Ask a number of content marketers about long-form content, and you are likely to get two different answers. Some will say that longer articles are a gamble, given the audience’s assumed little attention spans. Others will say that posting longer content is a great way to engage with readers and give them a rewarding experience.
But which group of marketers is right? If you guessed the latter, you are correct. Long content is king, and in this read, we shall see why.
What is Long-form Content?
What makes up long-form content can be a little hard to define. There has been an ongoing debate on what can be referred to a long, in-depth post. What would be called ‘long-form content’ 6 years ago barely qualifies for a long article today.
However, by large, we mean a piece that is longer than 1,800 words in length. If we take the publishing terminology route, long-form content falls in the definition of a short story (usually under 7,000 words) and a short novel (generally under 17,000 words) in length.
Well, creating a 4,000-word article obviously requires more work than churning out 400-word blog posts, and this brings us to the question: is long-form content really worth it? Let us find out.
The Benefits of Long-Form Content
More Suitable Content
Most online marketers argue that long-form content is more costly than investing in short form content and they would not be wrong. However, longer articles achieve a sustainability that its shorter counterpart cannot. For example, if you type ‘What is SEO’ on Google, the first result you’ll get is from Search Engine Land. Not because it is the most recent source, but because the site has the most authority in the niche.
Improves Search Engine Optimization
Creating long-form content presents a greater chance to incorporate keywords that will help your website rank on the search engines. Google likes it not only when you use your primary keywords, but also when you include other terms that are related to your initial subject. In addition, visitors are more likely to spend more time on your website, which search engines factor in when it comes to ranking.
More Brand Authority
Posting a comprehensive post that tackles a particular topic in-depth marks you as a thought leader in the field. It not only generates more traffic and attracts individuals looking to know more about a subject, but it will also remain as an ideal source of information for many years to come. Evergreen content, as it is also called, portrays your grasp on a topic and presents your brand or company in its best light. Instead of being seen as a shallow brand that’s mainly interested in making a profit, long-form content gives you the opportunity to give long-lasting value to your audience. This will, in turn, reward you with brand loyalty.
Social Media Success
Kevin Delaney, the co-founder, and editor of Quartz suggests that marketers should post either short, interesting articles that are less than 500 words or long, in-depth pieces that are at least 1,200 words for the best social media performance. He says that most brands publish articles within the 500-800 range and pieces that really stand out avoid this cliché. Long comprehensive pieces get more hits, generate more shares in the social media and drive more traffic than shorter ones.
Contrary to the popular marketing belief, longer content is actually a powerful tool that companies can use to earn consumer’s respect, boost credibility and achieve more from content marketing campaigns. We are in a day and age where the internet is saturated with content and website owners are continually looking for ways to stand out from the rest. Well, the best way to make a positive impact is to prove to your potential and current consumers that your website is a reliable source of relevant and informative information.
The primary takeaway here is to give value to your audience with long-form content. Do not just put more words or fluff an article expecting to see returns. One of the reasons long-form content works is because it provides value to your readers over and over again. Your primary goal with content marketing is to provide value, regardless of the length of the pieces.
Reduced Costs for Inbound Marketing
Publishing longer articles may feel like a huge money and time investment, but the returns are certainly worth it. Incorporating long-form content into your inbound marketing efforts saves you money in the long haul. According to HubSpot, businesses can save around $20K a year by investing in inbound marketing. Long evergreen content makes your brand stand out from the competition and generates leads for a longer period, thus maximizing the potential ROI.
Tips for Creating Long-form Content that Will Rank on the Search Engines
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating long-form content is to pick a topic that not only lends itself a highly detailed, in-depth discussion but is also interesting. Writing a long article that’s mostly filler will not be as effective as a valuable and interesting piece, and could even hamper your SEO efforts if it increases the bounce rate.
Once you have picked a subject, try and make it as interesting as possible. Do not be hesitant to link to other authoritative sites that support your points. While it is true that search engine optimization is constantly changing, brands that are willing to provide genuine value to their audience will always have a way to generate traffic.
Here are some excellent ways to create long-form content:
These are an excellent way to showcase your expertise and usually require a lot of content and writing to pull off properly. This is a great opportunity to show your authority as an expert and can offer colossal SEO value.
Forecasts and Predictions
Predicting your niche is an excellent way to create long-form content. This is something that should not be too hard to do, but only if you can freely write about what you wish.
Many individuals like to know what experts do to be so successful. You can try and reach out to experts and find out their two cents on a subject you want to address. In most cases, they can do most of the work for you.
Case Studies and Stories
Case studies and personal stories tend to show how things work. Hypothetical examples can be effective, but real life stories go a long way when explaining something.
Short blog posts will always have a place in brand marketing and development. However, companies that overlook long-form content are certainly losing the numerous benefits of longer articles. In today’s competitive online industry, long-form content is too great a resource to neglect.