Keys for Crafting Quality Long-Form Content
One of the best performing content types, especially over time, is what is called long-form content. However as the name denotes, it is a bit longer than the average content piece which can scare away some people. Rather than giving in to any sort of word-count intimidation, today we wanted to share our keys for crafting quality long-form content. As a top web development company we understand the value behind good content and feel that it is a waste to avoid using a particular type simply due to a lack of familiarity in regards to the process.
What is Long-Form content?
The definition can vary, but generally speaking long-form content is defined as articles which are 1,200 words for longer. While some might apply the same label for slightly shorter or longer content, it is something that certainly makes more sense the longer it is.
Traditionally longer-form content was the primary standard for mediums such as newspapers and magazines. Meatier articles, with multiple reference points and in-depth coverage, were the acceptable norm. As the internet has evolved and attention spans have shrunk, the common idea was to shorten content as well to make it as digestible as possible in a short time. That is why you see so many articles in the 500-900 word range and 200-300 word range.
Realistically the idea of long-form should focus more on the quality and depth of the content rather than just categorizing it based on length.
Why is long-form content important to a website?
There are many reasons why a site can benefit from long-form content:
- Authority – Long-form content is a fantastic way to help showcase authority on a topic. Longer, deeper articles on a topic that falls in your niche allows ample opportunity to discuss and share information, anecdotes, etc. that can’t be found quickly in shorter, shallower articles. Not everyone will have the experience or expertise to provide this level of depth in content.
- Time on Page – It should make sense that longer articles require more time on page to review. The time on page metric is important as the longer someone is on your site, the higher chance they will convert.
- SEO – Long-form content tends to rank very well. There have been studies to support this along with the most important person in the room, Google, saying than because 10% or more of their search audience wants to learn more than a snippet – search results will also help users find in-depth articles. Typically this is a content type that can earn more backlinks as well because of the in-depth an authorative nature.
This article provides links to 10 great examples of long-form content which showcase good authority and rank well. There are a few brands which specialize in the product of this type of content and have made a name for them by creating large libraries of useful information.
Keys to Long-Form content creation
- Content Calendar – Using a content calendar is an important part of the content creation process. When you start crafting long-term content as part of your overall content plan, the calendar becomes more critical as this content type takes more planning. Here is a great article on how to create a content calendar.
- Planning – Planning is the most important aspect of this content type. Longer articles simply take more time to develop from the initial outline to the finished project. The outline is the first step in getting ideas together. You can then add to the outline over a few hours or days to help flesh out a more detailed outline which will then become the blueprint for the entire piece.
- Topic Focus – It is important to remember that this content type only works when you have a focused topic that you can say plenty about. Ideally it is something you are either interested in or passionate about as that makes it much easier to dive into, research, and then produce. The piece needs to stay tight and focused rather than roaming around.
- Using Research – Even if you don’t use all of the data you have compiled directly, indirectly it will allow you a better knowledge base from which to speak on the topic. You should try and collect data, surveys, etc to not only provide support but also to help you draw your own conclusions.
- Start Writing – “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu. While writing an article isn’t quite as difficult as walking a thousand miles in 6th century B.C., it can seem very daunting. The hardest part is often taking that first step. The best advice for this part of the process is to sit down with your outline and just starting writing it out. Often this will trigger some creativity. Keep taking steps and soon enough the journey will be done.
- Edit and Revise – Many writers skip the editing portion of content creation, but that can be a mistake especially the longer the content is being created. Editing and revising your work is one of the best ways to improve upon it from finding simple spelling or grammatical errors to creating a more logical pathway for the discussion. The biggest key to remember is look for information that does not belong. Remember, you want an extremely focused topic and if you keep stepping off topic the readers might not stick around.
- Image Selection – Whenever an image or images accompany an article they should make sense and help support, or make the point of the content. This is doubly true when the content length increases. Take the time to find images that contribute to the overall message of your content and/or call-to-action if you want content that performs well.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that long-form content is a very useful type of content that many websites can benefit from. The approach required to crafting this type of content is a bit different compared to shorter content pieces but our keys for crafting quality long-form content can provide a nice foundation for anyone who wants to start producing it.
Be sure to check back every week for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.