Favorite for both readers and search engines, long-form content is at a league of its own. Novice digital marketers may emphasize the importance of short-form content that delivers to-the-point answers, but just like that content, your results to success will also be short-term.
No wonder experts in digital marketing and content creation consistently focus on the length of content! At the end of the day, content length is the key to success, isn’t it? We think so too!
Long-form content might seem like a LOT to assemble, research, and put together, but there is no looking behind once you get the hang of it. Research has shown that long-form content delivers more value as it covers everything related to a specific topic, so the users get more value and engagement. What’s the point of looking at multiple websites when you can get everything in one incredibly detailed but relevant article.
Writing detailed content doesn’t mean that you have to make it unnecessarily complicated to an extent where it reminds you of someone’s doctoral research paper. Even expert writers sometimes find themselves bored and shocked at the structure and length of a particular piece. This is why you need to have the technique drilled down before you begin typing your next ‘detailed’ piece.
Distinguishing Between Long-Form and Short-Form Content
Before creating long-form content, it is essential to understand what distinguishes it from its short-form counterpart. Any piece of writing between 1000 to 7500 words is considered long-form. It is specifically put together to engage users in a well-detailed and highly-researched article so you can understand complicated subjects with ease.
Short-form content is less than 1000 words mostly, and it contains direct answers or short explanations for the topic at hand. This does not clear a lot of confusion as compared to longer ones.
Perks of Writing Long-Form Content
As mentioned above, long-form is the most desirable form of content writing that instantly yields you maximum results. Following are the top perks of making your content detailed, relevant to the title, and answering key user queries.
1. Better Search Engine Ranking
Longer content tends to produce better search engine rankings.Every time you search for something, the results are often available on the first page. Search Engine Result Pages rank a particular piece of the article according to its quality, use of proper keywords, and relevant details. Since longer content is more engaging and allows people to stay on your website for longer, you must start putting out some well-thought pieces.
By following SEO guidelines and understanding the Google algorithm, it is possible to create an article that instantly shoots to the first page of any search engine. If you search ‘best business ideas in COVID,’ every article on the first page is long-form and highly detailed.
2. More Shares
It’s virtually impossible that every single thing you post gets viral and instantly bursts the internet. However, people are generally more attracted to content that answers all their related queries. It enables you to emerge as an expert in the field with a better subject understanding and far more experience. People do not hesitate to share content that fulfills their requirements, and they expect it to do the same for other people.
3. Lower Bounce Rate
Most people complain about an increasing bounce rate on their website. Have you ever asked them about the quality of content and articles there? Visitors only invest their time if the content is engaging enough to grab attention within the first 6 seconds. This determines the bounce rate and engagement results. Spending more time writing means that there are more chances of people staying at your website. Keep in mind the quality and relevance to your website/article as well.
4. More Leads
Leads hold immense importance for online websites. Moreover, if you are selling something, it is necessary to have top-notch genuine leads that might turn into paying customers one day. If you regularly update the site with content, it not only keeps your current readers busy but also attracts more people to visit and recognize your website. According to statistics, businesses that focus on the quality of their content develop a far better recognition in less time than those that don’t.
Best Practices to Writing Long-Form Content
Now we have a basic understanding of long-form content and the benefits it yields for all kinds of businesses and websites. Let’s move on to tips and practices that you have to include in your writing style to make it engaging and valuable.
1. Catchy But Sensible Introduction
As mentioned above, your technique of introducing any type of content plays a key role in engaging the reader. If they don’t like what they see, consider them gone after the first 6 to 10 seconds. Some people want to start their introduction with relevant questions. In contrast, others take a more conversational tone, so the readers feel they are actually talking to someone.
Once you know the type of introduction, to begin with, consider the length of that paragraph. No one wants to see the history of the telephone when all they came to know is the importance of a call center.
Moreover, it is also essential to understand the audience you are writing for. For instance, if your article revolves around 60-year-old seniors and their health concerns, it is unnecessary to joke around and create unwanted frustration. Keep it light but refreshing like the best scallop salad you have ever had!
2. Use Simple Words
We all like to flaunt our vocabulary every once in a while. However, when your end reader can’t conceive your point or understand what you are trying to say, it’s all down the drain. The internet is full of challenging and complex articles. Still, one thing among readers is that they are looking for simplicity and genuineness.
Create your websites and articles as a source of information for people from around the world. Some might be good at English, and some might not be. Still, if you give everyone a platform to enjoy reading answers and solutions to their most persistent queries, you have a loyal audience right in your bag.
