Long-form blogging can pay off handsomely when you do it right. Give an audience that’s hungry for information a longer post to satisfy their search query, and discover the impact it makes to your digital marketing strategy.
Long-Form Blogging and Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Who doesn’t love a short and sweet blog post? They take less time to write, which means you can make more of them in the same time it takes to craft one long-form blog post. That’s super, but generally shorter content provides less information, which means it’s often considered less valuable by search engine algorithms.
Search engine algorithms are designed to create a SERP (search engine results page) based on which pages offer the most value for a particular search term. Stay succinct and avoid repeating yourself – it’s a surefire way to get readers to bounce if you’re saying the same thing over and over.
Adding information-rich long-form blog posts to your digital marketing strategy can enhance the marketing efforts you already have in place and position you favourably amongst competitors in the industry. A long-form blog post allows you to tell your audience something worthwhile and take the time to explain it with supportive information, giving them a well-rounded understanding on a topic rather than a surface-level explanation.
Our advice is always to write for your audience – they’re the ones that benefit from your expertise. Depending on your audience, you may want to explore other forms of long-form content including whitepapers, e-books, ultimate how-to guides, case studies, essay-style listicles, and more.
Just How Long is a Long-Form Blog?
Long-form blog content doesn’t adhere to a precise number of words, but at a minimum, a these posts should fall somewhere between 1,200 and 2,000 words. It seems like a lot, and we’re not going to lie, it takes a block of time to write long-form content. It’s time and effort well spent; being thorough gives you an advantage over competitors who stick to short-form posts.
Try not to get hung up on the word count, focus on providing value first. If you only have 600 words to write on a particular topic, don’t beef up the word count with fluff to reach 2,000 words. Search engines see right through that tactic.
On the flip side, sometimes long-form blog content is too long – it sounds absurd, but it’s true. Many people want an informative read that only takes a few minutes, rather than an entire novella on a subject. Many of the top SERP pages have only 1,500 to 2,000 words.
That’s not to say you should scrap a 10,000-word blog post. A tremendously long post may serve you better if it’s divided into four parts. You offer great value with each section, and it gives your audience a reason to come back to your site to read the next installment.
What’s in It for the Audience?
Writing a detailed long-form post is worth it if your readers benefit. Your audience feeds on information, and a long-form blog post can be one heck of a meal. In general, readers want to do as little searching as possible. A well-structured long-form post helps audiences find the exact information they’re looking for, and gives them additional information too.
Having answers to questions they haven’t even thought of, helps your audience know, like, and trust you. Rather than forcing them to reference several different sources to get all the information they need, a well-written long form blog post gives them everything in one convenient page.
Six Reasons You Should Start Writing Long-Form Content
When you know your effort will be rewarded, it makes writing a long-form blog post much more palatable. Take your time to do it right and you’re sure to notice these six benefits with long-form blogging.
1. An Improved Search Engine Ranking Leads to More Organic Traffic
In the world of digital marketing, SEO is your best friend. Long-form blog content enables you to benefit more from search engine algorithms. Long-form content tends to rank well, with some search engine algorithms prioritizing long-form content (providing it’s good!). High-quality, in-depth content is ranked favourably across all search engines.
Longer posts also enable you to add more keywords, long-tail keywords, and keyword variations. The benefit here? Search engines tally up all of these phrases and rank you higher and on target for a particular topic. These better rankings lead to better discoverability and more traffic to your post/website.
2. You can Show off Your Knowledge
Long-form blogging helps you stand out as a thought leader in your industry. If you have 2,000 words on a particular topic, and your competitors cap out at 500 words, you clearly have more to say – just make sure these words impart value to your readers.
Sharing your insight casts you in a position of authority, brings credibility and recognition to your brand, and helps readers trust you as a leader in your industry. This reputation always makes it more attractive to do business with you. After all, everyone prefers to work with the best in any given industry. By writing a long-form blog post, you’re showing that you know what you’re talking about and why you’re great at what you do.
3. You Get More Shares and Backlinks
A long-form blog post that delivers value is more likely to be shared than a short fluff piece. If your audience digs what you’re doing, the way you explain yourself, and how you offer more comprehensive information, they’ll want to share your content with their peer group. Fun fact: when it comes to sharing on social media, long-form content tends to be shared more than short-form content.
People sharing your content on their social channels is awesome, but what’s even greater is the SEO power of backlinks. Content that does a deep-dive into a subject almost always generates more backlinks than a shorter blog on the same topic. Long-form content can provide a wealth of information that people may use as a reference on their posts or websites.
4. Site Visitors Stay Longer (and Come Back)
If you offer your visitors more content that’s easy to read, they will actually take the time to read through your content. This boosts the average time spent on your page, a metric that tells the search engines how much time people spend with your content. It’s an indication that they’ve found what they were looking for, and your post was worth reading. As this happens, in the background, the search engine does some adjustments to improve your rankings for future searches.
Your first impression makes a difference. Once readers discover you and how well you explain a particular topic, they’re more likely to come back for more of your knowledge.
5. Improved Conversion
A well-written long-form blog post or web page gives consumers all the information they need to make a decision. It addresses any potential objections, accurately describes the topic, and answers any questions a consumer may have – and that’s all before they reach out to you directly. The transparency you offer by being upfront gives consumers the data points they need to learn more about a topic or make an informed decision on a product or service.
Long-form blogging is like a salesperson on your team who works 24/7 on your site to help connect consumers with the information they need when they need it. If this salesperson does their job, you’ll get more conversions and leads.
6. Repurposed Content
Recycling is cool, especially when it comes to finding new ways to use existing content. A long-form blog post can be transformed into many other types of content. From a 5,000-word blog post, you can get immense value. You can post snippets of the blog post on your socials and drive more traffic to your site. The post can form a basis for a podcast recording. It can become a whitepaper or presentation for your organization. It can be read aloud or acted out by a puppet on your YouTube channel (if quirky is part of your brand). The possibilities are limited to your imagination.
How Do You Make a Blog Post Longer?
You’ve written about 1,000 words, but it’s not quite enough to be considered a long-form blog post. How do you add value and increase the word count without adding unnecessary filler?
Stop thinking like an expert and read through your post as though you know nothing about the topic. As you read, ask yourself some questions:
Would a newcomer to the industry understand everything you’ve written?
Do you have any unanswered questions about the topic?
Have you used any professional jargon that needs to be explained?
If it’s difficult to do this exercise, ask somebody you trust to read it and ask you any questions they have. Sometimes an outsider perspective is all you need to figure out if there are any gaps in your content.
Give People a Reason to Keep Reading
Users are looking for information when they search, but they may also be looking for advice, examples, or a step-by-step guide to help them solve a particular problem. People appreciate actionable tips, so if you have any, dish! Information is meant to be shared, not hoarded.
Your objective is to please your audience, not reach an arbitrary word count. Your readers want information, the What, Where, Why, and How of a certain topic. A deeper dive into a topic will always generate a higher word count without conscious effort.
The Best Time to Start is Now
People will continue to read a long-form blog post if it’s informative, easy to comprehend, and a bit entertaining. How does your content stack up?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of crafting and publishing long-form content for your organization, fret not. Reach out to the team at Good Digital to learn how we can help you with a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that includes long-form web content.