In an age of short-attention spans, it’s easy for businesses to see long-form content production as counter-intuitive – and a waste of precious time and resources. But, in recent years, data and analytics have consistently shown this not to be the case.
It’s not a perfect science though – and there’s even some disagreement over how to define long-form content. While some would class it as anything over 1,000 words; others may argue it would have to exceed 2,500 to be considered a long format. What’s more: the industry you’re writing for, your target audience and the purpose of the piece all should have an effect on what’s being written.
One thing’s clear though; long-form works inherently provide greater freedom – and more opportunities to experiment with what works well for you. Ultimately, you should create long-form content because it’ll get you more of what you want: greater online visibility; more authority within your industry and more material to promote community engagement.
With that said; Here are 6 reasons why long-form content tends to perform better – and why it would be better practice for your business.
Long-form writing will typically outperform smaller, bite-sized blog posts as there are more opportunities to place appropriate keywords and tackle the given topic in greater depth.
The more relevant terms you can use throughout your piece; the more likely your pages are to come up as a hit for various searches. This doesn’t mean you should throw in as many keywords as you can though – the focus has still got to be on writing something of value for humans, not search engines.
A longer-format does, however, give you additional room to play around in. As a result, these relevant terms can be implemented in a more natural and beneficial way than trying to shoehorn them into a tight word count.
It’s true that short-form blogs can be great for grabbing your target audience’s attention with interesting snippets of information. With a longer format however, you’ll have space to actually educate visitors on a subject – and pre-emptively answer their queries.
This also allows for long-form posts to be a lot more comprehensive in their coverage. Since there’s a lot more freedom to them, lengthier posts can include information for both experts – and people who may be new to the subject. In this sense, a tight word-count can limit your ability to explain the topic effectively; and thereby put visitors off reading more of your pages.
As you regularly post long-form content like this, you’ll naturally begin to attract a community of like-minded readers to discuss it. It’s not an instant fix, but over time a longer format can help position you as an authority on industry-related topics – and a trusted source of quality information.
Building up this trust as a point of authority can benefit you in other ways too. If readers see your post as having genuine value in its content, they’ll be more likely to share it online. Naturally, this can lead to more enquiries – as they would be sharing it with other members of your target audience.
Posts unrestricted by tight word count also have more freedom in which to build this trust and authority. A longer length, means more opportunities to insert facts, figures or interviews to back yourself up and provide greater value.
Though it’s important to always write with a human focus in mind; a book – by famous advertiser David Ogilvy, sums it up perfectly when saying: “Long copy conveys the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy or not.”
One benefit of writing longer pieces – and positioning yourself as an authority, is the opportunity to generate more backlinks. Good long-form content writers conduct extra research, go more in-depth and make sure their final copy is high-quality.
Journalists and other bloggers often search for sources to reference when producing their own content. If yours is ranking well – it might just be the one they choose. Taking the time to craft a thorough deep-dive or extensive guide on a particular industry topic will make it more likely to become reference material; and more likely to get other pages linking to it.
Aside from increasing site traffic via external sources, a longer post will also have more opportunities for internal linking. It’s rather simple really; the more you’re able to organically link to other posts on your site – the more likely readers are to discover and engage with your other content.
Long-form content also serves as fantastic fodder for fuelling your online engagement and marketing strategy. Having a social media presence for your company on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn is a must to compete in the modern market. Without a campaign or something to promote on there however – how are your customers going to find it useful?
Blog posts can take the pressure off deciding what to put up on your socials. Actually, they can help form a massive part of your online marketing strategy. Posting regularly, and disseminating news of your posts through social media platforms, can get more shares and more potential customers viewing your site.
Research shows that long-form blog posts have historically outperformed their shorter counterparts on this metric as well. Longer pieces tend to get more social shares and as such, remain one of the best ways to draw in large audiences that will actively engage with the content.
Google doesn’t reward sites with a high bounce rate – where visitors only view one of your site pages before navigating away. With less in-depth content in your posts, site visitors are naturally going to spend less time reading through or engaging with them.
This, in turn, means they’ll be less likely to click on any related pages – as there may not be enough content there to spurn on their curiosity. So long as there’s genuine value in what’s written – and you’re getting your internal linking right; longer pieces will tend to see a reduced bounce rate.
Often, people have a concern that site visitors wouldn’t have the attention span to read through text-heavy blog posts. According to Pew Research however, readers using mobile devices spend twice as much time on articles over 1,000 words. While long and short-form may attract similar numbers, people would keep reading longer pieces instead of navigating away.
There are, however, ways to make long-form written content more readable and less daunting for your site visitors overall. Keeping paragraphs short – and separating them out with sub headers, will keep reading from getting monotonous.
Pictures, videos and bullet-style lists are all other great ways of breaking up text so it’s not such a slog. What’s more, for data heavy pieces, graphics can be used to present the given information in a more digestible way; thereby allowing you to keep the text simple and easy to understand.
One last benefit of producing lengthier content for your company’s blog is that it can regularly be updated and republished. If it’s planned well, and the topic’s evergreen, a post from last year could easily be updated with new statistics.
What’s more, if something you’ve previously published suddenly becomes newsworthy again – you can take advantage of this by reposting it. So long as there’s no date to it, you can simply rework existing pages without needing to make new ones. This builds your page’s strength over time as it consolidates all of its historical shares, links and organic search rankings into a single page.
Long-form posts, with a higher text content, will be easier to update than more sparse, smaller posts – and a lot easier to update than audio or visual posts.
Here at Seven Hills Creative, we understand the importance of creating long-form content and what it can do for your business.
Leave it to us: With years of digital marketing experience behind us, why not get in touch and see how we could help produce regular content for your blog – or improve any other aspect of your online presence, today.