Are you wondering, ‘what is long form content, and why it matters to your content marketing strategy?’ Do you want to write long-form blog posts but struggling to make it happen? This article is perfect for you.

The mere thought of producing long-form content is enough to make some marketers (content marketers) and business owners break out in cold sweat. That is understandable; it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day as it is.

However, although creating long-form blog posts might sound like a big hassle, the efforts can pay off exponentially. Hence, let us first identify long-form content.

What Is Long Form Content?

With no end-all-be-all definition of what classifies content as “long-form,” different people have different ideas of the word count that puts articles into that classification. Some blogging authorities consider 1,000-plus words as long-form.

Others, experts such as Neil Patel set the bar at 2,000-words or higher. When asked to write long form content, I usually find clients request a minimum word count within the range of 1,200 to 2,000 words. Occasionally, a client will ask 2,000-plus words.

Ultimately, a publisher might base his idea of long-form content by the word count an SEO specialist has determined to be the sweet spot for achieving better online visibility.

The mere thought of producing long-form content is enough to make some marketers (content marketers) and business owners break out in cold sweat. Click To Tweet

Why Does Long Form Content Matter to Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Long form content matters to your search engine optimization-SEO and content marketing strategy because it offers many competitive advantages, including better search results than shorter content. For instance, BuzzSumo’s analysis reveals that long form content gets more social media shares and likes.

blog post statisticsSource: OkDork
This type of blog content is more in-depth and well researched. It is the type of material Google loves, which makes it generate more traffic and improves user engagement than short-form content. Some of the competitive advantages and SEO benefits of longer blog content are:

Consequently, a study by Moz found out that long form content often receives higher social media shares and backlinks when compared to short-form content. Moreover, content comes in different formats; and whatever form you present your material, you are creating content for your ideal reader.

Thus, it must be able to generate website traffic, transform readers into leads, and convert them into paying customers. For these reasons, nearly everyone is into content creation in recent times. For example, this infographic shows what happens on the internet in just about one minute.

CONTENT DISTRIBUTION

Source: Smart Insights

The visual shows that more than enough content materials are published and distributed every 6o seconds on different channels. It also reveals the intensity of the competition. So, to stand out from the noise, you need to create quality long form content Google loves. Content materials that will attract backlinks from other sites and is useful to the reader.

Hence, now that we have identified the “what” and the “why,” let us move on to the “how.”

How to Write Long-Form Content

Long form content matters to your search engine optimization-SEO and content marketing strategy because it offers many competitive advantages, including better search results than shorter content. Click To Tweet

1: Get Organized

Before you start writing long-form content, have a process in place to help guide your efforts. In view of this, I suggest that you:

  • Establish your target completion and publication dates.
  • Identify who will be involved in the content process and what their roles will be. Their functions, in this context, include (brainstorming blog topics idea, keyword research, subject matter experts, writing, SEO optimization, uploading into your content management system(CMS), promoting on social media and other marketing channels, etc.).

2: Determine The Topic You Will Cover

First and foremost, tap into what your target audience wants or needs to know. A few ways to figure that out include:

  • Use Google Analytics to review your website to see which blog posts are performing well.
  • Glean inspiration from your company’s frequently asked questions page (FAQ) or that of your competitors.
  • Ask your customer service personnel, your target audience, and support teams for comments.
  • Post questions on social media and encourage your followers to chime in.
  • Create a survey (via a tool like SurveyMonkey).

Also, use online tools to help explore the “legs” and possible angles of a subject. One of the most effective and most comfortable to use is Google’s search results page.

Content comes in different formats; and whatever form you present your material, you are creating content for your ideal reader. So make it count. Click To Tweet

Using Google SERP for Fine-Tuning Long Form Content Ideas

A quick search on a prospective topic can unearth ideas about the angles you might explore and the key points you might include in your long form content.

The SERP offers insight in three ways:

  1. The top search results: Observe the articles that appear on page one to get a feel for what they cover. And also, how you might “up the ante” by providing more in-depth or better quality content in your long-form articles.
  2. PAA: About one-quarter to halfway down from the top of the SERP, you’ll see a “People also ask” (PAA) box that shows other inquiries users have made about the topic. These can generate ideas about what sub-topics you should cover in your article.
  3. Related searches: At the bottom of the SERP, you’ll see related terms that users searched for on Google. These can also help you flesh out what you might include in your blog content.

As an illustration, suppose I’m going to write a long form article about interior design. If I do an online search using the phrase “interior design tips,” Google will show me the top-ranking blog materials based on my search query.

It will also show the people also ask (PAA) box, which offers some food for thought on different sections I might include in my post.

