Content is a powerful tool. It attracts people to you website, it engages them on important and interesting topics you are covering, and it generates new leads for your business.
And sometimes writing a longer, more in-depth, authority piece of content that will stand out as a beacon for potential readers and a link building tool for other websites is the smartest thing you can do as part of your content strategy.
But how do you write a long post and what form should it take?
The Anatomy of Long Form Blogging
Typically, a blog post is between 400 and 700 words long. We consider this the sweet spot – where the highest percentage of people will find AND read the content. Shorter and it doesn’t always perform as well in search. Longer and fewer people will read it.
But there are exceptions.
Long posts, usually consisting of case studies or in-depth coverage of an important topic in your industry, can be extremely valuable, especially if such a post doesn’t yet exist anywhere.
A few months ago, for example, Micah analyzed pest control websites in Staten Island and provided a comprehensive breakdown of what did and did not work. That post was nearly 3,000 words long – about five times longer than a normal post.
It was very effective and still generates large volumes of traffic to this day.
But just writing a 3,000 word post isn’t enough. It needs to be compelling enough to get the results it is designed to get. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Test Multiple Headlines – The headline is vital for a long piece of content. It needs to capture the attention of your readers with an enticing promise they can’t help but want to fulfill.
- Avoid Blocks of Text – Long blocks of text, no matter how interesting and information rich are a turnoff to readers. We see bounce rates go up by 5-10% in posts with paragraphs longer than 10 lines. That’s huge. So keep it short, punchy and easy to read.
- Use Easy to Follow Lists – One way to keep your posts easy to read is to integrate a lot of lists. Bulleted lists, list-formats for the content as a whole, or general numbered lists to break up content.
- Break Up Content for Quick Skimming – Use sub headlines (H2 tags) to break up content even more and ensure people can easily skim through it if they want to. Find ways to connect with people even in those short headlines to keep them reading.
- Include Multiple Takeaways – Don’t save the payoff for the end of the article. While shorter blog posts tend to have one or two solid takeaways, a long form post should have multiples – at least one for every 600 words or so.
- Incentivize Finishing the Post – Give them a good reason to finish the post. A list is good for this (people want to see what #1 is), but so too is a story without resolution.
Once done, the next step is to promote the content actively. You do this for most of your content probably, but for longer posts you need to turn up the volume on your PR a few notches.
The post took longer to write, it has more research and information pressed into it, and it stands to generate more results for your site, but only if you take advantage of it properly.
We have a laundry list of places we submit blog posts like this to for promotion – from syndication sources to recurring traffic sources and social media or guest posts. You can of course read about all of these here on GLS or give us a call and ask for a consultation on next steps with your content.