We cannot stress the importance of having a clear content strategy that delivers outstanding results. Content marketing thrives on content. It typically includes creating different formats and lengths of content.
The length of the content depends on the purpose. In this article, we’ll talk about the long-form content format.
In this article you will learn:
– What is long-form content?
– Long-form V/S short-form content
– Why does long-form content work?
– How to plan and write long-form content for marketing?
– 3 examples of long-form content
What is long-form content?
Long-form content could mean different lengths to different people. Some consider long-form content to be more than 700 words and others consider it to be greater than 1500 words. But, if you ask us, for any content to be considered long-form, it has to be about 1000 words or more.
The purpose of long-form content is to provide value to the reader. It helps in increasing the session duration by keeping the audience on-site. Moreover, it further guides them towards the call to action (CTA) and compels them to click through.
Difference between long-form and short-form content
Short-form content is snackable content that provides instant answers to queries. For instance, it can be a quick definition or an explanation of something in a few lines or short paragraphs. It’s usually less than 1000 words and written with the intent to be easily skimmed. Some examples of short-form content are listicles, blogs, infographics, etc.
Long-form content is a full-fledged meal and outperforms short-form content. Here are the statistics to prove the claim:
1. Long-form content between 2250 – 2500 words earns the most organic traffic
2. Articles over 2500 words earn the most backlinks
3. Long-form content gets more shares on social than short-form content
4. Long-form articles generate 7x more leads than short-form blogs
5. One of the top content formats preferred by B2B buyers to make purchase decisions is long-form content
6. The conversion rate of long-form content is higher than that of short-form content
7. Long-form content ranks better on search engines because of the depth and context it provides
Why does long-form content work?
66% of organizations in the B2B segment have realized the potential of content marketing and are planning to increase their budget in 2022. They are also looking for ways to improve the ROI from it.
Businesses can make the most out of their content marketing through long-form content. And, here are three solid reasons why long-form content works:
1. Long-form content results in higher search rankings
According to the joint research conducted by Ahrefs and Backlinko, the average length of the content that ranked in the top 10 search engine results was over 1447 words.
It is because long-form content provides ample space to sprinkle long-tail keywords and relevant search terms, which organically result in meeting the search intent of the user and increase traffic.
In fact, long-form content gets 77.2% more backlinks than short-form articles. But this doesn’t mean that you stuff words to make the article lengthier. Only quality content optimized for SEO performs well.
2. Increased time on site
In-depth content that educates audiences transcribes to increased time on site. Increased time on site is called dwell time in SEO language. And, higher the dwell time, the higher the chances the audience will click through the CTA.
Usually, individuals search for solutions to their problems. And if your content has the solution they’re looking for, then they might stay on your site. With increased dwell time, you also get the chance to win the trust of your audience.
And, to increase dwell time, make sure of the following:
– Improve the readability of the content
– Use short paragraphs and bullet points
– Include relevant CTA multiple times
3. Can be easily repurposed
Creating consistent content can be overwhelming at times. Besides, there’s an audience segment that prefers more snackable content. That’s where long-form content comes to rescue.
Long-form content can be easily repurposed into bite-sized articles, ebooks, social media captions, quotes, videos, etc. This makes it easy to create short-form content and consume while boosting audience engagement.
How to plan and write long-form content for marketing?
Long-form content is a type of content that is typically longer than 1,000 words. It can be an article, a blog post or a book.
It sounds intimidating to even think about writing long-form content because of the research, time, and effort it takes. So, we have compiled 8 tips to make your long-form content creation easier:
1. Know your audience and what they want to read about
It is for the audience that we create content, and so, understanding their needs and wants will help you write better.
Writing long-form content requires plenty of time and research compared to short-form content like social media posts, blogs, etc. And if you create content without knowing anything about the audience, then the content you’ve worked hard on serves no purpose.
There are many ways to learn about your audiences, such as surveys, interviews, and social media research. Pay attention to the feedback from people on your content and make adjustments if needed.
Let’s take this article as an example. The target audience for this article is someone like you, looking to learn or improve writing long-form content. Keeping that in mind, we’ve created a complete guide for you to refer to and take away all the necessary tips and resources you’ll need to write long-form content.
Hence, think about your audience and what they want to read about, then craft your content around that idea.
2. Choose a topic to create long-form content around
Choosing a topic doesn’t mean picking a subject randomly and writing about it. The topic has to serve your audience and impact your business goals, directly or indirectly.
Let’s take HubSpot for example. It is a cloud-based inbound marketing and sales software. At HubSpot, they create long-form content on topics ranging from attracting the customer and generating leads, to closing sales – basically everything that comes under marketing and sales.
They even help their audience with free templates and guides – building audience trust which can lead to future sales. HubSpot strategically hits two birds with one stone – catering to audience needs and achieving business goals.
