The internet is teeming with so much information, but the attention span of the average reader is not getting longer.
So, you can be forgiven if you think that long-form content has no place in this day and age.
However, you would be wrong.
Long-form writing remains one of the most effective ways to engage readers. If done right, it can offer much information and still manage to capture the attention of your target audience.
The key is to follow the current best practices for long-form content and come up with a compelling post.
Below, I have outlined some of the latest strategies for you to win the long-form content game.
Each niche is unique, and there are many different ways to create content, especially if it is in-depth.
That being said, effective blogs, tutorial guides, case studies, and other materials have a few things in common.
Here are some of the current best practices when writing long-form content.
1. Establish Your Goals
The first thing that you need to figure out is what you want to get out of your long-form content.
Do you want to get more organic traffic, or are you looking to generate more leads?
Are you in the process of building backlinks?
Note that long-form content can come in many different forms, from infographics to ebooks to white papers. Each type of content can help you achieve a different goal.
For instance, if you want to get more shares on social media, some studies show that infographics and listicles are more effective.
However, to generate more high-quality leads, ebooks and case studies are the way to go.
You can make this decision based on your marketing and business goals. Even, you could also examine which part of the sales funnel you need to improve.
If, you are having trouble with the discovery phase, focus more on content for the top of the sales funnel to target new visitors.
On the other hand, if you want to increase conversions, you should focus on people who are already searching for your type of product or service.
2. Use The Right Keywords
Once you have decided what type of long-form content to create, the next step is to find the right keywords. Remember that most people go through search engines when looking for information online.
It means that you will have to optimize for the search queries that your target audience is likely using so you can connect with them.
Identifying and using the right keywords is important for a number of reasons.
First, it gives your posts higher search rankings and makes them more visible to search engines.
So, when users type their queries and get their results, your page will come out on top.
Second, using the right keywords the right way will give your readers a good idea of what your content is about.
If, they see from the very start of your post that the subject is relevant to their search, they are less likely to bounce.
To perform thorough keyword research, use online SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs.
3. Use Headers Where Needed
There is some truth to the school of thought that people today have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
However, it does not automatically mean that you should steer clear of long-form content.
There are many ways to make an extensive article or guide more digestible to the average reader. For one, you can divide your content into smaller sections and keep your paragraphs short.
This way, people won’t be overwhelmed when they look at your page.
Generally, the ideal number of sentences for each paragraph is three.
But, of course, there are some exceptions to the rule, and you can go a bit longer if it helps you make your point.
If, you break down your post into smaller sections, it also makes sense to put headers where needed.
4. Keep the Tone Conversational
While the tone of your article will ultimately depend on your niche or topic, it is best to maintain a conversational tone.
An informal tone that uses everyday language instead of highly technical words will help keep the reader engaged. Just make sure that the page is packed with information and is well-researched.
Academic journals and other similar types of articles would be an exception.
5. Add Images, Charts, and Other Media to Break Sections
Aside from chopping your content into smaller sections with separate headers, it is best to include images, infographics, and other elements as well.
Doing this helps break the monotony and allows the readers’ eyes to rest.
More importantly, it will help convey your message.
Imagery is a very powerful tool for communication because it suits the way the brain naturally processes information.
6. Organize Your Content
Make sure that you keep your readers engaged from start to finish by organizing your content.
Start with a compelling introduction that lays down the groundwork for your topic, then maintain a consistent flow of thought.
Where applicable, use bullet points and sprinkle some questions in between paragraphs or topics.
Also, create a table of contents linked to every section if your article is very long.
7. Optimize for Search Engines
So far, you have been focusing much of your attention on your target audience. While it is important to write first for your reader, you should not neglect the needs of search engines.
You have identified the right keywords to use, but you must also use just the right amount. Stuffing them forcibly into your content will not sit well with search engines.
Instead, check if the keywords have featured snippets and optimize for them too.
In addition, make sure that your content is compatible with all devices, especially smartphones and tablets.
Also, clean up your URL and make sure that it helps both the users and search engines understand what the content is about.
Final Thoughts on How To Write Long-form Content
Long-form writing takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
It will help you provide the information that your target audience needs, giving them the incentive that they need to be loyal to your brand.
It can boost your online presence, generate more leads, and close more sales for you.