You have heard that long form content is the best type of written content for SEO. This is true. However, you have to get it right. Not every topic warrants a long form article. And, even if you have an adequate copy, the way you execute long form content writing may compromise the final result.
Therefore, we decided to prepare a definite guide on how to create long form content. This article contains all the best practices you should follow, as well as helpful advice if you are just beginning to create content for your business.
What Are the Benefits of Posting Long Form Content on Your Site?
Let us start with a definition. Long form content is any article that has at least 1,000 words. Some SEO specialists say that you should have at least 2,000 words, but this is only for some highly specialised niches. As a general rule, if you have around 1,200 – 1,500 words, you have a long form content piece.
This type of written content has several benefits:
- You can promote several keywords and avoid keyword stuffing
- You can offer detailed and helpful information on a topic of interest
- You can demonstrate your expertise in your line of business
- You can create a valuable source of information and earn backlinks.
Now, let us focus on the ins and outs of long form content creation.
How to Create Effective Long Form Content
These are the steps of crafting long form articles, starting with the very basics.
1. What Is the Purpose of Your Content?
Before you start looking for a topic for long form content, think of the average readers. They would need around 10-15 minutes to read the entire piece. By contrast, in the last 7 years, people’s average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8.25 seconds.
Thus, you really must give them a good reason to keep reading your content. So, before you start writing, ask yourself:
- Who would read this article from start to finish?
- What kind of problem does this content piece solve?
- How does this piece fit in with my brand’s general content strategy?
If you can’t find a valid answer to any of these questions, then you must keep looking for another topic.
2. Identify a Topic that Can Be Covered in a Long Form Article
Next, you must assess whether the topic you selected makes a good fit for long form content. The idea is simple: if you feel like adding fluff just to make the word count, then you should stick to a short form article.
Here is an example: you can write around 600 -700 words on the new quantum computer announced by IBM. If you want to create a long form article, you must integrate this information into a larger topic concerning the evolution of supercomputers.
Also, since writing long form content involves some effort, you should choose evergreen topics. You don’t want your articles to become irrelevant in six months or one year.
3. Find the Best Format for Your Long Form Article
We say long form article, but there are so many different ways of creating long form content. Here are just a few simple examples:
- Case studies
- Questions and answers
- White papers (a more academic approach, reserved for specialised topics)
- Statistical analysis (evolution of the market, consumer demand, etc.)
In some cases, you may find out that you can break your long form article into a series of shorter pieces following the hub-and-spokes format. If it feels more natural to do it, don’t hesitate. Google prefers this type of content organising, as well.
4. Add All the Relevant Details
When writing shorter pieces, you know that you must sift through the available information on the topic and select just the critical elements. With long form content, this restriction is no longer valid. You can go as in-depth as you want (as long as it is relevant, well written and not boring the reader).
This is, basically, the purpose of long form content. The readers who are interested to learn everything about a topic choose this kind of content. Those who just want to get a general idea will opt for shorter articles.
5. Add Multimedia to Your Long Form Content
You should break your long form articles with images, charts, a short infographic or any other type of visual. It provides a much needed break to the reader’s mind, as well as the opportunity to reinforce what they’ve already learned.
Some brands insert a YouTube video from their channel or several podcasts dealing with the same topic. It is a great way of promoting your other communication channels to your audience – if you use them, of course.
6. Add Internal and Outbound Links
Long form content can help you promote products and services on your site. At the same time, whenever you make statements and claims from other sources, you should link back to them.
There is no problem with having both types of links, because you have plenty of space for them. The finished article will not look overstuffed with anchor text.
7. Find the Channel for Distributing Your Long Form Content
Since it takes a significant time to prepare and create, long form content must be shared judiciously. You must reap the maximum benefits from it. This is why your blog is not always the best place to share long form content.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- You can use long form content as a lead magnet
- You can approach guest blog platforms and propose the topic
- You can even keep the content gated behind a login page for registered users.
8. Repurpose Long Form Content for Different Channels
Starting from your long form article, you can create various types of content to share on other channels:
- An infographic for Facebook
- A presentation for SlideShare or LinkedIn
- A short video for YouTube
- A Twitter thread quoting the most important points.
Each of these new types of content would link back to the article for those who are curious to find out everything.
9. Keep Updating Your Long Form Content
Long form articles should cover evergreen topics, as we mentioned above. But this does not mean that you should not revisit them and add any new information available. This will make them even more attractive both for new readers and old subscribers. Both will appreciate your dedication to keep them informed of the latest developments relate to that specific topic.
Long form content has its role in your content strategy. However, you must find the right topic, the purpose and the manner of crafting long form articles to keep the readers engaged until the end. Never try to blow up a standard article to long form, if its topic can be completely dealt with in 500-600 words. And once you’ve made this effort, make the most of each long form piece you created though smart promotion and repurposing.