Long-form content often describes blogs or articles containing somewhere around 1,000 to 3,000 words and, sometimes, even more. It is aimed to deliver detailed content tackling deep or complex topics. This type of content allows brands to provide their audiences with interesting and relevant information based on reliable sources.
Hearing “long-form” already sounds boring and counterintuitive to the goal of engaging audiences online. But it is designed to be useful and informative. Hence it is a key to establishing your status as a thought leader in the industry.
This type of content must also be interesting, which can put it among content that the audience will not only read but share online. Long-form content doesn’t only mean lengthy or has a lot of words in it. It must have a significant amount of timely and impactful information. It’s crafted at a certain length to convey comprehensive content without a lot of fluff.
You need to ensure that despite its length, readers are kept interested and will read through it until the end. Here’s how you can create long-form content that can keep your readers engaged:
1. Plan Your Content Before You Start Writing
As long-form content is lengthy, it has to have a direction and a flow that readers can follow. It is important to plan your content carefully to create a coherent piece that will not just go around in circles or be all over the place. This will beat the purpose of the content to deliver a complete thought and provide the information with your audience’s needs. Any content that is meant to inform people requires proper research.
Define its purpose and based on this, gather all the data and facts from reliable sources and create a structure out of it. Take note of those worth linking and how you can incorporate them into your content. Having a layout in place can help guide you in delivering your long-form content more effectively. Additionally, use keywords properly, so you can appear and rank on SERPs, making it easier for your audience to find you.
Content optimization tools, such as keyword search and content exploration platforms, can help you find relevant topics to write about and keywords to incorporate based on your content. For more advanced research, like finding the best opportunities for backlinks, and learning how to analyze data and SEO metrics on competitor sites, read PureLinq’s Ahrefs Tool Guide: Using Content Explorer for e-Commerce.
2. Use Short Paragraphs And Plenty Of Headings And Subheadings
Research suggests that with more information available through the internet, people’s attention span has grown shorter, bringing forward the challenge for brands to engage people in how they deliver content.
When you have lengthy content ahead, regulate the flow of information by using short paragraphs and making use of headings and subheadings. Complex sentences and paragraphs make it difficult for readers to understand what you are trying to say fully. With this, you will certainly lose their attention.
Use short, concise paragraphs with coherent thought. It’s also ideal to group ideas using headings and subheadings. This gives your readers a quick overview of what they will be reading. It also helps guide them to navigate your long-form content better.
Short paragraphs are useful, especially when you want to deliver succinct content that can be more direct or even dramatic. Shorter paragraphs can stir the audience’s curiosity and interest when combined with intentional word choices and effective sentence structure. It leads them to read further and keeps them on the edge of their seat.
3. Write In An Engaging And Conversational Tone
Throwing tons of information at your audience will not make them want to read your content. If your content is monotonous and lacks dynamic, there is a higher chance that readers will not make it even through the first few paragraphs of your content.
In long-form content, the information must be delivered in a conversational tone – to make information more digestible and improve audience engagement. No matter how complex the topic is, try to write it as if your audience is just talking to a friend or a real person.
It doesn’t have to be too formal. Break rules, use contractions and make it personal. Use “I’s” and “you’s”, and appeal to their emotion. Make it as human as possible.
Avoid writing information that will require people to use more brain power. Many read long-form content to be informed; hence do not provide them with content that will just make topics more complicated. Use a language and a flow of words that is utilized by many from day to day.
This makes your content more relatable and easy to understand and picture. This can help you hold your audience’s attention, as they will likely enjoy reading and relating to your content.
4. Vary Your Sentence Length And Structure
Your sentences give your content a flow, which has to be natural. Use different sentence structures to avoid making your content stiff and almost sound robotic. It is important to structure your sentences to tell your audience a story. This helps your readers to not easily get tired of your content and follow its flow or rhythm.
There are ways to have variety in your sentences. You can alternate short and long sentences to give your readers time to breathe and digest ideas from time to time.
It’s also important to vary the words opening your sentences to allow your audience to easily differentiate one sentence or thought from the other. Starting consecutive sentences with “the” can make them sound too monotonous and formal, making them unappealing.
Give your content rhythm. This will allow your readers to somewhat find a tune that will make reading more enjoyable and engaging.
5. Use Images, Videos, And Infographics To Break Up The Text
Seeing a bunch of texts on the screen can be an eyesore. It can be boring or confusing. Add a touch of visual elements to your online content to keep it interesting and entertaining.
Incorporating rich media helps in improving your messaging and the overall user experience. You can use basic images to give your audience a heads-up about the topic and optimize your SEO strategy and make your content more search engine-friendly.
You can also add videos or create eye-catching graphics and infographics to break up texts. This can enhance your content and give your audience a visual experience.
Additionally, you can add entertaining GIFs and insert text boxes with an excerpt or a quote from your content. This can capture your audience’s attention and help encourage them to read through and find where that image or quote is related.
Leverage Long-form Content
With catering to short attention spans in mind, publishing long-form content can be a tricky strategy for improving engagement. But when done right, your content can help you make a more lasting impression on your audience and establish your brand better.
Leverage long-form content to provide readers with useful information that they will read, understand and share with others, and let your brand be the thought leader you aimed to be.