Long-form content is a great way to share your expertise and build trust with your audience. If you are new to writing for the web, you might be wondering how to write a long-form piece that ranks well and receives the attention it deserves.
Creating long-form content is hard. Even for seasoned writers, the task of creating long-form content that ranks and achieves business goals can seem daunting. It is not that it is difficult to write, but rather the amount of time and effort it takes to create something that will rank well and be valuable to your audience.
In this article, we will cover why long-form content is so important for your company, how to write it effectively and efficiently, and give you some tips on how to make sure your content is perfect before publishing it.
Table Of Contents
- What is long-form content, and why is it important?
- What is the main difference between long-form and short-form content?
- In what ways long-form content is better than short-form content for your business?
- What are the key elements for long-form content planning?
- How can you choose the goal and target audience for your long-form content?
- How to find the focus topic for your long-form content?
- What are the key platforms while researching for your long-form content?
- What factors do you need to keep in mind while optimizing your long-form content?
- How can you increase the reach and engagement of your long-form content?
Whether you are new to content marketing or an experienced writer from a reputable digital marketing agency, this blog will surely help you in many ways!
Let’s start with the basics
What is long-form content, and why is it important?
Before we begin, let's define long-form content. It is written in a way that covers a lot of ground and/or goes deep into a subject. The minimum word count should be between 700 and 2,000. The upper limit might differ based on the focus issue, scope, intended goals, and audience, among other things.
Long-form content necessitates critical thinking. It is meant to be read (as opposed to skimmed). It is meaningful and well-researched. It is not a piece of writing that crams every potential keyword onto a single page.
For long-form content to score highly and be perceived as helpful by readers, it must be substantive and have a clear goal. Long-form material is sometimes gated, which means that the viewers must input personal information before they can access it. Articles, white papers, downloadable e-books, guidelines, and reports are a few examples of forms.
Long-form vs. Short-form content
Long-form content is a complete meal, whereas short-form information is frequently referred to as "snackable content." It often has 400 to 600 words and makes its point using appropriate buzzwords, keywords, and images. It requires little critical analysis and is easy to skim. Infographics, blog posts, and listicles are a few examples of formats.
For every type of information, long or short form, there are two goals: Along with aiming to benefit your target audience, you also need to strive to increase metrics that support the marketing objectives of your company and establish your authority. For instance, produce content with numerous standalone infographics that have share buttons next to them if you want to increase engagement on media platforms.
So, which kind of content should you utilize and when?
Well, think about your company objectives. In general, long-form material performs better than short-form content in the following areas:
- Boost conversion rates and search engine rankings
- Social media engagement
- Utility and lifespan
Boost conversion rates and search engine rankings.
According to research, the top 10 search results often had more than 2,000 words each. Therefore, a page's content length is a factor in how well it ranks. Furthermore, data analysis from 2012 reveals a connection between the length of articles and the number of backlinks they get.
Why is this so?
What matters is not the length of the content, but what you do with it. Context is a key concern for search engines. Simply said, long articles can provide more context for the primary topic by
- Getting more specific about the subject,
- linking it to a larger number of relevant issues, and demonstrating the link between them
Additionally, search engines favor long, in-depth articles over those that are brief or focused. In fact, Google's algorithm will penalize thin content rather than rank it. Also, there is mounting proof that businesses report higher conversion rates when they produce longer-form content.
Social Media Engagement
Long-form content increases social sharing, organic reach, and a higher rating in social media algorithms.
Long-form material is delivered through social media to a readership that is already following you. These platforms inherently facilitate participation since users are already signed in, increasing the likelihood of likes, shares, and comments. On the other hand, some websites and blogs demand that users register before participating.
Utility and Lifespan
Long-form content is excellent regardless of when it is published. The lifespan is good. This is due to the fact that reliable knowledge is always helpful, regardless of when it was published (as long as it isn't outdated). For instance, the average lifespan of a Tweet is 18 minutes, and it expires after 24 hours.
But you also need to think about your audience. Nowadays, people have shorter attention spans.
Long-form content may have a negative impact on conversion rates in some audience groups if the extra information they get conflicts with how they already perceive the product or service, preventing them from trying it out.
Additionally, producing long-form material takes time, but creating short-form content is relatively faster. In reality, a combination of both these types of content is ideal for your content marketing strategy. It just comes down to prioritizing.
Long-form content planning: Topic, audience, and objectives
Planning is necessary for SEO writing quality contents that ranks. You must specify your topic, your objectives, and your target audience. These are your piece's ballasts; they support the research you will conduct, the range, tone, depth, and the metric by which you will judge the piece's success. You don't have to be familiar with all three of these things right away. Choosing one directs the other.
Goals and audience
Every piece of content has two objectives, as was already mentioned: to benefit the audience and to achieve business goals.
Think about how you might present yourself as an authority, offer interesting or practical information, and respond to their queries if you want to be of use to your audience. This will be related to the focus topic you select.
