If you bring up the topic of short form and long form content to a group of marketers, you’ll quickly discover two opposing camps. There are those who will swear short form content wins attention spans, and those who insist that long form content is the ultimate heavy-weight champ. While we wouldn’t dare attempt to declare a winner in this debate, we’ll be going over the pros and cons of long form content, and how you can make it work to your advantage.
So, what exactly is long form content and why should you consider incorporating it into your content marketing strategy?
What Is Long Form Content?
Long form content is an in-depth article or blog that is between 1,000 – 7,500 words long (HubSpot). It’s by no means a short read, but it allows you to dive deep and provide thorough coverage of a specific topic. This is one of the biggest advantages of long form content, as it gives you a chance to prove your chops and provide highly motivated readers with a ton of value.
Long form content should be robust, well-informed, and professionally written. If you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation, we’ve written another article about long form content here.
The Pros Of Long Form Content
We’ve already stated that one of the biggest advantages of long form content is the real estate to really go deep into a particular topic, but there are many ways it can also benefit your SEO.
Easy To Crawl
While a 1,000+ word article may not sound “easy” to you, search engines love it! Long form written content is very easy for crawlers to understand, as opposed to more complex content such as data visualizations or interactive infographics (Moz). So, all that juicy information you packed in? That all gets to be stored and ranked in the search engine indexes. The more high-quality information you provide, the higher likelihood of showing up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Ranks For Multiple Keywords
Unlike short form content, long form content allows you to rank for more keywords. Now, this doesn’t mean you should be using all that extra space to keyword stuff! Use your headlines wisely to expand on subtopics that are related to your main topic. This allows you to target keywords across an entire topic to expand your ranking potential and audience.
Remember to write for content first and optimize for SEO later. Readers can always tell which posts are written to be informative, and which are written for keywords. Don’t make this mistake and lose the trust of your readers!
Long form content helps to build authority, and we mean that in two ways. Content that is easy to crawl and ranks for multiple keywords can help generate more web traffic. The more traffic a website gets, the more authority Google considers it to have, and the higher it ranks in search results. But Google isn’t the only one that gives this kind of content authority…
When you provide in-depth knowledge on a topic, you are establishing yourself as a thought leader within your industry. This marks you as a valuable resource and builds trust among your readers (Neil Patel). Not only does it show that you know your stuff, but it keeps web visitors coming back for more.
Long form content makes great reference material, and having your content referenced is great for building links and increasing traffic to your website. If your content is valuable and ranks well, you have a higher chance of it being linked by third-party websites. Writers, bloggers, and journalists are constantly searching for sources to reference in what they write. If your content ranks highly enough in the SERPs, you might be the source they use!
Builds Brand Awareness
Growing your site authority and becoming a thought leader in your industry is invaluable for building brand awareness. Users may see you referenced in another article and visit your website to learn more about the topic you’re an expert in. Great content is also great for sharing, which makes social media another avenue where users can find you. Cap this off with some well-placed CTAs to drive your conversion rate.
Plan your long form content to be evergreen, that way it can continue providing value for years to come. This type of content is very easy to update and re-release, so those hours you spent writing and making it perfect will pay dividends with every future share and re-publication.
The Cons Of Long Form Content
The biggest, and perhaps the only real con of long form content is the most obvious one. It’s long. In an increasingly saturated digital landscape, users don’t always have the attention span to comb through thousands of words. After all, we come to the internet for short and simple answers, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Enter the biggest debate among content marketers.
Regardless of where you sit in this divide, we can address the biggest con of long form content while still reaping all the benefits. Breaking up your information with headers, bullet points, images, and video is a great way to make a hefty wall of text more approachable. Keep reading below for our tips on writing long form content that is informative, enjoyable, and killer for your SEO strategy.
Tips For Writing Long Form Content
We think it’s pretty clear that the above benefits of long form content outweigh the cons… or con, singular. So now that you’re pumped to write some in-depth posts, how do you get started?
Determine Your Topic
You want to become a thought leader in your industry, right? So naturally, it makes sense that your topic should be relevant to your business. Depending on the size and complexity of your field, that might still not be enough to narrow it down. Instead, begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do you have credibility to write about?
Do you operate within a certain niche? Does your business have a lot of experience in something specific? Focus on the areas where you have expertise to provide the most value to your readers.
- What will resonate with your audience?
Do you get a lot of questions on a particular topic from customers? Are there any misconceptions about your industry or something you wish people were more aware of? Anticipate your readers needs and cater your content to them.
- What is the goal of your content?
While writing an awesome piece of content is its own reward, you need to ask yourself what you’re hoping readers will do after they’ve finished reading. Do you want them to spend more time on your website? Do you hope they will contact your business for a consultation? Write with this goal in mind, so that by the time readers have reached the end of the page you’re directing them to the next step.
Use Proper Formatting
No matter how amazing your content, nobody wants to read through a wall of text. Format your posts for an easy and enjoyable reading experience.
- Write in short paragraphs so that your content is easy to follow.
- Use headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to outline main ideas and make content scannable.
- “So what?” Keep each section concise, informative, and to the point.
- Stay organized by creating an outline and following it through.
- Write in a conversational style to keep readers engaged.
- Add visuals like graphs, images, and video to break up long sections of text.
Link Relevant Content
Long form content attracts readers that are highly motivated to expand their knowledge on a particular topic. Help them continue their education! Link related content you already have that will deepen their understanding and provide value.
For example, if you’re writing a post about lawn care and have another post about weeds, link to it! Not only is that content related to readers’ initial interest, but you’re also nudging them to stay on your website longer. The more value you provide web visitors, the more likely they are to come back, share your content, and potentially contact your business.
Your content won’t do anything for you if no one knows about it. Share new posts with your email lists, across social media profiles, and include sharing buttons on your website.
One of the best parts about long form content is that it can work as short form content too. Break it apart! Share an image or graphic as it relates to a certain section, use a pull-quote and link to the full piece. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll capture the attention of the goldfish as well as the scholar.
Does Your Content Need A Refresh?
Can’t shake the feeling that your website content could be doing more? Our team of experts are happy to help you with a content audit. Unlock your content’s full potential and boost your SEO in the process! Connect with our team today or call us toll-free at 1-888-262-6687.