You may have heard of the popular belief that long-form content, being long, is not too effective. And people, having a short attention span, most find it boring. Well, in reality, that is not the case. The reason why people find some long-form content boring could be that it might simply be boring, not because it’s comprehensive. Today we are going to discuss the 7 best practices for creating long-form content.
As for the effectiveness, undoubtedly short and sweet content grabs attention quickly, but long-form content gives you more room to be creative and informative. Moreover, you can gather better traction through juicier and more interesting content. And long-form content actually works, especially in the content creation industry, where you need to engage the readers.
What Is Long-Form Content?
Long-form content is described as content that delivers detailed information on a given topic. The length of the content varies for it to qualify as long-form. But, by and large, any web content which is more than 2,000 words can be called so. This could be a travel blog post, infographic, whitepaper, tutorial guide, ebook, etc.
However, to believe that all types of long-form content would be bland because they are lengthy and wordy is an unjust perception.
The problem is not lengthy pieces of information or long block of texts, but how you write them or get them written. This piece will discuss the best practices you should keep in mind while creating successful and engaging long-form content.
1. Know Your Goals
The very first thing you should be sure of is what you want to achieve with your long-form content. Are you looking to capture more leads? Or is it backlinks that you want to generate to your website? Or you might be looking for more shares on social media platforms.
Your goal will decide the format you should use for your long-form content. As mentioned earlier, there are several types of long-form content – from simple blog posts to full-fledged case studies. Each of these types will help you achieve a different set of goals.
For example, according to statistics, infographics and listicles attract more social media shares. Meanwhile, another study shows that whitepapers and ebooks help most with lead generation. So, it is crucial to know your goals before you start creating your content. Do thorough research to understand which format/s will serve your goals the best!
2. Find The Right Keywords
You cannot just be rambling about stuff without deciding on a couple of keywords. After all, you need to stay relevant and accessible. Without keywords, people will not be able to find you, no matter how good your long-form content is.
Keywords are a vital part of a good SEO strategy, and they help gather organic traffic for your content. To find the right keywords, you need to know about the most trending topics, especially the ones your competitors are talking about, helping them earn better search engine ranking. The easiest way to start is Google Search. As you begin typing, the autocomplete feature will give you an idea of what people have been searching for.
For a proper keywords analysis, tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs give you metrics about your competitors’ SEO activities. For insights on keyword trends and competition, Ubersuggest gives you useful information on what keywords to use for a successful content marketing campaign.
3. Start Writing!
Now that you have the relevant keywords, it’s time to write. Breaking down your writing journey into the following steps will make things easy:
Create An Outline:
To create an outline, you have to gather all your research before you. Then, you need to make an outline of everything you want to write in your, let’s say, case study. An outline will help you sort out the disorganized pile of information into meaningful data to help you stay on track.
Produce Your First Draft:
Keeping in view the outline you have just created, start writing your first draft. As it’s just a draft, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes. You can edit all that later after the whole post is complete.
Watch Your Tone:
Deciding a tone for your long-form content really depends on its type. While you can go for a more expert and formal tone in a case study, a tutorial can maintain a conversational and friendly mood. Just be sure to keep a consistent style throughout the content.
Come Up With A Clever Headline:
Now that you have the first draft, thinking of a catchy headline will be easier. Go for something unique and incorporate power words into your headline to make it more appealing.
4. Sort Out Your Content
Sorting out your long-form content and organizing it helps the reader scan through it quickly. You don’t think everyone will read the entire content from start to end, do you? Surely, some people will, but not all of them.
So, you can keep it comprehensive for those dedicated audiences, but for others, you have to make it easy to skim through. For starters, create a table of content. Link each part to its corresponding section. This way, people can quickly jump to the area they want to read instead of scrolling through the entire document to locate what they desire.
Next, you can arrange your content in bullets points, headings, sub-headings, comparisons, etc. Doing so, you can help those quick scanners get the gist of your long-form content without scaring them away with huge blocks of never-ending text!
5. Add Visual Assets
After sorting out your long-form content, it may seem less lengthy, but something still feels to be missing. What makes long-form content or any form of content more desirable and attractive are images and visual assets. You can use original photos or purchase images online from reliable websites to make your long-form content more appealing.
While original images are the best option, they might not be the most affordable. Whereas stock photos are relatively cheap and come in handy when you need a quick supply of versatile photos. Following are some of the best stock image websites to get your hands on the most brilliant vectors, illustrations, and photos:
Using visual content in your long-form content breaks down the ever-ending text loop and helps clarify your point. Whatever topic you are writing on, you are sure to find relevant images on these photo websites.
6. Make It Shareable
Another great practice while creating long-form content is adding information that people find worth passing on. People might read your long-form content or scan through it, but they might not want to share the entire piece on their social media. You can add the following rich media to increase the chances of your content being shared.
- Charts and tables
- Statistics and graphs
- Click-to-tweet images
- Downloadable media like PDFs
This will also help generate more backlinks for your content, ultimately improving your SEO rankings.
7. Add A Catchy CTA
What good would be your long-form content if it does not engage the readers and push them to take action? Your call-to-action should be catchy, but it should also tell readers what you specifically want them to do.
If you want them to add their opinion, a CTA saying “Let us know what you think in the comment section” should suffice. But if you want them to download something, a simple but obvious download icon should serve the purpose.
Creating long-form content is a daunting task, and it requires a lot of effort. So, it is crucial that you put that effort into the right areas for your hard work to be fruitful. For example, instead of jumping straight to writing an eBook, you should put some effort into knowing your goals first to be certain that indeed an eBook will serve your business goals.
With these tips in mind, you can stay on track and produce high-quality long-form content that will resonate with your audiences.