How to write Long Form Content

How to write Long Form Content

What Is Long-Form Content and Why Does It Work?

Ask two content marketers about How to write Long Form Content  and you’ll likely get two completely different responses. The first might say that long-form content is a gamble, given audiences’ supposedly miniscule attention spans. The other might say that producing longer articles is an excellent way to engage with readers and offer them genuine value and a rewarding experience.

Which of these content marketers is right? Yep, you guessed it – the long-form content evangelist. In this post, you’ll learn:

  • What Is Long-Form Content?
  • Why Does Long-Form Content Work?
  • 5 Long-Form Content Examples

How to write Long Form Content?

It might seem obvious, but there are many different definitions of what long-form content truly is. Some people consider articles longer than 700 words to be long-form, whereas others think that articles have to be in excess of 1,800 words to be considered long-form. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that long-form content refers to articles of around 1,200 words or longer.

Despite what some content marketers might think, many readers crave meatier articles – and publishers are delivering. For instance, business news site Quartz refuses to publish articles in the typically news-friendly 500-800 word range, because Kevin Delaney, Quartz’s Editor-in-Chief, believes that too many sites adhere religiously to this format. Delaney even developed a model (known as the Quartz Curve) based on article length that forms the basis of the publication’s approach to content:

How to write Long Form Content

How to write Long Form Content for Search Engine Optimization

We used to be skeptics, too. Our average piece of content was around 1,000 words or fewer. We focused heavily on SEO, including keyword optimization. The only problem with this strategy? We were getting a lot of search traffic, but not a lot of return traffic, direct traffic, or brand searches, and our user engagement metrics – stuff like bounce rate and time on site – were pretty low.

So we switched up our tactics a bit and started incorporating more long-form articles into our content strategy. The goal was to increase user engagement – and it worked extraordinarily well.

Long-form content isn’t just rewarded by the search engines – it also resonates with readers.

Blog platform Medium compiled data on its most successful articles by measuring the average time on page in relation to post length and the amount of time it takes the average reader to finish the post. Based on this data, the ideal blog post takes seven minutes to read and is around 1,600 words long :

How to write Long Form Content

Content length can also be determined by the subject matter. Marketing blog ViperChill put together some data on the average word length of a random sampling of blog posts categorized by industry, which makes for interesting reading:

How to write Long Form Content

5 Examples of Excellent Long-Form Content

So, now we’re (roughly) on the same page, let’s dive into what great long-form content looks like. Most of the frequently cited long-form content out there tends to be journalism (think the image-rich features you can see in The New York Times), but these examples show how brands and marketers can use this type of content to their advantage, generating traffic, leads, and brand value.

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