The best thing you can do for your online marketing strategy is to write long-form content. Now you may ask, why long-form content?
Long-form content has two types of advantages.
- It helps you rank better in Google and other search engines.
- It presents you as an authority on the subject.
Content is King. It’s only through content that you can reach your target audience by writing educational content that can help them solve their problems.
The ideal long-form content has a length of about 3,000 words. This much amount of numbers makes it easier for the reader to know everything she wants to know about a subject.
Marketing gurus are of the view that a long-form content of 3000 words is truly helpful for the readers.
As I mentioned before, such long content not only establishes your authority but also becomes the reason of forcklinks to your website. The more backlinks you have the stronger your website gets in terms of ranking.
It’s my personal experience that my posts that are long, get indexed in Google easily and these are the same posts that are being read by my audience. It’s not just me, but if you observe, almost every successful blogger is working on long-form content strategy.
Now you maybe thinking, how can I write 3000 words long posts every time?. No doubt, in the beginning, writing long posts looks hard. But I am going to tell you how you can do this in easy steps.
Think about an idea for an article
The first thing you need to do is to think about the idea of your article. Spend some time brainstorming your idea and then go to Google and research about the article you want to write.
Researching articles is a thing of art and practice. You will find the with time you are becoming a good researcher and writing long content is becoming your second nature. Invest a good deal of time in becoming a professional content writer.
Write about what you know
The easiest way to write long content is to first understand and know your subject.If you know your subject, it won’t be difficult for you to write lengthy posts about it. On the other, if you don’t know your topic then you will heavily rely on external links and ambiguous and incoherent write- up. No matter how long you write your post, but if it is not coherent and isn’t coming out of your own mind with clarity, your audience isn’t going to get anything of it.
It is advisable that first, you spend some time with your article in hand, do some research and once your idea is clear, only then write about it. This way you are bound to produce amazing, interesting article that your audience will not only get benefit from but they will also feel compelled to share with your friends at Social Media. The more your article will get share the more eyes will read, and the chances will be far brighter for being recognized as an expert in your field.
Building your outline
Ask any writer about how to make outline and he will come up with something like this.
Sure, these types of outlines are quite handy for writing academic type of content, but when it comes to write blog posts, this is surely not a good way to do that.
For writing online article, the best approach is to make a simple outline. For example, it can consist of subheadings you are going to make in your article. Or, if you are comfortable with bullet list, you can go for it too.
Whether numbering or bullet list, just go through this phase fast. Don’t waste too much time on it. Just have an idea of what you are going to write in your article and jump to the draft phase as soon as possible.
Getting your sources (Primary and Secondary)
Once you have made your simple outline comprising of bullet list or number list, the next step is to gather your sources.
Why we need sources for our article? Because, they add life to your article and without them, the authenticity factor looks missing, hence your audience won’t be able to trust what you are writing.
When getting to your sources keep in mind two things.
- They should be trustworthy
- They should be relevant.
The best way to get your sources is to rely on case studies as they are both trustworthy and relevant and will help you establish trust with your reader.
Here are some great places to look for sources:
- Online publications
- Research-based sites
- Industry blogs
The best practice is to go for primary sources over the secondary sources. Original research is always welcome (Primary source) and is often credible too.
Here’s an example of Buffer using a primary source:
Sure, it’s not necessary that the primary source should be your own, or that you should research by your own. In the example above, see we have cited Buffer post and its perfectly alright to have such a credible source as primary source in your article.
Best writing tip
The best writing tip that I want to give you is that before doing anything for writing, first find your sources.
The benefit of finding your sources first is that you will have ample time to read them and to adjust them into your article. Often it happens that your article’s tone and structure will be based upon your source so if you will read it later or collect it later, you will find it problematic to insert it in your article.
The best approach is, therefore, to get your sources first.You will find that your writing is getting smoother because sketch is already prepared in your mind and you won’t find any trouble in writing long-form content. The best thing, you will save a lot of time too.
Then, you will like to look back at your outline, try to figure out main points. For each main point give one or two primary sources to support your arguments.
