As content creators, we pride ourselves on crafting pieces that get results. Whether you’re a strategist or writer, you’ll soon discover that long-form content is popping up beyond gated assets and email list offers. Why? It works for brands.
Just last week, two client planning calls yielded long-form content assignments for the new year ahead. One is a 2,000 word blog post. I’m also tackling a handful of webpages clocking in at over 2,500 words each and a landing page that will yield 3,500 words.
These lengthier assignments used to pop up on occasion. Now, they’re dominating my writing tasks calendar.
So, What is Long-Form Content?
I’m not sure who coined the phrase long-form content, but from my writer’s perspective, it’s any type of written text that has a word count longer than a traditional blog post. Over the years, the most common word counts I’ve seen for routine blog posts range from 250 to 800 words, with 400 words being the go-to content length for the bulk of my content marketing clients.
A few LinkedIn friends and I have been chatting about this topic, and one is also noticing brands looking for content pieces over 1,000 words — up into the 3,000 to 5,000-word range.
Just last month, Alina Petrova published a piece on the SEMrush Blog about top performing article types. Although she warns readers there’s no secret formula for what gets the reads and clicks, content featuring 3,000 words or more gets three-times the traffic, four-times the shares and three and a half times the backlinks when compared to articles in the 901 to 1200 word range. This data was gleaned from the 2019 Global State of Content Marketing Report.
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What are the Benefits of Creating Long-Form Content?
When I’ve been tasked with a long-form content piece, I’m well aware of the benefits this final deliverable offers. It’s a meaty read that offers insight, examples, ideas and really anything the reader might need to know about the topic.
Bottom line: It’s comprehensive.
We live in a society where more is better. Bigger servings at a restaurant means they offer value. Getting a free belt with the pants is seen as a bonus. Lengthy content with ample graphics, subheadings and screenshots is often deemed better than shorter pieces. It’s just how it is.
A top-quality piece is also easily segmented into smaller posts, perfect for social media updates, newsletter blurbs, spoken segments on a podcast or a slideshow for YouTube. Solid content, with ample words, can be sliced and diced until your content creating heart is beaming with repurposing pride.
Why Should Writers Care About Long-Form Content?
As a writer, get ready to map out additional working hours on your schedule and expect bigger paychecks too! Long-form content takes more time and words to produce, so rates are following suit and scaling to match.
If you love to dig into research, interviews, compiling sources, sharing data and swirling it all into a digestible piece of content that looks great on a screen thanks to stellar formatting, you’re going to love the ask for long-form content from your clients.
As a word of warning, these projects can be mentally fatiguing. As you move through the text, you’ll find yourself trying to make sure the current section you’re crafting fits into the content piece as a whole. There are more read-throughs, time spent editing and rearranging the text to be sure if flows perfectly for a reader.
My tip? Break these longer assets into multiple chunks, over several days. For example, I like to dedicate separate time blocks to reading the project brief, creating an outline/gathering sources, drafting (this may get two or three blocks), editing and finally polishing it until it shines. Then, I submit.
Why do Content Strategists and Marketers Care About Long-Form Content?
Performance! If you’re taking the time and energy to produce a quality piece of long-form content, you want it to help move you toward your goals.
Maybe these are on your list:
- An increase in pageviews on a specific web page
- Getting a backlink from a website with a higher domain authority than yours
- Generating leads who will click a link or button
- Educating a niche audience to boost brand loyalty
- Get new sign-ups for an email list
Over the past ten years as a full-time writer in the content marketing space, I’ve seen requests for long-form content dribble in. I might tackle an e-book every few years and an in-depth blog post over 2000 words every six months. I currently have nine long-form projects on my roster for the upcoming quarter.
Are you also noticing a shift in content length? What types of projects are you assigning or tackling in the weeks ahead?
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Note: This blog post was last updated on May 4, 2022.