Falling in Love with Long Form Content
It’s Valentine’s Day today and, in light of that, we’re revealing to you WME’s latest squeeze: Long Form Content. Long Form Content has some sweet and adorable qualities. Our darling is able to nurture, entertain and educate the individuals she reaches, leaving them with a lasting impression. She provides a wealth of stability to support your brand image and build your authority, and she will lovingly grab you by the hand and work with you towards your SEO goals. These are just a few of the reasons we’ve fallen in love with Long Form Content – and you should too!
Through research and experience, we have found that long form content is kicking goals for clients across the board and, personification aside, the voices of authority are advocating for longer posts. Google Search Quality Specialist, Pandu Nayak has hinted in the past that “users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic.”
Even in a more sweeping sense, the founder of international advertising agency, Ogilvy and Mather, and patriarchal icon of the advertising industry, David Ogilvy was known to spruik longer copy in his time. He once stated that “long copy sells more than short… Advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy or not.”
So, what is long form content?
While the aim for any business should always be to produce concise, palatable information for your audience, concise doesn’t necessarily mean short. Long form content is what we call lengthier, meatier pockets of shared knowledge. The purpose of long form content is to provide thorough information that is highly- valuable to your current and prospective clientele. You want to be able to answer the questions your audience asks, while also providing them with the finer details.
Now, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to what constitutes long form content – it’s really opinion based – however, if you ask me, anything over 1,200 words will hit the quota for long-form content. If you’re writing this content yourself, 1,500 words is a good aim for long form blogs, provided the topic requires that level of depth.
However, all content shouldn’t be long-form content. Decide which topics deserve and/or require lengthy exploration and be smart when discerning which can be investigated in fewer words. This will stand you in good stead to ensure you’re not bombarding your viewers with fluffy, vague or rambling content.
Prove Brand Value and Authority
Long form content opens up the doors to brand-building, transforming visitors from onlookers to occasional, or even frequent, readers. There is a strong correlation between longer posts and higher engagement but that’s not just because of the word count. A long form blog piece requires more research and in-depth discussion, covering different schools of thought and opposing sides of the story.
This style of writing is very useful to readers and stimulates more on-page dwell time, which means there are more opportunities for that visitor to connect with and remember your brand. It also proves your business’ expertise, instilling a sense of worth in your brand. This, of course, all leads to ultimate brand loyalty and authority.
Increase Your Social Shares
Content needs distribution and long form content is no different. When it comes to social media, engagement with long content has historically bettered shorter content and it’s only gaining traction, increasingly generating consistent social shares.
Online posts of 3,000 words and beyond average 8,859 shares. That’s nearly twice as many as shorter articles of under 1,000 words. Again, this is not to do with the number of words but the added value the long content provides the reader.
Skyrocket Your SEO
SEO is a primary focus for many businesses and long form content could be the key to sparking your website’s run to reach number one. Recently, it was discovered that Google loves longer posts as they provide a richer experience for the reader. There are a number of reasons why long form content affects SEO, including the capacity to target long-tail keywords, increase the time spent on your site and acquire more organic backlinks.
Longer Session Times
People are hungry for knowledge and eager to learn. That’s why quality long form content is attractive to your audience. Providing trustworthy information that is both factual and comprehensive not only attracts readers but also keeps them on your page for longer. This has a boosting effect on your SEO as ‘session time’ is one of Google’s key ranking factors.
There’s Less Competition
Space on the web is endless, so it’s no wonder the competition to rank on page one is tough. However, only 25% of published content is more than 1,000 words in length. It’s significantly more difficult to write long form content than the average 400-word blog, which means that fewer people give it a crack. The competition for ranks reduces to only those who have the time to write it or the funds to finance it, giving you a great opportunity to capitalise on its ranking power.
According to Moz, there is a proven correlation between content length and its backlinks. Longer, fuller content pieces, if they are valuable and rank well, will naturally bring more backlinks to your website.
Recyclable Content is Valuable
Long form content has the depth and detail that makes for endless reuse. This kind of information is timeless and can be used over and over again by new and repeat readers. You could repurpose snapshots of the knowledge shared in your blog for social media posts, infographics, podcasts, email newsletters and more. This gives your business a broader reach and even more potential for new website traffic and conversion.
Cut out the Middle Man
There’s been extensive research into the ideal length of content and the results are pretty interesting. It turns out that you are better off cutting out content ranging from 500 and 800 words and focusing on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Readers generally fall into one of two categories; busy people who want to devour convenient information at a rapid pace, and those who value detail and will read (or at least skim!) more considered long form articles.
Best of Both Worlds
By clearly signposting with subheadings, you can make your long form articles palatable to both audiences. Those who want the in-depth exploration can read through thoroughly, and those looking for just the important points can quickly and easily find them in the highlighted text.
Employ the use of relevant and engaging images to break up the text. This will further segment the article and gives readers a visual indication of the subject matter.
Help the reader further again by providing a summary of the article’s topic at the beginning, to enable them to understand the notion of the article without having to read the whole thing.