Best Practices for Long-Form Blog Posts
We all know that creating great content is critical for your online success. Clever, helpful, digestible content attracts new leads, nurtures them into buyers and delights them into being promoters of your brand. Content is indeed king, and longer content plays an important role in your marketing strategy. Long-form blog posts must be mixed with other types of blogging or content to create the recipe for the ultimate marketing plan.
What is a long-form blog post?
A long-form blog post is a blog post over 2,000 words, but is generally thought to be a blog post ranging in length from 3,000 to 5,000 words. You may think that no one will be bothered to read a 4,000 word blog post, but longer content is popular and the benefits of this type of content is fantastic. While writing a 3,000 to 5,000 word blog post may seem intimidating, the payback is worth it. Longer blog posts get more social shares and tend to have a higher Google rankings and higher page authority. Long-form content needs to be an important part of your content plan.
How can you write a long-form blog post?
When you have become accustomed to writing 500 to 700 words blog posts, a 3,000+ word post can seem like a university thesis. Don’t despair, getting over the intimidation of longer form content is the hardest part. Below is a roadmap to help you in creating great long-form content.
5 Steps to Creating Great Long-form Content
1. Know your audience
You have to put a lot of thought into who makes up your target audience. If you have not defined your target audience, then you have no idea who you are writing to, nor any idea of what they might be interested in. You might write a compelling and helpful blog post on what to consider when buying a used car. However, if your target audience is not limited to potential used car buyers, you have wasted your time. Content will only do well if it matches the target audience.
Once you have defined your target audience, try to get to know them better. A great way to get insight into your audience is by surveying them. Do a long-form blog post asking your readers to add their thoughts in the comment section or do a blog post with a downloadable survey. Also check your social metrics. Which posts have been shared? The posts that attract the most shares will be on topics with the most intrinsic interest. You can also use analytics to find out where your readers are from and what their interests are.
2. Meet your reader’s needs with relevant content
Your content needs to be relevant to the needs of your target audience. Take another look at your analytics. What are your readers interested in? You can also use various tools to check out what is trending at the moment. Also, monitor your content for views and shares. Pay attention to the content that is getting the most attention. This will change over time, so always remember to go back and review your social shares.
3. Create Really Remarkable Content
The quality of your content is really important. If you are going to take the time to create long-form blog posts, make sure it is only good content. If you can’t catch your reader's attention from the start, the word count won’t matter the slightest. Make it a habit to create content and then improve upon it. Be patient, and review your content a few days after you have written it. Invariably, you will immediately spot ways to make the content better.
For every 1,500 words (more or less) try to focus on at least 2 long-tail keywords. Having a few different long tail keywords will help you break out your content into different sections and, in turn, this will make creating longer content much easier.
Tips for writing good content
- Use short paragraphs.
- Use subheadings. This helps the reader know where they are in a longer blog post.
- Bold and/or italicize for emphasis.
- Use lots and lots of relevant images.
- Refer to research. This is critical. Your readers want to know that the information you provide is measurable, has been measured, and will give them some benefit.
- You can transfer the research data into a chart or a graph.
4. Create an Offer
Give your reader something special like a downloadable template or a handy checklist. Reward your reader for investing their time into reading your long-form blog post. To be effective, the extra bonus offer needs to be relevant, valuable and helpful.
5. Share it and then share it some more
Once you've created your great content, share it with the world. You can post links to your content on your favourite social media sites. Encourage your readers to share with their friends and contacts.
Reach out to like-minded bloggers and send them your content. Ask them for their comments.
Remember, your best content can be reshared a few months down the road. Before resharing your content, give it a little refresh. For example, you could add some more data or research to an existing blog post, or you could take a deep dive and expand a 500-word blog post into some longer form content.
Creating long-form content is critical to a successful content management plan. This type of content is authoritative, more likely to be shared, and will result in more conversations. Long-form blog posts are an investment in your future success.