It’s the harsh reality of online publications and social media that long-form content is frowned upon and short and flashy pieces take the spotlight instead. In the times that we live in where everything needs to be fast and the readers’ attention is short and must be drawn to something shiny immediately, longer written pieces have taken a step back. It’s not because long-form content no longer drives results, on the contrary. It’s because the media industry and society have caught us in a hamster wheel of speed and lightning-fast information.
This is a pity because long-form content, while obviously quite a bit more difficult to create and handle, can do wonders for your website. You can definitely keep both styles of content fresh and qualitative, even if it takes a lot of time and hard work. However, longer pieces can contribute to the notoriety of your websites in ways that short and visual-based content might not. Long articles will add incredible value to your portal, will drive a lot of traffic to it, will generate brand awareness, and lastly, will help build your credibility and reputation.
In fact, recent surveys have shown that the most effective style of link building is report-like content in long-form. Interactive pieces came second. Therefore, we can safely argue that long-form content can still work extremely well if done right. Here are a few more interesting reasons why this particular type of content can do wonders for your website.
Search engines love long-form content
Search engines like Google find it very easy to read and understand long-form content because it is so rich when it comes to actual copy. In comparison, search engines have issues analyzing visually-focused content or other types of content that don’t contain too much copy because they cannot interpret those as human-made.
This means that while your website can look incredible and provide useful information, Google might not help it too much when it comes to ranking. No matter how visually-stunning your content is, not many people might see it. This brings about damage to your whole website because it has content that search engines do not recognize. In comparison, long-form content helps your website reach more people organically.
It’s easier to use keywords
Writing long-form content also means being able to integrate numerous keywords naturally. In turn, this move will help your content rank high for longer periods thanks to the organic nature of the keywords and topics in it. Researching keywords should still very much be a part of your content creation strategy, even if most SEO rules are not what they once used to be. Also, simply adding keyword after keyword without making it sound natural just for the sake of ranking high doesn’t work either.
This is probably one of the biggest differences between short- and long-form content. The latter offers you the possibility to expand on a certain topic and therefore include relevant keywords that will help your article and your website.
Longer written pieces also offer search engines the possibility to offer readers certain parts of articles that are of high interest. This also means that longer searches like “what is the best place to travel in 2022” can lead to search results like:
It’s easy-to-understand, straight to the point, and offers you exactly what you searched for. This is due to the fact that this is a long-form article that expanded on this topic. It’s interesting to observe how even the smallest details that are present in an article can lead to incredibly useful search results, just like this one.
Long-form content can act as reference material
Not many people think about this advantage of long-form content but this type of article can draw a lot of links and can be used as a reference from other websites. If you have the type of written content that includes fresh information, charts, and data in general, chances are that journalists in this niche will use it as a source.
This is a winning solution regardless of the angle you’re looking at it from. It will not only make your content known to more people but will also increase your website’s notoriety. It could also add members to your audience that will return to your content for new info.
This type of content can be subject to updates and stay relevant
Long-form content has another incredible advantage: it can quickly become evergreen. Lists of things are the easiest to create with this strategy in mind because you can update them year after year, even month after month. For example, the website called theBump updates its list of most popular baby names every year, like so:
This doesn’t only help them stay relevant year after year on a topic that is always of interest but it increases their notoriety too. If you look closely, the writers have even mentioned when the article has been updated. This adds to the transparency and increases the trust that the readers have in their info. Moreover, the URL link that the website has chosen DOESN’T include any date at all. This allows them to update the list whenever they want and it will still be an evergreen that remains relevant.
How to do long-form content the right way
We have already seen some of the most important reasons why long-form content can work so well for your website. Now it’s time to add to this topic and talk about how you can do it the right way.
The first and most important step in the creation of any written piece is to come up with topic ideas that will attract views and be useful. Think about what your audience wants to read about. Then see if you have the knowledge to offer them that specific information. If you think that you don’t, then heavy research is your friend. Also, avoid topics that are completely out of your expertise. Otherwise, people will notice something strange and you won’t be credible.
Find the execution that fits your idea
We are, of course, talking about long-form content. However, there are instances where this approach might not suit the idea that you want to talk about. This is why it’s useful to come up with the topic before framing it into an article of X words or a visual piece. Unknowingly, you might be reducing the value of your piece by either limiting or diluting it where it’s not necessary to do so. Be very careful about this part of your content creation process.
Research what has already been done
Writing about something that has already been done only works if you look at that particular situation from a completely different angle. It also works if you add value to the information that has already been presented. This is why researching what is already out there helps when writing long-form content and any type of content for that matter.
This type of research also helps you find out what people are interested in at a certain moment. See what the first results are and try to fit your content in there while adding value and being relevant. You should also think about whether or not you are capable of delivering written pieces that are even better than what is already out there. Mediocrity should never have a place at the table of qualitative long-from content writing.
See if you are able to produce the content you want to
There might be cases when the idea in your head might not match the resources at hand. Assess your brand’s situation and see whether or not creating high-quality long-form content is possible. If you lack certain resources, there is nothing wrong with looking outside and finding help there. Nothing is stopping you from hiring collaborators like copywriters, designers, editors, etc.
However, there is a catch here and something that not many brands like to admit. In order to be able to take these decisions, you need to be fully honest with your capabilities. Make all the efforts to assess your team’s skills truthfully and don’t fear to admit that you might need help. After all, this is a great opportunity for growth and the result, if qualitative enough, will make your brand stand out from the crowd.
All in all, long-form content is not only extremely valuable but is also a process that you must go through in order to learn and grow. The reasons why it is still working extremely well are many, as we have seen. Also, actually crafting this type of content, while being difficult and time-consuming, is possibly one of the most rewarding experiences that a brand or a website can have. It doesn’t only drive palpable results. It also fulfills you and gives you wings that you can develop and do it again and again until you become an authority if that is what you want.