How To Write Longer Content Like A Pro

Writing short, sparse posts can only get you so far. Studies suggest that writing longer articles could be the key to content marketing success.

John was never great at DIY.

Longer content is the way forward. That’s the focus of this article and I’ll explain why later on.

Plus if you stick around ’til the end, I’ll share with you my secret framework that I use to write long-form content for myself and for my clients.

But first —

A Little Thing Called Content Marketing

Let’s face it. Every company out there knows about content marketing.

In fact, a massive 89% of SaaS companies maintain a blog of some sort.

There’s a reason for that, right?

It’s because it works.

Some more stats from that same link:

  • The average SaaS blog generates 573 organic search visits per month.
  • The top-performing blogs generate over 45,000 organic traffic visits a month.
  • The best blog posts have the potential to reach 1000s of social shares.

So yeah, this little thing called content marketing is a pretty big deal. If you aren’t using it, then you should be. If you are using it, but not seeing much success, then you aren’t doing it right.

Successful content marketing has to provide value.

Write that down somewhere because it’s probably the most important thing I’ll say in this article.

You know what? I’ll say it again…

Successful content marketing has to provide value.

It could be that you entertain your audience, more commonly it’s that you’re educating them about something (much like this article). Hopefully it’s a combination of the two.

And the one thing content marketing shouldn’t be is a sales pitch. Nobody finds value in a sales pitch, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record:

Successful content marketing has to provide value.

Not the catchiest catchphrase, but it’ll do.

The reason that you need to provide value is that it ensures your prospects stick around.

They’ll follow you on social media (pretty good) and they’ll sign up to your mailing list (even better).

Speaking of which…

That was a cheeky little plug there. So what? Sue me.

Anyway, now that you’ve (ahem) signed up to my mailing list, let me continue.

If your prospects perceive you as a solution to their problems, guess who they’ll turn to in their time of need…

That’s right. You.

Over time they’ll become increasingly aware of what you offer, and also that you aren’t just talking the talk.

And once they trust you, making that sale is a walk in the park.

But don’t for one second believe that content marketing is easy. In fact —

Content Marketing Is Hard

There’s a reason that people hire people like me to write content for them.

It’s because it’s hard. It takes time, it takes effort. It’s not just about putting words down on a page, it’s about understanding your audience, researching your topic.

And well, sure, it’s a little bit about putting words down on a page.

It seems to me that most people think, “Huh. I can write. I learned as a kid. So I’ll do my own content. How hard can it be?”

I can see the logic there, even if it is wrong.

Let’s put it this way…

Huh. I can run. I learned as a kid. So I’ll run a marathon. How hard can it be?

Anyone reading this who’s attempted a marathon knows exactly how hard it can be.

To get to that level of running ability, to reach the point where you can finish a marathon without collapsing in a crumpled heap, that takes time.

It takes time and practice. If you put the hours in, then sure, you’re going to improve, and eventually you’ll be a content pro.

But most SaaS founders don’t have those hours spare. They’re too busy actually running their business.

That’s why they attempt to write their own content but only do so half-heartedly.

They can’t put all their effort into it because they’re cramming it in alongside every other facet of their duties as a founder.

And the content they produce is often lacking. Maybe, just maybe, if they have a stroke of genius, they’ll produce something great.

But most of the time, it’s lacking.

Here are some signs that your content is lacking:

  • It’s short — let’s say, around 500 words. That’s not a bad length, but it doesn’t let you go into detail.
  • No links — if you aren’t linking to other blogs or studies then I’m convinced you’ve done any research at all.
  • Rehashing — simply repeating what more established blogs are producing won’t work. You need your own spin.

If any of those warning signs applies to your content, then I bet you’re rushed off your feet running a business, and don’t have time to spend on content.

That’s going to prove problematic, because —

Size Does Matter After All

I’m afraid to say it, but your articles are too short.

I know we’re led to believe that size doesn’t matter, but at the end of the day, it kind of does.

When you write a short article, I imagine you justify it in your head with:

“Well, people have shorter attention spans than goldfish, and a goldfish would never read more than 2000 words. Therefore, my audience definitely won’t.”

Yeah, I’ve been there. I used to think the same.

But then I started writing longer content, around the 2000 word mark, and I noticed something amazing.

Those posts were getting shared more, people were signing up to my mailing list, following me on social media. Oh, and they were being read more.

That told me two things.

One — I was an idiot for ever underestimating the goldfish.

Two — long-form content is the way forward.

But that’s anecdotal right? You want some data, you want some numbers, some cold, hard facts.

Okay.

Hubspot, the gods of Inbound Marketing, conducted a study on their own content.

