Long Form Blog Content Is Essential To Survive

We know that the web is a medium for short attention spans.

We know that Facebook, email, and having a million browser tabs open has fractured our minds into a million pieces that cannot concentrate for more than 10 seconds at a time.

We want something and we want it now.

My wife tells me that I have music “Squirrel” as a reference to the A.D.D. dog in the movie Up. She’s commenting on the fact that sometimes I don’t get through a single song before wanting to change it to something else flashing through my mind at the same time.

I still read a lot of books, and I still read a lot of long-form journalism and blog posts. What’s changed is that I need to see the value up front in long-form writing. I still seek it out as hard as I always have, however.

And so are your customers.

It’s The Information And Value You Provide

When your readers find you, they have something extremely specific that they’re looking for. They want to become informed consumers. They want to know how to fix something. They want knowledge in a form that they can swallow. It’s up to you to find out what specifically they’re looking for.

If you can provide it, you’re golden. It doesn’t matter if your blog posts are 200 words or 2,000 at that point.

Find Awesome Subject Matter

You probably know a lot about your industry and your business. So make sure that you’re talking with them in a language they understand.

If their eyes gloss over at the use of acronyms, or 25 syllable words that look like they belong on the back of a shampoo bottle, it’s time explain things in a useful way that they’ll understand. You’ll also need to make sure they’ll find it useful and interesting to read.

  • What are the subjects customers have asked you about in the past?
  • What keywords are they searching for? You can find out through the Google keyword tool.
  • What types of posts in your industry tend to attract more comments and interaction on other blogs?

Asking these questions should hopefully start you thinking from your customers’ perspective. They’re the ones who will determine whether your blog content is awesome. Not you.

Break It Into Manageable Chunks

Your customers are looking for the answers, but they don’t have a lot of patience in finding them. Anything you can do to make your blog more readable will be well-received.

Lists, subheads and short paragraphs are readers’ best friends on the web – especially when we start talking about mobile. There’s nothing more frustrating than a solid block of content that doesn’t end. Don’t fall into that trap.

Sharpen Your Ideas

A poorly executed 200-word post is going to suck even more if you try to extend it out. So, as you consider providing added information in the form of extended blog posts, make sure that you have well-executed ideas.

The key is to stay on point. When you veer off topic and wander around, you’re going to lose people in the weeds. If it helps you, scratch out an outline on a piece of paper or on the back of a cocktail napkin. Make sure that you hit the points you’re looking to hit. You’ll also want to make sure that your idea has enough power to be broken down into several smaller segments that you can cover. If there’s not enough there to make it compelling for you, your readers are sure to feel the same way.

A few short anecdotes are acceptable, but diverting from the main topic of your blog post when no one’s sure you’re coming back is unacceptable.

More Content Is A Win For Customers And Search Engines

Your readers are craving content, and Google knows this. That’s why they’re looking at several different ways to tweak their algorithms, giving rise to well-written work.

Keywords still clue search engines into what you’re talking about, but the days when you can keyword spam the search engines into submission are over, however. So don’t be afraid to use a pronoun. You’ll sound human. If you want to win in the content game, it’s time to create an online marketing campaign that revolves around the people who read your work and may actually buy stuff.

This is especially true when we’re talking about longer posts. You have to keep your customers’ attention through the whole piece.

 

Conclusion

It’s time to build up your courage, and try your hand at writing a longer post. Don’t shy away from in-depth. Become good at explaining these topics in a way that will mean something to your customers. This is how you’ll build credibility as a business with your customers and the search engines.

Have you tried long form blog posts in the past? What type of success have you had?

Matt Brennan is a Chicago-based marketing writer and copy editor