High quality content creation is crucial these days! One of the ways to produce it on your blog is to publish long form content. I wrote a post a while back on why you should consider writing, now I’m going into more detail as to how to create it.
It’s not enough to write 5 large, descriptive paragraphs in your editor and hit post when it comes to publishing long-form content on your site. Writing long-form stills means that the post needs to have dimension; meaning images and graphics, headings, and of course we can’t forget call-to-actions to support the content. Long-form content needs to be both educational and engaging, otherwise people will feel like they’re reading a term paper.
Unfortunately, no matter how valuable your content is, if it’s not visually stimulating, it will most likely not resonate with nearly as many as it could if it were. That’s the way of the online world we live in these days.
There’s a reason why Instagram is one of the top-used and engaged social media platforms, people like to look at pretty things, even when those things are words on a screen. Even Facebook and Twitter have jumped on the visually stimulating trend, changing how they display content to include more graphics and images and dynamic looking text in feeds.
Long Form Content Tip #1
Format Structure & Dimension Is A Necessity, here’s why:
Recently, I came across a long-form blog post from a fellow creative, and although the headline piqued my interest and subject matter was something that I wanted to find out more about, I was barely able to scan the post and pick out the major points. I became bored and uninterested within seconds, because all I saw were words, words, words, and more words on the page.
Sidenote: It’s never a good idea to just have lots of black words against a white background, with little to no dimension outside of the spacing between paragraphs. It also doesn’t help when the paragraphs were huge, long chunky ones, in that there isn’t enough white space to properly break up the text to give readers poor eyeballs a rest every now and again while reading.
I wasn’t able to pull out specific parts of the post to hold my attention, because of the lack of formatting. It may sound lazy or superficial, but the truth of the matter is that most people are seldom going to read your post in its entirety. People are time-constrained, in addition to living in a world of instant gratification, they’re used to digesting information expeditiously.
Don’t Make Your Audience Wait
When you make people wait for things they usually end up dismissing it and sometimes you loose them forever. By not making your content as easily accessible to them as the next Jane Doe does, you are hurting the chances of your content being received and shared.
Not taking the time to format your long-form content and make it easy to read tells your readers that you don’t care about them. It also shows a lack of effort and laziness in the content you produce. If it’s one thing that people need to see, its effort. One of my number one turns off to me unfollowing a blog or unsubscribing from a newsletter is a lack of effort on the publisher’s part.
Long Form Content Tip #2
How to Breakup & Format Long Form Content
Long-form blog writing should still include short (3-5 sentences), descriptive, and concise paragraphs for starters.
Large paragraphs (those more than 5 sentences) should be broken up by subheadings, some type of graphic or image, or at the very least a horizontal line. A huge paragraph without any separation can overwhelm the reader, and as I’ve said before simply bore them. Even if the large paragraph has a heading, it’s still not enough to keep someone visually stimulated and engaged if it’s followed by huge chunks of text.
Break The Monotony
If you think about it, most lengthy documents, such as white papers and research papers include supporting graphics, even though the focus is on the content and results. I can’t remember one paper that was more than a page (3 paragraphs) that I wrote in college, that I didn’t include some type of formatting to break the text.
Looking at newspapers and magazines, they do much of the same thing, because the eyes can only handle so much monotony. The only place you don’t see as much formatting is in a novel, and even in them you see quotations and other punctuation that helps to break up the text and add emphasis to the storyline.
Please The Eye
Blogs and writing online in general, follow different sets of rules than all of the aforementioned. Online content exist to please the eye, whether its words or images. Due to the fact that you’re viewing content in an intangible form online, meaning you can’t pick it up, you can’t hold it, smell it, eat it, etc. you have to fun dynamic and creative ways to display it. Explaining a process via long-form writing must do more than just tell how, it needs to show how.
Long Form Content Tip #3
Long Form Should Be Dynamic
This means your content needs to be interesting! I’m sure we’ve all had to read something (usually in school) that bored our brains out. It was probably the driest, most uninteresting thing you’ve ever read. Long form content, even more than shorter form content, has to be epic, relevant, and intriguing.
Including a story, image, anecdote, statistic, or quote helps long form content to be more interesting and dynamic. Not only are you showing that you can relate supporting content to whatever you are writing about, it one more thing that stimulates your reader and encourages them to continue reading.
Readers will be motivated to read your content when they enjoy it. Even better, they will be willing to share it, which in turn drives traffic to your site, building your audience and following.
Long Form Content Tip #4
Long Form Should Be Thorough
The meatier your posts are, giving your audience as much detail and value as possible is what is going to help position you as any authority on whatever topic you are writing on. However, meaty posts should not be full of fluff and should serve to educate and connect with your readers.
What Makes Up The Long Form Content Pie
Long form content should be one part story and one part facts. When you combine the two, organize it sensibly, and format it for easy reading, your audience will be able to connect to your content, which builds their trust in you. They will know that you put in the time and effort to bring them high quality content that can help them in their endeavors. In addition, it also shows them that you aren’t afraid or too good to share your personal experiences with them, as it relates to the topic.
When it comes to content creation, long form can be both challenging and time consuming to produce. However, it goes much further than shorter form content. Publishing long form content makes it easier for you to repurpose, because there is so much information there that you can use to share on other platforms.
Oftentimes, I’ve been able to use content from one long form blog post for a podcast episode, social media post, and in my mailings to my email list. Oh and did I mention, to also create content upgrades that I include in many of my blog posts, which helps with list building generation as well. The more content I have to work with, the easier it is for me to create resources for my audience. This is how long form content benefits me in my blogging and business endeavors, which is crucial for the success of it.
So tell me, what type of content do you create, and why? –Which type of content have you found resonates most with your audience?