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.
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:
- Higher search visibility
- Increase social media shares
- Improve conversion rate
- Quality link building opportunity
- Better search rankings
- Credible website authority
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.
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 ContentLong 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
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:
- Moz’s SERP analysis tool
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
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)
Main point 1 — Kitchen design tips (h2)
- Kitchen counters
- Kitchen cabinets
- My kitchen flooring
- Lighting for the Kitchen
- My kitchen appliances
Main point 2 — Living room design tips (h2)
- 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
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.
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.
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
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.