Chris Craft

How Long-Form Content Improved My Content Marketing Strategy

By: Chris Craft | February 5, 2020 | 
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How Long-Form Content Changed My Content Marketing Strategy

“How do you write long-form content without a ton of fluff?”

“It will take way too long to produce!”

 “Who is going to read all of that?”

These might be some of your team’s Debbie Downer-ish thoughts about long-form blog posts.

I used to have those same thoughts until I began to consider how long-form content would benefit our readers and clients.

Since then, my opinion on longer posts has completely changed and I’ve achieved massive SEO and lead generation success with it.

Yes…long-form content takes longer to plan and write, but you’ll soon see how a few key metrics will motivate you to invest the extra time.

After reading the genius of bloggers like Neil Patel and Brian Dean, I researched the benefits of more in-depth posts for myself.

Now, I put my findings into action for our agency and clients. 

And today, I’ll share a few ways long-form content has helped reshape content marketing approach.

What Is Long-Form Content?

Long-form content is a well-researched article or post with 1,200 words or more.

So it’s easy to define, but not so easy to do.

Plus, producing it requires a significant amount of time if you’re doing it yourself. 

Beyond the word count, here are some key qualities of good long-form content: 

  • High information density
  • Rich with long-tail keywords (2-4 focus keyword mentions per 1,500-2,000 words)
  • Well-organized
  • Contains internal links to relevant resources and articles
  • Features multiple images
  • Typically contains a list

If you are wondering how to write effective long-form content, let’s start with the golden rules of creating it.  

Rule #1–Keyword Research is Mandatory

via GIPHY

When you write more than 1,200 words, you better have some strategic long-tail keywords to include in your article.

Thorough keyword research gives your content a purpose and direction, which is why you need to take the time to do it before you write.

And yes, it is imperative.

It also provides a good opportunity to rank for multiple keywords!

The Significance of Long-Tail Keywords

So, why is it important to include long-tail keywords?

They are less competitive, which means your content will have an easier path to showing up in search results.

And they’ll boost conversion rates (because of intent).

Let’s say you have to write a blog about how email marketing can help businesses.

You can include multiple short-tail keywords like marketing or email.

And these keywords may bring traffic to your blog (depending on your Domain Authority), but it is less likely to convert. 

On the other hand, if you include a long-tail keyword such as, “how can email marketing help my business” or “why you need to do email marketing,” you will receive more targeted traffic.

Using long-tail keywords will also help lower your website’s bounce rate and increase the time readers spend on your website.

Long-form content gives you the perfect opportunity to include multiple long-tail keywords.

Because you are less restricted by the word count of the blog, you can strategically incorporate long-tail and short-tail keywords to boost your ratings and conversions.    

Rule #2–Fluff is Your Enemy! 

This is important: don’t bloat your content with fluff to reach a high word count goal.

The purpose of incorporating long-form content into your content marketing strategy is to increase the time your readers spend on your blog.

Adding fluff will only guarantee that your readers exit your website in record time.

Remember, your readers are smart and they can see right through the fluff.

This can be a major turn off for your audience.

And, Google tracks and considers how visitors experience your website’s pages.

This is why it’s essential to make sure your content is relevant, fluff-free, and provides high value to the readers.

You will have to do in-depth research on the topic in order to create this kind of high-quality content.

So while it may take you longer, it will be worth it in the end.

When to Avoid Long-Form Content 

Longer content is not appropriate for every niche.

For instance, food industry bloggers should keep their content short and sweet (pun not intended).

If you want to gain credibility and authority in such a niche, it’s better stick to more a more visual approach to entice your audience. 

Always plan your content while keeping your readers in mind.

Rule #3–Create Blog Content Outlines 

Writing a content outline is a consistent early step in my writing process (preceded by noting the purpose of my content).

And outlines give the post an organized direction to help you stay on topic.

They’re the key to creating highly relevant content that is free of fluff. 

Why Publish Long-Form Content? 

Let’s be honest.

If we could still get page one results with shorter articles, would we continue to bust our butts to pump out 3,000-word blog posts that take days to write and edit?

According to Orbit Media research, the average blog post is more than 1,200 words in length, and “bloggers who write longer content are far more likely to report success.”

Here are seven reasons why creating more in-depth content benefits SEO and your readers:

  1. Increased authority: Long-form posts bolster authority better than short-form content. This allows me to showcase my deep knowledge of topics and build authority and credibility in my niche.
  2. Improved brand differentiation: More in-depth content enables me to create a distinct personality for my brand. From word choice to styling, it works together to improve reader loyalty.
  3. Opens more opportunities: Longer posts can bring more business opportunities. Incorporate long-tail keywords in carefully tailored content. This ensures your content reaches the right audience to create more opportunities for you.
  4. Measurement matters: Deeper content will keep readers on your page for longer periods. Google calls this metric “dwell time” and it’s a page-ranking factor. With long-form content, you can stop worrying about high bounce rates.
  5. Improved social media engagement: My social media followers appreciate the time I invest in long-form articles. That helps build a strong social media presence. And because social media platforms make it easier to share content, my reach has increased.
  6. Easy content repurposing; Long-form content is awesome for repurposing. You can use it in multiple ways, including creating a series of short blogs and converting them into a podcast, video, or eBook.
  7. Improved lead generation: Longer content brings in a highly targeted audience, converting readers into loyal fans. Plus, it helps increase the effectiveness of your blog.

The Short On Long-Form Content

I used to take the easy route—whip up a post with 300 to 400 words.

Then include some keywords I thought someone might search for (leaning heavily on Google’s autocomplete suggestions).

However, once I decided to write long-form content, I realized all the opportunities I had been missing out on! 

Successful writers inspired me to increase my dedication to my writing content that satisfies the readers’ needs.

It also helped me establish a consistent writing routine, and have fun while doing it.

In short, long-form content has revolutionized my content marketing approach.

And I’m confident it will revolutionize yours. 

Now that you’re inspired to write long-form content, get some ideas for your next article with these 50 writing prompts for content development.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

About Chris Craft


Chris Craft is CEO of content marketing agency Nao Media, and the founding editor of InspireFirst. He has over 15 years of branding and marketing experience across various industries, including sports/entertainment, healthcare, real estate, and tech. Chris and his team serve entrepreneurs and organizations with content and digital marketing solutions via their PEACE ModelTM. Nao Media’s mission is to elevate the art and science of marketing. Follow Chris Craft on Twitter and Instagram @craftwrites.