So, you have an excellent idea for a site and have already taken the first steps to get it up and running. You have visitors, but none of them are converting to leads. Or, maybe you’ve been in the game for a while and are searching for new and unique ways to gather leads from content writing.
Whatever it may be, we can all agree that content reigns supreme in either situation. The tricky question is: what kind of content? Long-form or short-form content?
Short-form content may be the best way to get guests on your site excited and interested, but long-form content is the way to keep those leads coming back. However, when it comes to long-form content, we can all agree that the task is a daunting one, even for seasoned writers.
Simplifying the process without sacrificing quality is the best way to approach this intimidating task. The better long-form content you write, the greater your chance of converting guests into leads and getting people to share that content on social media.
In this article, you’ll learn the details of long-form content and how you can create your best lengthy content in 2022.
To write long-form content, we first need to define it. Long-form content is writing that explains a topic in depth and consists of more than 2,000 words on average. It is essentially website copywriting, and pieces are usually at least 2,500–3,000 words. However, there is no limit on the higher end.
Long-form content comes in a handful of different forms, such as guides, tutorials, roundups, case studies, and interviews.
Long-form content is made to keep visitors on your site. You might wonder whether people even read long-form content or if they have the patience for it. The answer is always yes. The truth is, if someone is interested in a topic, they will put in the time and work to learn more about it, and that’s where long-form content is useful.
There are many benefits to long-form content, which range from improving search engine ranking to increasing engagement and social shares. This type of content is also great because it doesn’t always matter when you publish it; it’s less time-sensitive than other types of writing.
Quality information is useful for the person who is looking for it, even if it was published long ago.
Statistics show that long-form content gets 77% more backlinks than short-form content. An article between 2,250 and 2,500 words also earns more organic traffic than a shorter one. Furthermore, Google loves this type of content. When you search, you will notice that top-ranking articles are 1,890 words on average.
Just one long-form post can give you something to promote, act as a gateway to creating relationships, and show a position of authority. Overall, long-form content is the earned media tactic you have been searching for to take your business to the next level.
Check out these ten techniques you can implement today to create worthwhile long-form content:
The skyscraper technique is one of the easiest ways to write long-form content. All you have to do is find good content with Google and see if there is a way you can improve on it.
It’s not plagiarism because you aren’t copying the content. You can simply find the top three or five best-performing articles on Google on a topic. As a starting point, gather the best points from each post. After that, write something more appealing by including insights, opinions, and more details.
This isn’t aiming to copy other people’s content, but to “one-up” them and make your writing better than anything else out there. With a bit of personalization like sharing life experiences, memorable stories, and talking directly to your audience, your content will not only create a connection, but it will perform much better.
In conclusion, you can learn from what’s out there. By producing something unique and adding more depth, you will be on your way to creating content that is more valuable than what your competition is offering.
The essential part of creating any content is first finding the audience. It’s vital not to overlook the audience you want to address, especially when it comes to long-form content, because these are the people that will stay loyal to you and take the time to read your content.
If the skyscraper technique didn’t uncover a niche you want to focus on, then ask yourself what you can bring to readers. Use this to find out what niche you want to tackle, then move on to finding an audience to which you can provide value.
You are writing with the goal of reaching a specific audience, so knowing who that audience is will inform your choice of tone, style, and depth. Creating a description of your audience, along with whether they are reading to learn, be entertained, or find quick information, is a great way to clarify the piece’s structure.
Secondly, consider your business objectives and what you would like to gain. Take it slow and start with setting weekly and monthly goals. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Instead, use your business goals to decide when and where to publish your content.
Empowering writers, not replacing them.
Not all topics work well in the long form. This is why the topic is of the utmost importance and should be chosen with careful consideration. Just because a 500-word piece can be stretched into 2,000 words doesn’t mean it is necessarily worth it.
To find a topic, start by examining your organization’s industry, niche, and personality. Find topics that relate to the organization, then use keyword research tools to check popularity. It is best to think of the angle from which you want to approach the topic. For example, a beauty brand can write from different perspectives, such as the manufacturing process, the implication of animal testing, or the multiple uses of their products.
Make sure the topic is broad enough to allow you to reach your audience, but not so broad that you are stuck with writing novel-length content. You want to be able to clearly state the reason that the topic is related to your organization.
Furthermore, decide on the treatment of the content by choosing to make it gated or ungated. This means deciding whether a guest has to fill out a form or enter their email to access the content.
Once you know your audience and what tone and structure you will be using, it’s time to start researching. However, researching for long-form content can produce a jumble of words after some time, so having a strategy beforehand can save a heap of time.
