By Julia McCoy
If you’re familiar with online writing or marketing, you’ve likely heard that long-form content is the way of the future. But why?
For one thing, long-form content converts better than shorter content. Don’t believe us? Ask BuzzSumo. They found that content pieces between 3,000-10,000 words earned the most average total shares – way more than content with only 1,000-2,000 words.
Still need more evidence?
serpIQ did an extensive study that found that the average length of content ranking in Google’s top ten spots was 2,000 words or above!
10 Reasons to Fall in Love with Long-Form Blog Content
With this in mind, it’s clear that long-form content not only converts better, but it also gets more attention than its shorter counterparts. Read on to learn more.
1. Long-form content earns more shares
Today, people are hungry for information, and not just the simple, store-bought, cookie-cutter kind. They want real, dense, actionable information that helps them solve problems and find new solutions. This is where long-form content comes in. Keep the BuzzSumo study in mind, which found that long-form content earned an average of 8,859 total shares.
2. Long-form has a longer shelf-life than short-form content
Because long-form content has a longer shelf-life than short form content, it generates more shares over a longer period. This, in turn, allows your company to continue reaping the benefits of long-form content even long after you’ve written it.
3. Long-from content is an effective approach to SEO
Long-form blog content is the ideal vessel for long-tail keywords, which are an excellent way to rank well. While it’s hard (and obvious) to cram long-tail keywords into short content pieces, long-form pieces accommodate them effortlessly, which leads to more seamless integration for you and a stronger keyword strategy for your content.
4. Long-form content allows you to become the authority in your industry
Publishing long-form content is an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Take blogs by Moz, for example. Their pieces are routinely thousands of words long and exhaustive about whatever topic they’re covering. While it may be unrealistic to expect to put out content that’s Moz-worthy right away, it’s clear that brands that take the time to create long-form content are the ones who ultimately succeed at what they’re doing.
5. Long-form content can boost your conversion rates
According to Search Engine Journal, long-form content can dramatically improve your conversion rates. In one case study involving a company called Highrise Marketing, a landing page featuring long-form content improved conversion rates by a massive 37%. How’s that for results?
6. Long-form content gets more backlinks
Everyone wants backlinks! Unfortunately, they’re tough to produce. With long-form content, though, things are bound to get a whole lot easier. In addition to the fact that search engines just value long content more, there’s also a definite SEO benefit to be gleaned from writing more words (many of them long-tail keywords) and publishing them online.
According to one study by Moz, the longer the content, the more backlinks it earns. Because of this, combined with all of the other benefits of long-form content, there’s truly no denying its critical place in a content strategy.
7. Long-form lets you grow your business
Even if you’ve never created long-form blog content before, it can be a fantastic way to grow your business and encourage people to take the next step with your company. By providing increased value and relevancy through long-form content, it’s easy to improve your overall marketing and reach your target audience more intimately.
8. Long-form is rare
Very little of the content online is long-form. Because of this, you’ll stand out simply by creating long-form blog content.
9. Long-form teaches you to write great content
While it’s easy to scrape by with 500-word pieces, long-form blog content teaches you sustainable and ongoing writing skills that benefit your company in the long run.
10. Long-form content performs well on social media
Social media is the place to be today, and long-form content performs especially well on this platform. By creating long-form blog content and sharing it to your social accounts, you can improve your social shares and interaction quickly and easily.
Long-Form Content Survival Tips
Long-form content is a critical form of content, and it works! But how do you do it right? While it’s wonderful to create long-form content for your brand, it’s also critical to ensure you do it right from the get-go. If you don’t, the SEO and traffic benefits of your long-form content could simply backfire.
1. Quality over quantity is the golden rule
As goes with all types of online content, quality matters far, far more than quantity. While it’s an excellent idea to write long-form content, it’s only worth as much as the quality of the content itself. Google and your readers both care much more about value than they do the word count and 1,500 crappy words aren’t as valuable as 300 good ones. With that in mind, ensure that your long-form content doesn’t sacrifice anything in the way of quality. Take your time when creating long-form content and be sure that you allow ample space to spell and grammar check it, fact-check it, and proofread it thoroughly before you publish it. These steps, while simple, can help ensure that quality of your content stays high.
2. Always have a goal in mind
Nobody wants to read 10,000 words without a thesis. With this in mind, it’s critical to define your goal before you start in on your content. What’s the purpose of this long-form article? Are you aiming to generate more leads? Do you want to sell a product or service? Is the goal simply to build brand awareness or to get people to click, buy, or download? Regardless of what your goal may be, understanding it before you develop your content is essential to both maintaining quality and ensuring value for your customers.
3. Write an outline first
It’s easy to get lost in long-form, and an outline will help you stay on-track. With this in mind, always sit down to develop an outline before you drop into the actual writing phase. In addition to helping make your flow and structure more cohesive, an outline will also help you ensure that you’re not missing anything critical in the construction of your content. Finally, it will help you integrate your keywords intelligently and figure out the best way to deliver and package all of the information for your consumers.
4. Make it pretty
Imagine a 12,000-word article without any formatting. Ug. It’s like being caught in the desert without any water! Don’t do this to your readers. If you’re going to write long-form, learn to format it correctly. This means breaking large chunks of text into simple blocks, adding headers and subheaders, including links and bulleted lists, and interspersing the content with visuals. When you do it this way, your readers are more willing to interact with your content, and your content looks more welcoming and beautiful on the page.
5. Make it evergreen
Evergreen content can be the cornerstone of your content strategy. When you ensure that you’re writing an ample number of relevant, highly useful, long-form posts for your audience, you help ensure traffic for your site for months or even years to come.
Take lifestyle writer Tim Ferriss, for example, who has repeatedly claimed that most of his blog traffic and monthly blog views come from well-constructed “old” posts that were published months or even years before a new reader views them. With this in mind, don’t feel like all of your content has to be cutting edge and focused on current events. Every good content strategy includes evergreen content that’s meant to play the long game. Make sure yours does, too.
Should You Gate Your Long-Form Content?
There’s a huge demand raging in the world of content creation about whether you should gate or not gate your long-form content. People have varying opinions.
Gating content means that you essentially place it under lock and key. Users who want to reach it have to go through an email subscription, payment process, or sign-up form to get there.
While many people seem to think that long-form content needs to be gated for its own good, I tend to disagree. At Express Writers, we’ve focused on offering high-quality, long-form content on our blog for years, without ever gating it. While it’s valid to gate some of your long-form content to achieve certain marketing or engagement goals, it’s a slippery slope to feel as if you have to gate everything you do, since that leaves very little to attract new customers.
Here are some pros and cons of gating your content:
- Filling your sales funnel with interested prospects
- A more intimate grasp on who is reading your content and where they’re coming from
- Plenty of spammy sign-ups to clog your marketing pipes
- Decreased engagement because people feel uncomfortable giving you their personal information before building a relationship with your brand
Long-Form Content: You Need It Now
At the end of the day, long-form content is a critical tool for engagement, ROI, and conversions. While it may require more investment of time, energy, and resources to create, it pays off in the long run by building deeper relationships with your readers and allowing you to showcase yourself as an expert in your industry.
If you need help creating quality long-form content, visit our content shop today to learn more about what we can do for you!