Choosing a topic to create long-form content is crucial for your business. Here’s how you can find one:
– Conduct keyword research
– Search queries on search engines
– Analyze your competitor’s best-performing content
– Analyze your best-performing content
– Create content around your audience’s needs
3. Hook the reader with an engaging introduction
You’ve worked day and night writing the perfect article and are proud of it. You want to share the amazing masterpiece with the world so you hit the publish button.
But even after days of publishing it, you hear crickets.
Ever been through this situation?
The problem here is not the content, it is the absence of the hook line. It depends upon the hook line whether your content performs or fails. The hook line has to convince the reader to keep reading further.
Here are a few ways to hook the audience to your content:
1. Ask a question
E.g: Does the thought of writing long-form content scare the shit out of you?
2. Be specific
E.g: You can write 2000-word long content in two days
3. Make them curious
E.g: This writer wrote a 3000-word long-form content in one day
In the online world, attention is considered more important than time. If your content attracts them today, it might as well sell tomorrow. After the headline, it’s the first line of the content that makes the reader keep going. So make sure you give more attention to it.
4. Keep a conversational tone throughout your piece
After achieving the goal of attracting your audience, the task is to keep them moving down the content. And for that, formal language isn’t going to be of any help.
Remember the times when it took a lot for us to read and comprehend our textbooks? Yes, don’t write like that unless you’re writing in the academics niche. Complicated language isn’t necessary to establish yourself as an expert.
Write in the way you explain things to a friend. Casual language always helps in understanding things quickly and easily.
5. Use subheadings and bullet points to break the text into smaller chunks
Headers guide readers throughout your content by breaking the topic into main sections while also making it easily skimmable.
Just like in this article, the title is in H1, the list sections that support the main idea under the title are in H2 and the subsections are in H3. All the writing tools like Google docs, WordPress, Word, etc. have this formatting.
Further breaking up the text into bullet points helps readers scan the content. Bullet points serve the following purpose in writing:
1. Improve readability
2. Convey the information effectively
3. Highlight important information
If your long-form content lacks headers and bullet points then it gets difficult for readers to navigate through your content. Also, when you create an outline for your long-form content, planning the headers and bullet points will guide you to write better content.
6. Make sure your content is well-formatted
Before hitting that publish button, go through your content once again and make sure your content is well-organized and formatted. The content has to have a beginning, middle, and end.
Just like in this article, we explained what long-form content is and why it works before hopping into giving tips to write. If this article wasn’t organized the way it is, it would be pretty confusing for you to understand.
To make it easy for the readers to navigate through your content, organize your content ideas and information before you start working on it.
7. Add visuals to break up long sections of text
Long-form content can get monotonous to read at times, making it difficult to draw the reader in. Breaking the content into headers and bullet points isn’t just the end. The content has to be eye-catching to gain audience engagement.
Now how do you do that?
By adding visuals.
Articles with images get 94% more views than articles without images. Now that you know, it’s time for you to spice up your articles with visuals. But, this doesn’t mean stuffing content with random images – you have to be more strategic.
Here’s how you can increase your content engagement by adding visuals:
1. Add images of real people relevant to the content
2. Combine images and text to boost viewer retention
3. Optimize your images to ensure quick loading
4. Add infographics wherever necessary
5. Add one image per 350 words
8. Ask yourself ‘so what?’ at each section
Long-form content already faces the problem of gripping the reader’s attention throughout. Sometimes, it tends to get longer and includes unnecessary information.
To avoid that, you need to make sure each paragraph is compelling enough for the readers to read ahead.
For that, you need to ask ‘so what?’ after every paragraph and check if it serves its purpose. If it doesn’t, then you know what to do – cut it out!
Clear and straight-to-the-point content always makes the reader care about your content and make the most out of it.
3 examples of long-form content
Now that we know everything about long-form content, let us see what long-form content looks like and understand why it works.
1. Complete guide to using Trello for B2B content marketing
Why does it work?
Vanhishikha transparently covers how Trello helps to plan, strategize and execute all aspects of her business. This article gets huge organic traffic because of in-depth topic coverage. She also discusses in detail, how other B2B businesses are using Trello for content marketing, in her unique style.
2. Email marketing metrics with Litmus
Why does it work?
In this article, Litmus leaves no stone unturned. It covers all the metrics to understand in email marketing. It helps the audience learn important email marketing metrics and how they can use them to drive results.
3. 131 catchy blog titles
Why does it work?
This article by Coschedule is targeted at an audience with specific search intent. And, it keeps its promise by explaining all the steps one has to take to get their content to perform better whilst increasing their session duration.
Long-form content is best suited for B2B businesses as the audience requires a lot of nurturing through educational content.
Short-form content, such as a quick blog or a social media caption is good for immediate results. But, to have top notch content marketing for the long-term, businesses need long-form content in their marketing strategy.
Reach out to us if you’re strategizing long-form content for your business.