form content might seem daunting, but there are certain topics that lend themselves to being long-form.
You could write a case study to show off a success your business had. Write about a project you did that ended with a happy customer to show readers what you could do for them. Go into detail about the project, the highs and lows, and the successful solution that brought the whole thing to fruition.
Answer a Nuanced Question
Questions with no straightforward answer need long-form articles to explore all the nuances. These questions force the reader to think and engage with the content. They might share it with their peers. Perhaps it will start a discussion that will lead more people back to your website.
A Solution to a Problem
Do your customers have a common problem? Do you have an idea about how to fix it? Write an article detailing how your customers can solve their problems, ideally, though not overtly, using the type of product or service you offer. You want to come off as helpful and a resource of information rather than an advertisement.
Most of the time, people who stumble upon your long-form content will be looking to learn. Teach them something. As a small business owner, you have a wealth of knowledge regarding your industry. Put it to use and write a long-form article about something you know well.
If you want to make some really long, long-form content, an e-book would be the way to go. E-books can be multichapter and a few hundred pages. You can go very in-depth in an e-book. Your e-book should be available for download from your website and free if you are using it as a content marketing tool.
When Not to Use Long-Form Content
Long-form content is not always the best way to go. Short-form content is useful when readers are looking for quick and easy answers. Not everyone is trying to understand all the little bits and pieces of a topic. Sometimes 100 words are enough for them.
The searcher’s intent is what will differentiate which form of writing will best suit the content. If you can put yourself in the mind of your target audience and discern their intent, deciding which form of writing to use will be easier.
When crafting your content marketing strategy, you should have a mix of both long and short-form content in addition to other content forms like video and image. A balance of different content is key to attracting and sustaining viewership.
Write Long-Form Content
As you can see, long-form content is an integral part of content marketing. Not only will quality long-form content trigger search engine algorithms, but it is also the content that many readers are looking for. They want the detail and crave to understand their desired topic. It would be a mistake to skip out on long-form content.
That being said, long-form content is time-consuming. Successful content marketing requires multiple long-form articles. Keeping up while also preventing a slip in quality can be difficult. If you find that writing long-form articles is not something you want to spend time on, consider hiring someone, like SEO Design Chicago to write for you.
If you have any questions about long-form writing or are looking to hire content marketing professionals, we have a team of talented content writers who can help you create quality long-form articles for your business.
- How is long-form content effective?
- How long is long-form content?
- What are the benefits of long-form content?
- Why do people look for long-form content?
- When is not a good time to use long-form content?
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