Additionally, search engines also prefer precise but straightforward and well-written content. Google, dominating 92.47% of search engines, prefers ranking premium quality content that people of all different age groups and languages can understand.
3. Images and Infographics
No matter how well you cook something, it all goes in vain if you don’t add the proper seasoning. The same is the case with images and infographics in articles. We agree that long-form content might get boring, especially if nothing is interesting or relevant to look at. Visuals play an important role in keeping the readers engaged and on the page. Even if someone is randomly skimming through the headings, a high-quality and fast-loading image can instantly draw them towards the words. While it’s best to add your own images, people generally do not have the time or resources to do so. In such cases, there are various reputable websites where you can access quality stock images.
Infographics are known as a ‘reader driving agent’ because of their ability to explain everything in a few words. While it does take a while to design a particular piece, it is almost impossible to deny their importance. They also highlight what you are trying to explain, so a reader with little time to read everything will go through the infographic.
Other than these two, you can also add block quotes and anchor text to highlight some important parts of the article. They are also a great addition to engage someone who is looking for some genuine answers.
4. Section Headings
If a person cannot handle a messy room, do you think they would be able to take your chaotic and jumbled-up content? Literally, content without headings looks super frustrating and tedious to read.
But why give something like this to people who give you their time?
Long-form content can be one heck of a job if you are unable to section it properly. Make fair use of headings so that people have a basic sense of what you are offering in each paragraph. Typically, H1 is used for the topic, H2 for the first heading, H3 for its subheading, etc. It creates a clean layout of your article and helps you define the points much more precisely.
5. Be Easy on Repetitions
Imagine someone told you a joke. Now think they told you the EXACT SAME joke again, and again, and again. It doesn’t seem funny anymore, right? The same is the case with content. If you continue to repeat a single point over and over again, it can irritate the reader. It also hampers the genuineness, legitimacy, and diversity of your content.
Consistent repetition is one of the most common problems that people face when creating long-form content. To maintain consistency and flow of your tone, it is better to research your work prior to posting by creating a timeline. A timeline is a great way to organize your document and help people understand what’s coming next.
6. Conversational Tone
The key to long-form content is to keep your audience hooked on every single word you write. Content creators such as Hubspot and The Story of Telling have some of the most fluent and well-organized articles of all time. When people feel they are listening to you in simple words, it leaves them wanting for more.
7. Include Examples
2021 is ending, and people are becoming more aware of their surroundings. No one believes in the legitimacy of what they read until you provide them with genuine examples. Giving examples indicates that whatever you are suggesting to your readers exists in real life, and other people are going through the same thing. Additionally, when talking about facts and figures, make sure to link genuine information sources and proofs to make your content worthwhile.
8. SEO Practice
Finding a keyword, adding it to an appropriate part of your article, and using the correct domain also play a pivotal role in establishing quality content. Your primary keyword should be inside the meta description, ALT tags of images, title, and even the domain name. This makes the content more promising. Additionally, choose high-density keywords without stuffing your content, ensuring that they come only in specific parts of the article. For instance, two keywords at the start and bottom are mandatory in a thousand-word article. Increase their quantity accordingly. SEO experts also recommend adding one keyword in the initial paragraph. The last use should be in the final paragraph. Also, using LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords increases the quality of content and relevance, so add them for better results.
9. Use Power Words
How many times have you clicked on titles starting like
“7 Irresistible practices….”
“What is the best technique for….”
“9 Extraordinary locations…”?
Uncountable times, we suppose.
These words are known as power words, and they have the potential to wake certain emotions. Using power words in different titles compels the readers to make a click and get in the article. Once they are in, your engaging content can do the rest of the job.
10. Creating a Web of Links
When you write an article, don’t think of it as the one and only piece of the day. Consider your previous work and see what you can link with the new one. This is a great technique to keep users hooked on your website, so they keep checking out your work for a long time. Furthermore, adding external links relevant to your content also increases the integrity of your content as well as ranking on the SERPs.
Long-form content is more valuable than its shorter counterpart because of its ability to keep users engaged in one place. Other than this, it also improves your search engine ranking and visibility on Search Engine Result Pages. Start with an engaging introduction and use simple words throughout the article.
Make sure to add high-quality images and infographics to keep things entertaining. Moreover, adding links and using the right power words can make your content a well-ranked piece on any search engine. Just write as though you are having a conversation with the reader where they ask you about a particular topic. Finally, look at the work of top competitors and how they are expressing their point of view on the same topic. Happy writing!
Ivy Attie is a content manager, researcher, and author in Stockphotos.com. She is a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Her background is in communication and journalism, and she also loves literature and performing arts.