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A Guide to Long-Form Content in Marketing

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When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO) and digital marketing, there’s one insight that you might always come across: your audience’s attention span is so short that they won’t bother with long and winding text. They prefer punchy one-liners that manage to convey your message right away.

But while there is some grain of truth to this, it applies primarily to advertisements and website development. When it comes to content marketing, long-form articles are the preferred format.

What Is Long-Form Content?

There’s no defined word count for long-form content. Some marketers consider articles with more than 700 words long-form, while others write at least 1,200 to 2,000 words. Recently, the numbers have gone further up with some content writers publishing articles of at least 5,000 words long.

Contrary to popular belief, a lot of people love reading meatier content. These articles can go in-depth about specific topics and provide more value to readers. This is why many brands invest in content writing services by professional content writers. Apart from this, though, long-form content offers a wealth of other benefits.

Let’s discuss them below.

1. Long-form content ranks higher

When done right, long-form content encourages readers to stay on your site and continue reading. The longer they stay, the better for you because search engines will view this as you having valuable, read-worthy content. As a result, search engines will reward your website with higher SERP rankings. This is supported by a study by Backlinko, which showed that having above-average time-on-site helps a website rank higher on Google.

2. Long-form content converts

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When your website is ranking high on keywords relevant to your brand, you become more discoverable by potential customers. A case study from a US-based marketing company in 2011 also showed that more people signed up to a web page that has long-form content. The theory behind this is that potential customers get everything they need to know from a long-form article, so they become ready to convert by the end.

3. Long-form content is seen as more authoritative

If you wanted to learn how to build a DIY bathroom cabinet, which type of content would you turn to: a 300-word blog post or a longer article? For a lot of people, it would be the latter. The higher word count provides the opportunity for a more in-depth discussion, giving value to readers. In fact, Google itself helps readers discover more in-depth articles.

4. Long-form content is evergreen

Years after its creation, long-form content can still give you traffic, shares and SERP rankings. This is because quality content that includes a broad range of information is useful to readers. Of course, you have to make sure that the information you include is updated when there are developments on your topic. The good news is you only replace the old data with a new one. You will still end up with a long, in-depth article that’s relevant to readers.

Of course, this is not to say that shorter blog posts and articles are worthless. On the contrary, they serve their own purposes. But if you haven’t been utilising long-form content as a part of your digital marketing strategy, now is the right time to consider doing so.

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