Here are some things they found:

  • Articles with a word count of around 2,500 words garnered the most organic traffic.
  • Articles with a word count of 2,500+ words were shared the most on social media.
  • Articles with a word count of over 2,500 produced the most backlinks.

If that doesn’t convince you, then I’m afraid nothing will.

But if that’s made you sit up and realize that long-form content is key to being successful, then listen up.

I’m about to give you one hell of a gift. I’m going to explain how I write longer content, and how you can too, using —

My Secret Framework

https://imgur.com/gallery/7j15tXU

You’ve made it to the good bit. This is the part where Neo finally sees the Matrix for what it really is.

Before we go any further, I do have a favor to ask. I like to think that I’m providing a ton of value for you, and this framework is great. I truly believe that.

And if this doesn’t help you to produce longer content, then you can send me a nasty email or something.

But it would mean a lot if you signed up to my email list using the form below.

No spam, just my latest articles (like this one) sent straight to your inbox. That’s it.

Okay, let’s do this.

This framework is an outline I use to ensure my content doesn’t meander aimlessly around a topic, and that it’s laser-focused on what I’m trying to explain.

This keeps the reader interested, and provides a logical flow to the article.

This is what my outline consists of…

The Focus:
Explain briefly what you’re going to talk about. What is the focus?

Leading Them In:
Most people will have a base knowledge of the subject. This is where you clarify that base knowledge and lead them in to the topic.

Sit Up And Pay Attention:
With the help of stats or expert opinion, show the audience that the topic is super important and they really, really need to take notice.

The Meat:
This is the premise of the article, explaining what you have to say on the topic.

Something To Take Away:
Once you’ve explained the theory, you need to give them something practical that they can go away and work with.

Bring It All Together:
Finish off by summarizing and bringing together the key points of the article.

Those six sections are what I use to write my articles. It works.

It makes your life easier as a writer because you know what you have to write and where you’re going with it.

It makes it easier to read because it follows a logical path through the topic rather than skirting around the edges.

I often find examples help, so here’s that framework applied to this article that you’re reading now…

The Focus:
I explain that longer content is the way forward, and that if you stick around I’ll share my framework with you.

Leading Them In:
I talk about content marketing in more general terms, which most people know at least a little something about.

Sit Up And Pay Attention:
I use stats to show why content marketing is so important, and the warning signs that suggest you aren’t doing it right.

The Meat:
I tell you that long-form content is better and provide data to prove my assertion, also explaining a little bit about why longer is better.

Something To Take Away:
I share my framework that I use to create long-form content, and then explain a few key principles.

Bring It All Together:
I summarize everything I cover in the article and prompt people to take their next step with longer content.

Okay, so that’s the exact framework I used for this article. How meta of me.

If you were paying attention to that example, you’ll know that the next section is all about —

The Key Principles Of Longer Content

These are a few more tips and tricks that will help improve your long-form content.

1. Sections Are Your Friend
Everybody hates long sections of text that seem to cover a million different things. It’s hard to keep track of and it stinks of amateurism.

Instead, break your article up into sections. Each section should cover one aspect of your topic. The minute you find yourself drifting into something else, it’s time for a new subheading.

2. Use Imagery
An image here and there breaks up the flow of text and makes your article more visually appealing. More importantly, it gives our eyes a break.

I get my images using Unsplash or Pixabay, which both offer great images that are royalty free.

3. A Good Headline
While I don’t believe a headline can make or break your content, it sure helps to have a good one.

Use a tool like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and aim for a score of roughly 70 or over.

4. Know Your Audience
This applies to any content really, but if you know your audience well, you can speak their language.

This helps to engage them and makes them more likely to actually read what you’ve written.

5. Repeat Things
Don’t be afraid of repeating information. If something is important to the topic, then it’s actually worth repeating a couple of times.

If you’re writing an article that takes ten minutes to read, then reminding people of what they learned five minutes ago can hardly hurt.

So —

What’s Next?

I hate to say goodbye but that brings us to the end of my article.

You should now understand how important content marketing is to your business, and how most people are doing it wrong.

But you also now know how to do it right. You know that longer content often means better content, and that it’s worth taking the time to create.

I’ve shared my framework and some key pointers with you. You can use that as a template when it comes to writing your own long-form content.

This article took me three hours to write and research. With practice, I’m sure you can achieve that too.

That’s three hours of your week to produce frequent long-form content. That’s nothing, not really.

So you have no excuse.

Use my framework, keep my principles in mind, and get writing.

If you have any questions or if you want to share your article with me, then please do send them over to joe@thismonkeytypes.com.

And remember, altogether now:

Successful content marketing has to provide value.

Preach it sister.


PS. If it seems like producing longer content is out of your reach, then you should know I’m currently accepting new clients. If you want me to write content for you, then get in touch!

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