Write down everything you already know and record any information that you personally are contributing. Then, break down the post into chunks and create an outline with some main points and details you’d like to touch on.
Once you have everything where you can see it, you’re ready to start researching and writing!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have heard a thing or two about headings. Headings make sure your text is not too crowded.
Create a detailed outline so it’s easier for readers to scan through the entire page. Within the headings, don’t forget to break down the paragraphs. Doing so will keep readers on your site for longer.
An article that is appealing at first sight is more likely to be given a shot than a congested page that feels long.
However, if you’re afraid of staring at a blank document, then Outranking.io is a great resource to kickstart that strategy. Outranking.io provides step-by-step instructions to create and optimize content that will hit the mark, no matter what. You will be guided through breaking your work down into sections and creating a meta title, meta description, and H1 tags.
It’s very tempting to add some fluff and filler to a post in an attempt to reach a higher word count. Though filler seems like a great idea to stretch out a piece, it can be overwhelming for long-form content.
Long-form content is already long, hence the name. Your job is to engage your audience and appear higher in search engine results. The truth is that no one likes filler. People reading your post want to learn about the topic in a relaxed way, not be confused by an excess of unnecessary words.
Leave the filler behind and focus on the topic at hand. Don’t be too repetitive with statements. Make your point and move on. Instead of trying to get in as many words as possible, write the same thing in fewer words, so the information is focused. Lastly, don’t add any words that don’t belong. Every sentence should address the topic and have a meaning.
Long-form content has to contain some kind of imagery or visuals. A longer article becomes less engaging when all a reader sees is a heap of words without relevant images. In fact, about 63% of marketers say that using original graphics and video content in their work is important.
Take it one step further and add more visuals such as tables, charts, graphs, and infographics. Illustration, screenshots, and GIFs are great additions to make your piece more fun and lively. As long as the visuals are relevant to the content and interesting to your audience, you’ll already be ahead of the game.
Remember, the more original the image, the better.
Everyone loves a good shortcut, especially when it comes to long-form content. The truth is, not everyone is going to read your whole post. Maybe some readers need only one section of information, and scrolling to find it without any navigation help can be frustrating.
This is why your job includes adding shortcuts. Shortcuts offer people the chance to skip to the parts of a piece that they find most interesting. A table of contents at the beginning of a post is one form of shortcut.
The same tactic goes for the conclusion. After a long article, people might not remember everything they read, so a quick summary of the takeaways at the end will stick with your readers after they leave your site.
Once you publish your long-form content, there’s just one more thing to do: update it. One of the advantages of long-form content is that it stays evergreen if you keep it up to date.
This means going back and regularly checking if your statements are still accurate and up to date. If people read your post five years later, they will bounce back if the information has lost its value.
Therefore, it’s essential to update your content continuously. Simply check and edit your long-form content from time to time and stay up to date with changes in the world or within your industry.
You might be thinking, “why do I need to write more?” Well, the only way to truly succeed at long-form content is to keep writing it. This is the only thing you can do to improve and see significant changes in your writing.
The better and more educational your content, the higher your chance of gaining a larger audience. Show them your knowledge on the topic and gain their trust as an authoritative figure. After all, practice does make perfect, so don’t ever stop writing!
Empowering writers, not replacing them.
Long-form content is challenging to put together, but not impossible. With the right tools, mindset, and dedication, anyone can write long-form. It’s important to start slow and not dive in without preparation.
Utilize the techniques in this post to develop a research and writing strategy that works for you. There’s no doubt that long-form writing is a great marketing tactic to engage and inform your audience. Don’t skip out on this excellent opportunity to educate your readers while gaining more traffic for your site.
Long-form content equals long-term readership, and that is the ultimate goal. Deliver the answers people want clearly and concisely while focusing more on creating quality than reaching a set number of words. By simplifying the process, you will continue to get better. You’ll soon become a seasoned long-form content writer.
If you’re still feeling stuck on how to break into long-form content, then Outranking.io has a complete set of features to help you to create long-form content easily. Here are some important Outranking.io features that will help you to create long-form and SEO content:
– Identifying user intent to target
– Finding content ideas
– Analyzing SERP results and ranked content in depth
– Creating SEO content with step-by-step instructions
– Creating comprehensive outlines and writing headlines with the help of AI
– Using AI to complete paragraphs, rewrite content, and answer questions
Outranking.io makes it easy to produce long-form, high-quality, and SEO-friendly content. Try it for free and see what you can create!