You might think that listicles and snappy blog posts are the best way to serve your audience. After all, due to social media and the proliferation of bite-sized content, people these days have the average attention span of a gnat. But there are ways to truly grab the attention of your customers that don’t involve viral headlines and quick-glance lists; methods that are subtler, yet infinitely more powerful. Introducing (drumroll please!) the long form article.
What does long-form mean?
Put simply, long form means a longer, more considered piece of content that has taken time and effort to produce. Long-form doesn’t have to mean boring or rambling though. In fact, the power of a good long form article is that it only contains information that’s highly useful to your reader. It’s a waffle-free entity. It’s well researched. And it’s bursting with juicy, authoritative facts. Sounds irresistible, doesn’t it?
Why long form rules
Long form is in fact what we used to value before the web came along and made everything so…rushed. With this dash to churn out reams of content came the inevitable decline in quality and substance. And this is something people are finally getting tired of. Many of us are yearning for content we can truly learn from and digest; content that isn’t full of fluff and hasn’t been hastily banged out. And readers aren’t the only people who want this content. Search engines want to rank it highly, with the assumption that longer content is more comprehensive and therefore of a higher quality. In short, long form content is win-win for everyone.
Some tips for embarking on long form content
Now that you’re sold on the idea of producing the club sandwich of articles (as opposed to a rather limp peanut butter option), it’s time to plan what you’re going to write. The thing about long form articles is that they take time, effort and research. So, don’t expect yours to be finished in a jiffy. You’ll need to beef it up with interesting statistics, astounding facts and quality sources. You’ll also need to pack it with important, expert-led information that gets down to the nitty-gritty and isn’t afraid to do so. The devil is, quite literally, in the detail.
Here are some quick-fire tips for getting your long-form article just right:
Choose a topic that you know your readers are asking about. Make it a topic that recurs frequently in your industry, or your niche. Perhaps it’s something your business gets too many enquiries about. Or, maybe it’s something you see cropping up a lot in social media or networking groups. If you’re having trouble with the topic, why not throw it out there and ask your community or your customer base what they’d most like to see covered?
Come up with a logical structure and stick to it. For example, start by very broadly explaining the topic and get down to very specific sub-topics, one by one. Give each of your major points a subtitle and a paragraph of its own, thus making your piece delightfully scannable (we still want to cater for the speed readers, even though we’re going long form).
Pepper your article with interesting quotes, images, and even videos. Depending on the tone, you could even use GIFs. The point is to make it into something colourful and engaging that also draws on solid evidence to back it up. With a long form piece, don’t be slack when it comes to going the extra mile. Make a diagram to illustrate your point or link to some slides you made on the subject. Long form is about those little extras that you don’t usually get with a 400-word blog post. These extra elements add real value and make people want to share your article.
Ready to create something meaty? If you don’t have the time or the resources to create high quality content like this, help is at hand. I create shareworthy long form articles that drive people to take action. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.