Goolge's people also search box

The related searches at the bottom of the page provide some additional insight into what I might cover in either the article at hand or in future articles.

Your content must be able to generate website traffic, transform readers into leads, and convert them into paying customers. Click To Tweet

Google relate search result

Please, Read: How to Write Stunning Blog Posts That Will Drive Tons of Traffic to Your Website.

3: Do Keyword Research

To maximize SEO outcomes for your long form content, you’ll want to conduct keyword research to help you find words and phrases that will help your articles rank higher in Google.

And with lots of competition, to rank using general keywords, you’ll have to incorporate relevant long-tail keywords. Granted, they don’t generate the same search volume, but they are more targeted to your specific audience’s interests. Furthermore, they give your content a better chance of ranking prominently in searches.

Long-form content, why it matter, how to write it.

Image Source: Wpbeginner

The graph above shows that long-tail keywords generate 70% of search traffic; which makes it a must use for your content marketing and search engine optimization campaigns. Some of the best keyword research tools you can use include:

  • SEMrush
  • Ubersuggest
  • Ahrefs
  • KWFinder
  • Moz’s SERP analysis tool

Also, consider how people use voice search technology. According to a Gartner press release, “By 2020, users will perform 30% of web browsing sessions without a screen.”

As Google fine-tunes voice search, and more homes and businesses buy devices such as Amazon’s Alexa,  Echo, Google Home, and Google Home Mini, the number of voice searches continues to increase. Thus, you will need to think about what people will say, not only what they will type.

Before you start writing long-form content, have a process in place to help guide your efforts. Click To Tweet

Related Post: 21 Best SEO Audit Tools for Website Analysis And Content Optimization In 2019 (Updated)

4: Create An Outline.

When you’re writing blogs, you need to make sure you structure your articles logically. Failing to do so will cause readers to get lost and tune out, thus, increasing your website’s bounce rate. As a result, Identify the main points of your material, sub-points, and the order in which they should appear to guide readers flawlessly through your content.

This step will also serve you well from an SEO perspective because it will help you decide the headings structure (i.e., h2, h3, h4, and so forth). Let us revisit my earlier example. If I were writing a long-form article focused on interior design tips, the components of my outline might look like this:

Title — Room-by-room Interior Design Tips for New Homeowners (h1)

Introduction

Main point 1 — Kitchen design tips (h2)

Sub-points (h3s)

  • Kitchen counters
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • My kitchen flooring
  • Lighting for the Kitchen
  • My kitchen appliances

Main point 2 — Living room design tips (h2)

Sub-points (h3s)

  • My living room furniture
  • Living room flooring
  • Living room walls
  • Window treatments for my living room
  • Lighting for my living room

The outline would go on to cover the other rooms and offer a roadmap for what I will want to research and write about in the article.

Recommended Post: 6 Easy Steps to Help Non-Writers Write Terrific Blog Content

Long-Form Content: Why It Matters, How to Write It

When you’re writing blogs, you need to make sure you structure your articles logically. Failing to do so will cause readers to get lost and tune out, thus, increasing your website's bounce rate. Click To Tweet

5: Write Like A Pro Blogger

Here are some tips to help make sure your writing puts your best foot forward. In consequence, whether you’re writing your content in-house or using a freelancer:

  • Make sure blog post reflects your brand voice and writing style
  • Write meaningful content, not fluff. Because quality matters more than word count
  • Use bold headings (h2, h3, h4) to showcase the main points that you’re covering
  • Break text into bite-sized chunks for readers by writing short sentences. Use short paragraphs and numbered and bulleted points to add eye rests and make content easier to follow
  • Apply a conversational tone to your writing and use “you” rather than third-person pronouns to make your article more relatable.
  • Don’t use excessive jargon that might confuse your readers.
  • Review and fine-tune what you write.

I find that reading content out loud enables me to detect mistakes and weaknesses that I miss all too easily when only visually viewing what I’ve written. Also, consider using Grammarly. Its free version offers basic proofreading and editing feature. Nonetheless, the Grammarly Premium has enhanced functions to step up your game.

Handpicked: 21 Blogging Tools That Will Make You a Better and Successful Blogger.

