The Longform Article: Why you need it

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.

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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