“People are having short attention spans in the current times”. It’s a phrase you must be hearing a lot. This is one of the excuses which people use not to create long-form content, especially the content strategists, and they prefer short-form content instead.
And to be fair to them, it does make sense. This strategy has worked for some of the bloggers. But if we talk about the newbies, they seem to struggle with their content game, as their blogs fail to achieve handsome Google rankings.
If you go to Google’s top 10 results, you will observe how evasive it is to short-form content. Of course, if your DA is really high, then you may not feel the pain and even short-form content may give you higher rankings on Google.
But you need to understand the psyche of today’s user. They are looking for answers and expertise. Their questions are very specific, and they are increasingly using long-tail keywords while googling. Naturally, your content strategy should cater to user’s savviness.
So your content strategy should include write-ups that are information-driven. They should at least give the impression that the writer is a subject-expert. And writing long-form content, say a “2000+ words” blog can give you that much space.
How Long-form content can provide you that edge?
You simply cannot scratch the surface with your content and get away with it. If you touch upon a burning topic, you better answer the burning questions too.
Many people start a blog on a high but lose enthusiasm if they don’t get enough traffic. They kill their blogs eventually. They should instead optimize their inbound marketing efforts, and creating longer posts is the first step. Here’s why:
- If you look across the web, you will generally find blogs that are of 500 words or even lesser. Most writers haven’t got rid of their ‘Short Tail Keyword’ hangover. They don’t realize that an insightful and detailed content can easily rank on “Long tail keywords”, which improves the search traffic. Therefore, you can really join an exclusive club by posting 500-2000 words content.
- It’s a no brainer that long-form content has more space for backlinks, which can generate organic traffic from Google for a much longer time. Long-form content in many ways is evergreen.
- Only if you know the facts, figures, and trends, and you back your content with case studies, you can create genuine long-form content. This can establish you as an industry or domain expert. The audience will delve more into your write-ups and they won’t scamper here and there. You will develop a loyal reader base.
- Long-form content is more flexible. You can give it a different shape and repurpose your marketing campaigns. Let’s take the example of Buffer. It didn’t post anything for a month. It repackaged its long-form content as an email course. This was a counterintuitive strategy and garnered around 18000 signups in just 6 days.
What not to do?
You can’t be verbose or redundant with your content. Your long-form content can’t be irrelevant. It’s about providing value. It’s a challenge, but again, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
If you want to take a leaf out of someone’s book, there is no need to look further than BuzzFeed. They are getting more into investigative journalism. They have created a dedicated section for in-depth stories. Gradually, they are shifting towards long-form content. Do have a look at some of their articles. They are long but to the point.
You might be having questions regarding the posting frequency. Does it take a hit if you go for long-form content? Of course, it does. You can’t churn out such research-based content every second day.
What you can do is, you can repurpose or create different versions of your long-form content, so that you can your content on different social media channels. It’s a smart social media marketing strategy.
But if take the example of BuzzFeed, they are thriving with this strategy. Each post of theirs goes viral and is shared among hundreds of thousands. Their content is enjoying a longer shelf life because of the value they create.
Some of the studies that show how long form content influence search engine rankings, backlinks, and social shares.
1. BuzzSumo and Moz analyzed over a million articles. As per them, around 85% of articles are less than 1000 words. Also, they studied the data on referral links and found that for article greater than 1000 words, the number increased from 6.1 to 9.5. Write-ups having 2,000-3,000 words were shared the most by users on social media.
2. HubSpot did their own analysis. They went across 6000 articles and found that articles having 2000+ words had more backlinks and enjoyed a better presence on social media. On HubSpot itself, articles having 2500+ words had the most number of links.
3. If we talk about Quick Sprout, they generally post writeups that are 1500+. If we compare their longer posts with the shorter ones, the former gets 65% more tweets and 20% more likes than the latter. They went across 300 blog posts and observed that the former gathered an average of 290 tweets and 72 likes, and the latter gathered an average of 175 tweets and 60 likes.
4. CoSchedule analyzed 6 long-tail keywords. They found that long form content ranked higher for such keywords. They went across the first page rankings for these 6 keywords, and the top 5 results had write-ups having 2000+ words.
5. WordStream changed its marketing strategy and started writing long form content (more than 1000 words). Though initially, they were skeptical, as earlier they focused only on short-tail keywords, but results were quite fascinating. A visitor’s on-page time for WordStream increased from 1:30 to 4:30 minutes, which shows that people got engaged with their content.
If you haven’t written a long form content yet, then you might feel overstretched while writing one. Start with a 1000 word content, and dedicate two paras to facts and figures. Once you get used to this particular construction, gradually increase the word count by 200 and number of paras by 2, and so on. Your content marketing strategy will be optimized for sure.