You’ve likely already heard about the power of content and how important it is for modern businesses to develop in the online world. There are actually two broad categories of content you can produce, each with their own advantages and disadvantages: short-form and long-form content. You can trust your instincts on the definition of long-form content-it does refer to content that is literally longer-but it isn’t concretely defined.
Defining Long-Form Content
Long-form content is most recognizable because of its length, but length isn’t the only important factor. Usually, long-form content is at least several thousand words long (or several minutes long if it’s a video) and is chock-full of rich details, original ideas, illustrations, videos, or interactive elements that make it a denser, more fulfilling, more useful read.
There are many different ways to include long-form content. For example, you could use it to describe a complex or sophisticated product, like this article on hCG injections. You could also explore a broad topic in great detail, like this article on artificial intelligence. You could even turn it into a full-fledged guide or tutorial, like this article on search engine optimization (SEO), or use it as a customer service or help guide. How you use it depends on your brand and your audience’s needs.
Reasons to Include More Long-Form Content
These are just some of the advantages that make long-form content so indispensable for online brands:
- Differentiation. First, long-form content is an underutilized medium; the majority of companies, even ones avidly pursuing a content marketing campaign, haven’t taken even one step into the world of long-form content. Producing your own could immediately differentiate you, giving your brand a powerful platform to use in your ongoing branding and marketing strategies.
- The power of backlinks. Long-form content is far more likely to attract backlinks to your site than short-form content, which makes it more valuable for SEO. The more backlinks you have pointing to your domain and the more authoritative the sources of those backlinks are, the more domain authority you’ll earn and the higher you’ll rank for relevant searches. People tend to link only to content that’s practically valuable and original-so long-form content is your best bet here.
- Authoritative strength. Not everyone can write long-form content; it demands more detail, more commitment, and usually some original research. Presenting these qualities to your target audience will help you be seen as a higher authority. This, in turn, will make potential customers more likely to buy from you and existing customers more loyal to you. Over time, this will help your reputation, and by association, will help your visibility grow.
- Long-tail keyword optimization. Long-form content’s ability to attract more backlinks isn’t the only SEO strength it’s able to provide. Long-form content also requires you to write more exhaustively about more specific topics, which gives you the natural opportunity to optimize and rank for specific long-tail keywords relevant to your brand. Obviously, how you research these keyword phrases and which ones you ultimately choose will have a massive bearing on your overall effectiveness in the strategy.
- Increasing relevance for niche demographics. It’s possible to write about “general” topics with your long-form content, but it’s better to write highly specific topics, catering to one key demographic. This will help limit your competition, and will greatly increase your relevance for the audience segment you choose. All it takes is one convincing piece to go from “invisible” to “trusted authority” when you speak to someone directly and specifically.
- Increasing time spent on site. In a study by Wordstream, long-form content was able to increase time spent on page by a whopping 40 percent and increase the number of pages those users visited by 25 percent. That’s a huge difference, and a valuable one, no matter what your online marketing goals are. Getting your visitors to explore more pages and spend more time on your site means they’ll have more opportunities to buy from you and engage with you, making this one of the best perks long-form content can offer.
Once you start developing long-form content for your site, whether on individual pages or in the form of blog posts, you’ll start noticing a difference in your key engagement metrics almost immediately. You’ll see higher rates of inbound traffic, longer time spent on your site, and higher rates of interaction-and it only gets better with time.