6: Optimize Your Long Form Content for SEO

After writing your long-form material, you can improve your chances of getting found online by optimizing your content for SEO. Below are some items and areas to pay attention to:

  • Revisit the long-tail keywords you identified in your keyword research efforts, and (if you haven’t already) add them into your article, with particular attention to your blog title and sub-headings
  • Use your focus keyword in the first 100 words of your blog post; preferably at the beginning
  • Create a compelling meta description to piqué reader interest and make them want to click-through to your post
  • Keep your page’s URL short and make it keyword-rich.
  • Use images, videos, and other visual elements to engage and increase visitor time on the page and cut bounce rate
  • Add several internal links to relevant articles and pages on your website.
  • Insert outbound links to relevant content on reputable websites.
Create an outline and identify the main points of your material, sub-points, and the order in which they should appear to guide readers flawlessly through your content. Click To Tweet

7: Put Your Content Out There

Don’t adopt a “build it and they will come” state of mind, thinking that because you’ve published and optimized your content, people will find and flock to it.

You must take an active role in sharing your blog content on social media platforms, to your email subscriber list, and other marketing channels to help you reach a broader audience.

Furthermore, distributing your posts on the different mediums will enable you to establish your authority and build brand trust with your audience. Also, make sure you have social share buttons on your blog to make it convenient for readers to share your posts across social media sites.

What Is Long Form Content? Why It Matters, and How to Write It (Updated)

WrappingUp; Go Long or Go Home

While some blogs have gained vast exposure and immense popularity with shorter posts or short-form content; such as that of marketing expert Seth Godin, most businesses need to publish long form content at regular intervals to gain traction.

Doing so will need a bit more of everything involved in the content creation process. This include:

  • More brainstorming activities
  • In-depth keyword research
  • Allocating more time to write
  • More time to optimize content for SEO
  • Etc.

In light of this, if you find yourself feeling lightheaded at the thought of all that, know that you don’t have to do it all alone. Thus, to reap the optimal benefits from long-form content, consider enlisting resources to help you do it right.

As a consequence, SEO specialists, qualified freelance writers, social media consultants, and other professionals with content marketing experts can offer valuable insight and lighten your load.


Dawn Menrzer

Dawn Menrzer

Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, a leading digital marketing firm in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC, and web design services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally. Follow her on Twitter, and LinkedIn

24 Comments

Avatar

Nikola Roza · July 4, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Hi Dawn,
great article on long form content, which I think almost always perform better than short form content.
I like to create text-based monsters because they eat up a lof of long tail traffic, and as you build links to that post, suddenly it starts ranking for hundreds of keywords you’ve never thought of.
Thanks:)

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · July 5, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Nikola,
    You are so right about that. One of the benefits of a longer blog post is that you get to insert related keywords and phrases throughout the entire post strategically. And with time it comes top on Google page one. Why? Because even though it may not rank for your target keyword, it will surely rank for any of the LSI keywords you added to the content.
    Thank you for coming by and contributing to the discussion.

Avatar

Rahul Ahlawat · July 4, 2019 at 6:55 am

This was a great article to learn about long-form content and its advantage to your site. I have a doubt that if you write a long-form content of more than 2000 words, is it possible that your reader might get bored reading such a lengthy article as he might be looking for limited information? He may bounce which may have a negative impact on your site. Is this true?

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · July 5, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Rahul,

    Nice to have you here. However, it all depends on what you consider to be long-form content. Some experts say it is any blog from 1,000-word and above. Some put the mark at 1,500, while others like Neil Patel set it at 2,000-words.
    Interestingly, if you write a 2,000 blog post, it will have the best information that will add value to your readers. It will only take a couple of minutes to digest a 2,000-word blog post. So if a reader frowns at such content as being too lengthy, he is not a serious reader.
    My advice s this, Try to write content from at least 1,200 and 2,000-words. If you check the post I published earlier today on “the most profitable freelance writing niches,” it is over 2,500-words. So don’t shy away. Your most trusted readers will be happy to read it.

    Thank you for coming by and contributing to the discussion. And please, if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Avatar

Matt · January 17, 2019 at 5:45 am

Awesome post! 2 quick things:

The second link in ‘These 21 blogging tools will make you a better and successful blogger.’ is broken. Would love to know where that goes!

I just wrote a similar post and was digging around for more research – Would love to hear your thoughts!

https://getchipbot.com/blog/the-one-way-to-attract-early-customers-to-your-startup-with-no-budget

I think the hardest part of creating long-form content is underestimating or downplaying the process. Taking an idea to a successful post takes repetition and consistency… Not only with the post you’re working on, but the next one; and the next one; and the next one 🙂

    Avatar

    Moss Clement · January 18, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Thanknyou, Matt for the headups and ylfor your interesting comment. I will check out the link to find out where it goes. Once again, really appreciate it.

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Meenakshi · September 18, 2018 at 8:21 am

hello dawn

The biggest misconception about web site content is that the website is a channel (content site, blog, etc.) that offers content. However, content marketing, which is one of the most preferred marketing strategies today, is not specific to content sites. Even if your website is a site that sells products or provides services in any subject, content should work.

