Fluff bloggers beware: a 2017 study from Point Visible found that long-form content generates more than 9 times the leads that short blogs posts do.
This statistic challenges a long-held assumption in the marketing world: short content is better because it better accommodates the short attention span of web users.
And sure, it’s still true: the average user stays on a page for less than a minute. So why then does long-form content work? Maybe it’s a matter of not just targeting the average user—but the right user for your brand.
In this article, we’ll discuss five reasons why long-form content works, going into core but often forgotten concepts.
1. Long-Form Content Gives Detail
Often the misconception these days is that everything is TL;DR. So we try to simplify and summarize all of our ideas before our reader leaves us for some other competing content.
However, something that is lost in short-form is detail. Long-form content is often great because it goes into detail. It provides authentic value to users that they don’t get just from a short self-promotional blast. Longer content provides information that they can’t get in other places.
2. Beginning, Middle, and End
Have you ever read a short-form piece and had no idea what the context was? You found yourself conducting multiple Google searches to try to understand, and maybe you even gave up.
In our world of bite-size content, readers want to have something explained to them and fleshed out. They are looking to understand processes.
Short-form often makes readers feel out of the loop because it addresses only one small part of an issue, and the reader is left in the lurch.
Long-form content provides a beginning, a middle, and an end, allowing the reader to stay on one page instead of completing multiple searches to find answers.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Readers stay with long-form posts because these articles offer well-rounded explanations of a subject. ” quote=”Readers stay with long-form posts because these articles offer well-rounded explanations of a subject. “]You, dear writer, have to take advantage of the unique structure that long-form allows.
3. Long-Form Content Invests Users in Your Site
If long-form content is between 1200 and 2000 words, a reader has a while to spend on your site. And when readers have spent time on your website—the time that it takes to commit to a long-form post—they become invested and are more likely to return.
Readers are more likely to remember where they read something after spending more time on that site. Long-form allows you more space on your page to use banners and links to remind readers where they are.
Users also become invested because long-form tends to give them a better experience. This principle applies to all kinds of content. For example, think about what makes a good consumer review.
Consumer review websites that tend to get great traffic have at least one thing in common. Rather than posting rushed word blasts with a simple “buy” or “don’t buy,” they usually feature meatier and more organized content that takes the time to evaluate all of a product’s pros and cons.
This same principle is why long-form generally works. It’s usually a better experience and therefore a more attractive value proposition to your users.
4. More Search Traffic
It makes sense, but you might not think about it: your long-form post is more likely than a short post to appear on Google searches. A higher word count allows for higher search traffic.
Longer content allows you to cover all of your targeted search terms within one piece, whereas a short-form piece might only include one or two on a subject.
Appearing in more Google searches will, in turn, give you more linkbacks when other writers Google various search terms that support their own posts.
5. People Are More Likely to Share
Here’s another one that defies what we often think about content: long-form content will rack up the social shares faster than short-form will.
Most writers aren’t taking the time to write longer posts, so you are filling a niche that the reader desires. People want to share challenging reads where they learn something from someone else’s research. That way they, in turn, can curate a more knowledgeable image.
All this being said, quality still matters. I’m not encouraging you to write drivel for 2000 words and then sit back and wait for more traffic.
Choose topics that inspire you enough to write something 1200 to 2000 words long so that your quality doesn’t take a beating. Otherwise, it’s better to stick to well-written short-form content.
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