How Long-Form Content Moves the Needle for Online Retailers
In the world of online retail, content is everything. It’s how you create awareness, generate traffic, and convert traffic into sales. However, not all content is created equal — especially as competition and noise increases.
What is Long-Form Content?
Just six years or seven years ago, most businesses and bloggers were pushing out 300-word to 600-word blog posts. The theory was that quantity of posts was more important than quality (so long as you were able to stuff enough keywords into the copy). As time has passed, however, Google and other search engines have put an increased emphasis on the quality of content and the information/user experience individual posts provide. As a result, long-form content has become the better option.
While there’s no standard definition, long-form content is best described as content that’s 1,000 words to 10,000 words in length. In other words, it’s long enough to on the subject matter, but still brief enough to constitute a blog post and not a book. Some of the benefits of long-form content include:
- Greater visibility: There’s ample research to suggest that posts with content length above 2,000 words eclipse shorter-form articles in search engines.
- More social shares: Long-from content tends to attract more eyeballs and include more links. This encourages social sharing, which results in even more traffic and exposure.
- Search engine optimization-friendly: As mentioned, Google prefers in-depth content to shallow content. Therefore, if you’re looking for ways to enhance your SEO efforts, longer articles and posts are the way to go.
- Thought leadership: From a practical point of view, people trust brands and business leaders that know what they’re talking about. Long-form content proves subject matter expertise and plays a role in establishing thought leadership.
How to Properly Leverage Long-Form Content
Long-form content requires more time, planning and effort. So if you’re going to do it, you need to do it right. Here are some tips for success:
1. Be regular.
One long-form post every six months doesn’t cut it. While quality is the main concern, quantity is also important. Regularity pays dividends over the long haul. Aim for at least one long-form post per week. This gives you roughly 50 quality pieces of content each year.
2. Be consistent.
It’s easy to go astray with long-form content. When you feel the need to stretch a topic to 3,000 words or 5,000 words, it’s tempting to fluff things up or go off script. But as any good digital marketer knows, consistency is the bedrock of a brand.
3. Use variety.
Traditional text-based copy isn’t nearly as effective as it was just a few years ago. The internet has become a much more visually rich place, and content marketers must adjust their strategies to account for multimedia elements — particularly in long-form content where it’s necessary to hold the reader’s attention.
If you look at the brands that are killing it in the digital content space these days, you’ll find that they use a lot of variety in their long-form copy. For example, does a good job of incorporating text, images and charts to keep readers visually engaged with the content.
4. Make it evergreen.
Long-form content takes time to develop. And if you’re paying for a copywriter to develop content for you, it can get expensive. There’s no sense in wasting these investments on content that will be irrelevant in two months. The best long-form content is evergreen, meaning it holds its value for years.
Good evergreen topics include how-to articles, listicles, feature stories and interviews. Every post doesn’t have to fall under this category, but the bulk of your content strategy should have long-term impact.
Develop a Content Sharing Strategy
In addition to honing your long-form content strategy, you also need to develop a sharing strategy that allows you to generate clicks, traffic and, ultimately, conversions. Doing the former without the latter will undermine your efforts and minimize your impact.
Take the time to flesh out the details and take charge of your brand’s image.
Anna Johansson is a freelance writer with a special passion for entrepreneurial and marketing-related topics.