Avatar

Dawn Mentzer · September 13, 2018 at 11:08 am

Good morning!

Thanks for reading the article and taking the time to comment!

Is there a word count “sweet spot” that you aim for with your posts on the BrainPundits blog?

Dawn

Avatar

Brain Pundits · September 12, 2018 at 6:55 am

Hey Dawn,

With all the research and R&D we have done on our on about the SEO. One thing is certain is that longer the content better the performance.

Avatar

Bhawna Kaushik · September 12, 2018 at 4:08 am

Hey Dawn,

Share-worthy article. People often get tired of thinking/writing such long post but the thing they are missing is that readers love detailed things. If your content is providing value and solving the problem you will surely crack the mark.
Once again great article. Looking forward to reading more from you.

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Moss Clement · September 11, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Hi Dawn,
So glad to have you here on Moss Media. Your article is amazing, with great tips on how to create long-form content. Thank you so much for your contribution!

    Avatar

    Dawn Mentzer · September 12, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your community here, Moss!

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seo agency websites in delhi · September 10, 2018 at 11:59 am

Amazing blog you have shared. I read it and get knowledge deeply. I learn so much new thing from here.

    Avatar

    Dawn Mentzer · September 11, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you! I’m glad you found it interesting. Have a wonderful day!

    Dawn

    Avatar

    Dawn Mentzer · September 11, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you! I’m glad you found it interesting. Have a great day!

Avatar

Praveen Verma · September 8, 2018 at 8:32 am

Hi
Dawn,
Happy to read this post. Long-form content have the capability to solve the reader’s problem because this type of content usually loaded with in-depth information. Long-form content affects SEO and it ranks well in search engines. To write long form of content, it is very necessary to know about your target audience and their needs.

Keyword research plays an important role in content creation task. Doing keyword research properly is very crucial before writing a blog post. Your tips will be very helpful in creating a compelling and Long-form content.

Thanks for this informative post.

Have a great day.
Praveen Verma

    Avatar

    Dawn Mentzer · September 11, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you for your insight, Praveen!

    I completely agree with you on how important it is to understand your target audience’s pain points and needs. Keyword research, as you said, is essential before writing long-form content…and what you mentioned about knowing your audience must come first to ensure you’re identifying the most effective long-tail keywords.

    Thanks again for your comment, and have a super day!

    Dawn

Avatar

Tarique Amir · September 8, 2018 at 7:12 am

Hi Dawn,

You have shared a very detailed and informative post. Content is the king and it is very important to write good quality content which provides some kind of solution to your target audience. Once your visitors finds value in your content, they will come for more.

Thanks for sharing, have a great weekend. 🙂

    Avatar

    Dawn Mentzer · September 11, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Tarique!

    Thank you for your kind comment!

    You are spot on about the power that good-quality content wields. It builds authority, trust, and a brand’s reputation.

    I hope your week is off to a great start!

    Dawn

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Ryan Biddulph · September 7, 2018 at 9:38 pm

Fab post Dawn! Getting your outline down pat is key. I wrote some whopper-sized posts over the years by simply setting up an outline first, detailing 5 or 10 steps or tips. Then I fill in the tips, beefing the sucker up. Rocking tips, rocking post 😉

Ryan

    Avatar

    Dawn Mentzer · September 11, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks, Ryan! You’re very kind!

    I agree 100 percent — the outline is SO critical when writing those gargantuan articles. It sounds like you have a great system down!

    Have a fabulous week!

    Dawn

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Lisa Sicard · September 7, 2018 at 8:57 pm

Hi Dawn, nice to see you at Moss’s place. I didn’t realize the keyword should be in the first 100 words though I do use in the first paragraph as directed by Yoast SEO. How many times do you recommend it there?
I barely get to 3,000 but it’s on my bucket list and I understand why we need it!
Thank you and I hope you both have a great weekend!

    Avatar

    Dawn Mentzer · September 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Nice to meet you, Lisa!

    It depends on the subject matter, but I will usually use the focus keyword just once or twice in the first paragraph so that it doesn’t sound like I’m stuffing keywords. 3,000 words is a lot! I don’t hit that too often either, and most of my SEO-focused clients want articles between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Many still request posts in the 600 – 800-word range, though, because that has been working for well for them.

    Thanks for introducing yourself! Have a wonderful week!

    Dawn

Why Your SEO Content Strategy Is Failing (and How to Fix It) - Moss Media · January 18, 2019 at 2:42 pm

[…] creating long-form content is easy once you know how. The important bit is identifying topics and questions that interest your […]

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