The Longform Article: Why you need it

The longform article is meant to solve problems. But should…

The longform article is meant to solve problems. But should you use long form pieces for every business problem? Keep reading to find out why it can be beneficial for your business and in your marketing.

Traditionally, the longform article is a type of journalistic writing that focuses on research and analysis in depth. It’s not just a story about an event and a person. It’s a multi-part article that attempts to answer the questions, “Why did this happen”? and “What happens next”?

You can see how this would lend itself well to content marketing.

Let’s say a customer is looking for a resource about starting an online business. They expect that this will provide a complete overview of everything they need to know, as well as actionable tips for starting successful businesses.

If you wanted to provide this information because it relates to your business, long form content would be perfect for your website. This is because it gives you the opportunity to explain how to start a business in depth. It also gives you the opportunity to mention your products and services in passing.

There is no set definition for long form content. Content is often written and includes multimedia elements, including podcasts, audio effects, videos, images, animations, infographics, and much more.

There was a time when a long form article was considered to be anything over 1,000 words. Now, because of changes to Google’s algorithm, long content frequently crosses into the 2,000 mark.

Longform journalism is writing in an essay form and over a long period of time, often over multiple weeks or months. It is not specific to journalism, and can be found in magazines or books.

Long form journalism is useful for providing in-depth analysis and understanding. Meanwhile, long form content marketing is a good tool for educating a specific audience about a particular subject.

Quality content that demonstrates your brand’s expertise, industry knowledge, and original insight can be useful.

Like long form journalism, a piece of long content on your website asks questions. It goes beyond basic explanations of some topic in your industry.

When you offer long form content, you can educate customers through your funnel and help them succeed, even after you’ve closed the deal. They can find helpful user guides, troubleshooting guides, and ideas for making the most of your products and services.

Your target audience has qualified you as a great prospect if they read all the way through your long form content. Media and other companies are increasingly investing in long form content.

This is because long form article content has been shown to rank on the first page of Google. Search engine algorithms are designed to evaluate high-quality content, which often means long form meets the ‘intent’ of the search query.

Providing valuable information to the reader is the purpose of long-form content. Make sure your long form content is useful to your audience. You can increase the time spent on your site and the value you offer to your readers.

People have often talked about the benefits of long form versus its shorter formed cousin.

Short form is often truncated to a few paragraphs and is shared on a variety of platforms. It’s an easy way to get your message out. It’s great to use when you just want your reader to have a quick overview of your product or service.

Longform content is so comprehensive that it serves as a good source for short form content. Content and formats of long form can be extracted, repackaged, and repurposed to share with social media or incite readers to convert.

You can get many more references, infographics, lists, tutorials, webinars, step-by-step guides, and social media threads from the same longform article.

Because long form has become so important to business and marketing, it’s important that you know how to write it well.

Following these steps should help you get long form writing right:

1. Work hard on your paragraphs

Paragraphs are the building block of writing. Let’s say you write a longform article post and include paragraph after paragraph of business jargon-filled text.

If you cut-and-paste paragraphs out of the middle of a post, that post usually ends up being hard to comprehend. Therefore, make it a priority to write paragraphs that are good.

Start with a dominant idea or point. Think about the first sentence of your paragraph. What is the dominant idea that you want readers to understand? This sentence usually has a hook or a powerful question that gets readers interested.

A hook is a question or claim that you want readers to understand. A hook gets readers to click through and read the rest of your paragraph. It’s a good idea to spend extra time on your first sentence.

2. Rewrite main ideas until they are easily understood.

Business writing often contains complex concepts. Long form is a form of writing that tries to convey complex subjects without sacrificing clarity and detail.

Content must make sense. Read over your piece for structure before you press submit. See if there is a clear beginning, middle and end that is easy to understand.

Organize your sections in a logical way. If your work is not organized in a logical way, readers are going to get confused.

3. Keep a conversational tone throughout your piece.

It’s important to sound as though you are talking to the reader. You allow the reader to formulate their own thoughts through the use of personal pronouns and questions.

Your audience is reading this out of sheer curiosity as they power down their work day. Make it easy for them to get what you’re trying to say. Use casual, playful language.

Striving to write in a high-level language style will only lead you to write unnatural sounding works that will go over the reader’s head.

person holding white and blue click pen
Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

4. Start your introduction by engaging the reader.

It’s harder to hold reader’s attention these days. There is so much more to read and so much less time to read it in.