Draft with detail
The next step after gathering your sources (Primary and seconday) the next step is to getting your first draft written. And the most important thing when writing a draft is: detail.
Writing detailed content is very important for both readers and search engines.
Writing shorter content can work well too, but for establishing yourself as an authority and getting reader’s attention, you have no way but to write longer posts. The more detailed you can give to your reader, the more problem solving your posts will be.
Here’s the problem. Most bloggers think that their audience already knows about things they are going to write. So they write short posts. This the rookie mistake. The writer in detail.
Here’s the rule of thumb: Always write a detailed post than write a short post.
When writing your draft don’t think about perfection. Your first job is just to pour your thoughts and words on the paper. No matter you think your draft is ugly, full of mistakes, or just doesn’t make sense. Just focus on bringing your words on to the paper. You can always edit your work later.
Here are the things you must consider while drafting your article.
Break it down
While writing massive posts, it’s handy and beneficial to break your article into many parts. After breaking your article into different parts, try to explain each part as best as you can.
At the time of writing an article ask yourself following questions. This practice will help you write long posts and keep you focused.
- If your reader is new to this topic, what type of questions he would have?
- Have you written in a way that every part of your article is easily digestible for your reader?
- Have you explained some technical jargon that can create confusion for your reader? Have you explained terminologies well?
Just in case you are writing about some advanced application of a talk, do insert the beginners guide in that article. This way, any reader who wants to learn the basics of the same topic, can do so easily. After understanding the basics, he can then come back to read your advanced application article.
The best practice for writing a long post is to insert a table of content into your article. Of course, this section will come at the start.
Kolakube uses them nicely:
Always keep in mind that your foremost goal is to help your reader. When you are inserting a table of content, you are actually helping your audience by breaking down the article into different coherent parts.
Now its time to build pillars of your content. Go back and revisit your worked out outline again, and go through your main points.At least you should have 5–7 points that you are going to discuss in your article. These main points work as the pillar of your article, they are there for supporting your central argument.
For example, take a look at this Kissmetrics article:
In this article, The title is working as the main point, and the subheadings are the pillar on which this whole article stands.
This is the standard format you should look to copy. Every successful blogger uses subheadings as pillars, use them.
One final word
When writing the draft, try to make your subheadings and main text longer than usual. Here’s why. When you will edit your work, you will be cutting a lot of material out. At the phase, if you have already written a lot of content, you will find it easy to have a good length of content.
So, if you are aiming at writing 3000 words article, then you must write around 3600 words draft.
When your draft is done, take a break. Some writers recommend that you must leave your first draft for 12 hours. Go to sleep or do something entirely different. Don’t think about your draft at all.
Next day, come back to your draft and start editing. This way you will have a fresh look at your draft and it will help you do better editing.
At the time of editing, do read your whole draft first. Even better if you read it loud. Researchers say you will notice mistakes you might not otherwise notice.)
While reading your draft make sure that every sentence is perfect, making proper sense and everything is written in detail.
For making editing even more effective, its good approach to use some app too. At first, put your draft into spell checker to make sure there is no spelling error in your writing. A word of caution: Spell checking aps are good but still use your eyes to check for spelling errors.
Next, use Grammarly. It’s a free grammar checker that will highlight any errors and help you correct them.
After passing your draft from Grammarly, it is recommended to check it through Finally, the Hemingway app. It is an awesome text editor that will point out long sentences, complex words, and adverbs.
The idea behind Hemingway is to make your writing more concise and more powerful.
Finally, give your article one last run-through, and if it looks good, it’s ready to be published.
Writing 3000 words long post isn’t that difficult.
And I assure you, with practice- you can make this hard looking thing quite easy.
If you grab this formula: Finding your topic, getting your sources, building pillars, writing with detail and editing, you will find that it’s quite easy to write long posts.
The thing is you should know your topic well. If you know well, you will never go fail in adopting this formula.
Next time when you are trying to write a long post, do so by applying the formula I just mentioned.
- Find your topic
- Gather your sources (Primary and Secondary)
- Build pillars (Title and Subheadings)
- Write in detail
- Edit your work
Now your turn. What’s your biggest challenge with writing long-form content?