The reality for many marketers out there is that it’s becoming more difficult to create authentic content that stands out.
In a space of information overload, companies and marketers are moving away from shallow, bite-size pieces to more time in-depth content — to make their voice heard and build a more authentic experience.
In such times, publishing valuable content becomes the baseline.
In this article, I will share some key areas that show why long-form content is important to build authenticity.
1. All about data
It’s common knowledge that articles of about 1,200 to 2,000 words are typically considered long-form. Truth be told, these numbers are actually increasing, with 3,000 to 10,000 words now becoming the new standard.
Why? Because long-form content has proven to perform better in search engines, encourage more social shares, and increase on-page time exponentially.
When articles are longer, better researched, well-written, and keyword-optimized, they become immensely valuable — and the ROI people get out of them is tremendous.
For instance, two 7 and 9 minute-long articles that I wrote on Medium in December 2018, are still bringing me views and reads even after 5 months. So, this works!
And to prove the theory, many authorities in the space have crunched the numbers to showcase the science behind it.
- Medium, the popular online publishing platform found that the most popular posts take 7.3 minutes to read and have an optimum length of around 1,600 words.
- BuzzSumo and Moz collaborated to analyze over 1 million articles, looking at how content, shares, and links are correlated. The insights revealed that long-form articles, defined as pieces over 1,000 words, are shared more than the short-form ones.
- Noah Kagan of BuzzSumo analyzed the social share of over 100 million articles to identify what gets shared the most. The insights showed that the longer the content is, the more shares it gets; specifically, 3,000–10,000-word articles get the average shares of 8,859.
- Brian Dean of Backlinko analyzed 1 million Google search results to identify the factors that impact search engine rankings, including article length. Results show that the average first-page result on Google contains 1,890 words.
So now that I’ve shed light on the science behind long-form content, it’s time to invest in it.
Valuable content deserves more time and effort spent writing and researching. The idea is to publish less but smarter and always remember that the ultimate goal is to educate and bring value to readers.
2. A frame for valuable ideas
Today, experts across many industries can easily use their voice to self-publish stories and share unique ideas, experiences, and perspectives.
Connecting writers and readers through quality content that is written with clear editorial principles that revolve around purpose, by people who are not afraid to deconstruct bold ideas, and finally, who take the time to reach out to the community at large, should be the very foundation of content creation.
The idea is to make your content authentic, by supporting your arguments with advice, relevant data, and statistics from reputable sources and experts.
Creating content that is rich, informative and opinionated requires more time — but the benefits are great.
In this context, valuable is related not only to the strength of the ideas, but also how they are framed, the way knowledge is curated and shared, and the experiences readers can relate to.
3. Thought leadership
Becoming a thought leader is all about sharing expertise and unique experiences with your readers.
To connect with readers, you’ve got to tell your story with clarity, poise, and offer knowledge and facts.
To portray yourself as an expert, write accurately and consistently around a certain topic. This way, long-form content is your way to dominate a subject matter in a way that adds value to readers.
Also, think like a journalist and before hitting publish, ask yourself some questions. What message do you want to convey? What story do you want to tell? What will the reader gain out of it?
No matter what your stance or point of view is, become someone who readers see as an authority in the field.
4. Backed by SEO
Based on the data shared above, you should already be confident that if you write a long article, it will instantly have a higher chance of ranking well in Google.
When an article is longer (without depriving it of quality), Google can easily identify what the copy is about. And if you optimize it well, you can rank for multiple long tail keywords, which get less search traffic but usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more targeted.
The idea behind SEO is that search engines crawl the Internet and rank information that’s more relevant and authoritative.
5. Evergreen content
Yes, content is king, but evergreen content is the all-time ruler. Evergreen content never loses its value because it focuses on enduring ideas that will have currency for a long period of time, retaining its relevance because it addresses universal topics.
If you’re going to master the art of writing, focus on content that will keep providing benefits indefinitely — and boost up your authority, traffic, and visibility.
Weave your ideas into timeless articles and let the evergreen take over from the moment you hit publish.
6. Recycle and repurpose
Finding ways to repurpose long content also helps to expand the longevity of the articles’ performance value and fills your editorial calendar with versatile content.
In many cases, your original piece may have only made an impression with a group of readers, but repurposing it for different mediums allows you to meet a completely new audience.
For instance, a long piece can be broken down and converted into a series of individual articles as well as infographics and videos. This way, you can expand on different aspects of the original story and zoom in on other ideas.
Remember, publishing quality content on a single topic can help raise your profile in the industry and teach others to regard you as an authority.
Content creation is a process that needs plenty of work and time, but knowing your stories are being read and appreciated over a long period is priceless.
But to inspire and drive change through content that matters, don’t forget to anchor your work on these principles:
- Be a knowledge sponge — Read, read, read. Enough said.
- Share ideas — Devote research to a specific topic. Don’t be afraid to share ideas and dedicate time writing a compelling story. Think outside the box. Ask questions. Look for experts who have things to say.
- Develop language agility — Competition is fierce and to be noticed, you need to write deftly. Also be personal, direct, and educational.
- Put quality at the forefront — Depth matters, quality matters, and this is the best way to create content that is qualitative.
- Think consistency — Invest time and effort in your content and publish consistently. The process can be slow, but eventually, your audience will gradually grow and engage with your stories.
Nobody says that writing long articles is easy but as with everything, practice makes perfect so keep on reading, learning, asking questions. And keep on writing.