Second, think about your company's goals. With this second category, be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Pick a few marketing goals that best suit your topic and target audience because it's probably impossible to develop a post that meets all of them.
The business objectives will be used later to help you choose where to post your content, how it will appear if it will be gated, how long it should be exactly, and what sorts of graphics, images, videos, or links you'll include.
You will also need to have a solid understanding of the audience your material is intended for. You don't just write for the sake of writing. You are writing with a certain audience in mind. Who is that target market? The questions to be addressed, the tone and style, the depth, and the piece's value will all be influenced by your audience.
Focus topic and treatment
The focus topic sums up the subject of the article in a single word or phrase. How do you decide what to focus on? So, take into account the sector, target market, and character of your company. What subjects have a direct or indirect relationship to your organization? If you produce furniture, for instance, you may write about:
- Trees (connects back to the sort of wood used to build your furniture)
- The evolution of furniture over time and how different eras have influenced it
- The method used to create furniture
- The customers (who will be using this furniture, factors to take into account when buying furniture, kinds of furniture that go well with big houses, tiny apartments, modern or vintage appearances)
- The demographics of the users (children, adults, families, and pets), where you reside (city vs. rural), etc.
Make sure you can articulate why the focus topic is relevant to your company.
Additionally, make sure your focus topic is broad enough to accommodate you to meet your target word count but not so vast that a novel would be required to fully cover it. As you conduct research, you can always adjust the focus topic.
You must choose how you will offer the focus topic's material in terms of treatment. Here, for instance, we aren't going to dive into the convoluted history of SEO in relation to content length or provide instances of excellent or terrible long-form content; instead, we are just trying to educate people on the best writing process.
Researching the focus topic
Once you have determined your target audience, objectives, and focus topic, you can begin your research.
- Bookmark relevant sources of information such as blogs or websites that cover similar topics. You can also use them as a guide for what types of questions you should ask in order to find out where your audience is currently getting their information from.
- Take notes about what you learn from each website or blog post so that you can reference them later when writing your content.
- If possible, try to speak with someone who has experience in the field that your focus topic covers before writing anything down – this will help ensure that your content is accurate and up-to-date with current events/news stories related to the subject matter at hand!
Writing long-form content
You can start writing once you have answered every query on your list. If you did your homework correctly, you would have most of your material created since you have responded to questions that can be turned into paragraphs.
Before beginning to copy and paste your stuff into parts to form a coherent narrative, go over the research to decide how to organize it best. (In this instance, "Define it first. Afterward, describe its value. then describe the research process. Then, describe how to write it.
All of your SEO elements should contain your keyword. Since your keyword is intimately related to the subject of your article, it should be in the opening paragraph of the text. In most cases, your piece's title will contain your keyword.
Use your keyword often throughout your material and add it to your URL, picture file name, and header tags.
Instead of concentrating on how often you utilize your keyword, concentrate on supplying information that your target consumer requires while also adding value. You'll use it naturally if you focus on your reader.
A Few Pointers
- Add pictures! According to data, articles containing photos get more links than those without. Engagement may be raised by using video as well.
- Ask for feedback. Ask your clients whether the article addresses all of their questions. This will not only boost participation, but you will also gain better market data about what your audience wants straight from the source.
- Include a few inbound and outbound links. Inbound links should point to similar posts and other long-form material. I'll certainly link this article to some of our other blog posts that discuss keywords, for instance. Outbound links should go to relevant but uncompetitive content. I'll include a couple of links here that discuss SEO and perhaps infographic creation.
- Tip for overcoming writer's block: talk out loud. Ask yourself the questions honestly, and then record your responses in writing. You now have a foundation upon which to build.
Long-form content is worthwhile if done correctly.
Creating long-form content can take a lot of time. Writing lengthy articles requires more time than writing short-form or bite-sized articles.
The rewards, nevertheless, can be quite high. In search results, long articles frequently appear higher than short ones.
And if you're writing for an audience, you may rank for keywords related to your company, drive targeted traffic to your website, and ideally convert some of that traffic.
If you haven't tried long-form material yet, you should. Not every article you write needs to be lengthy, but the ones that are most crucial to your company's success should be.
When it comes to content marketing, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There are so many components involved in creating the perfect strategy—social media marketing, SEO, copywriting—and it is tough not to feel like you are drowning in this stuff.
But don't worry! We have got your back. PRISM is one of the top digital marketing agencies in the UAE that has been helping businesses like yours succeed for over a decade.
Our team of marketing experts can help you with all the things you need to know about content marketing: how to find the right target audience for your content, how to create engaging pieces that draw in readers and keep them coming back for more, and how to use social media effectively but efficiently so that your brand stays top-of-mind throughout the web.
Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you grow your business!
About The Author: Lovetto Nazareth
Lovetto Nazareth is a digital marketing consultant and agency owner of Prism Digital. He has been in the advertising and digital marketing business for the last 2 decades and has managed thousands of campaigns and generated millions of dollars of new leads. He is an avid adventure sports enthusiast and a singer-songwriter. Follow him on social media on @Lovetto Nazareth