This is why you should catch your reader’s interest from the beginning. Try to intrigue your reader with something that they’ll really want to read about. Share a personal anecdote.

This will put your reader at ease. It helps them feel as if they are having a conversation with you and not just a boss or teacher giving them push.

Your narrative form and story behind a product or service will be noticed by readers, particularly those who will eventually end up buying.

5. Use Visuals for breaking up longform article text.

Nobody likes looking a huge wall of text. This is why a graphic element is so important for your content.

You can use infographics, pictures, graphs, charts, pictographs and more to make your article more visual and more readable. This will only add value and increase the chances of people remaining on your site and clicking through to your content.

Just make sure the graphic is not too busy and easy to understand and that it helps break up the text.

The longform article is a cornerstone of journalism and of the digital world. After reading this article, you should be able to understand the benefits of long form articles.

By learning how to write long form well, you can write better content more effective and add more value to your content.

Frequently asked questions

What is a long article called?

As a branch of journalism, long-form journalism focuses on longer articles and more content. Usually, this will be between 1,000 and 20,000 words. Nonfiction or narrative journalism are frequently used for long-form articles.

What is a long-form post?

Long-form content is any piece of content that exceeds the 2,000 word mark. That could mean a three-500-word blog post, a 10,000-word whitepaper, or a 15,000-word ebook.

What is an example of long form content?

White Paper. White papers contain in-depth reports about a subject and the surrounding issues. Readers should learn how to solve problems and use it to educate them. It provides a way to describe your content to your audience.

When did longform shut down?

An announcement on Longform’s homepage from its founders Max Linsky and Aaron Lammer announced its shutdown on January 5. A statement says: “We started the site on a whim in April 2010.”.

What is long-form reading?

The medium of long-form journalism is an activity that focuses on longer articles with larger amounts of content. Usually, this will be between 1,000 and 20,000 words. Nonfiction or narrative journalism are often the dominant forms of long-form articles.

What is long form work?

There is an initalization on long forms of work. Titles for books, plays, newspapers, movies, and TV shows, operas, and other long pieces of literature or artwork. The titles of the books are marked with quotation marks. Short stories, poems, magazines, articles, songs, fairytales, and shorter pieces of art. Just studied 10 terms!

Do people read long content?

According to data, people don’t read long-form content: 74% of their viewing time is spent on just the first two screens of content. It is estimated that only 14% of viewing time is spent past three screens. Nearly half of readers spend less than 15 seconds on a page.

How long is a long article?

1,000 words, which requires 5 minutes to read in length.

How do you read long articles?

  • Use CTRL + F
  • Learn how to use SQ3R.
  • Check out the title and abstract.
  • Let’s get to the conclusion.
  • Please take a few minutes to make sure you understand all the details.

Where can I find longform articles?

  • Longform
  • Longreads
  • ProPublica
  • The Atlantic
  • NY Times Magazine
  • The Cut
  • Guernica Magazine
  • Pacific Standard

Why is long-form writing important?

Content that provides valuable information to the reader is long-form. By writing long-form pieces and making sure they are useful to your audience, you can improve your site’s quality and your site value.

How do you write a good long-form article?

  • 1 Know your audience. Long-form writing is a love among some readers; convincing writing is needed by others.
  • 2 Entertain your audience
  • 3 Get inspired
  • Here are a few ideas.
  • Keep your story arc short.
  • Get caught up in the details.
  • 7 Keep organized
  • 8 Write well

How is long form journalism used?

The label offers readers and writers a new way of self-identification and a hashtag by which they may find, distinguish and promote stories. While a story’s appeal as a “longform” product could shorten editorial judgment, it can also damage a writer’s subject and put him/her at risk before a large audience.

How do you make long-form content?

Content Planning: Topic, Audience, and Aims. Your piece is built on these bases: they support the research you will do, the scope, the tone, the depth, and the measure by which you can measure its success.

How do you write a long-form essay?

  • Think of Your Reader. Remember, your content is about your audience, not you.
  • I Love The Headline.
  • Define Your Goals
  • A Compelling Story
  • Stay Focused
  • Keep It Simple
  • What Format Is Right For Me.
  • Highlight Interesting Quotes
The Longform Article: Why you need it

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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