How To Start & Grow Your Business

Content Marketing: Can Long-Form Work for Your Company Blog?

Savannah Flynn
Jan 13th, 2015
  • Estimated reading time: 5 min read
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    Highlights

    1Long-form content ranges between 1,200 to 2,000 words. 2Pick topics with rich soil for long-form writing. 3Greater chance to use keywords, plus Google likes it.
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A lot of companies publish short-form content on their company blogs for a variety of reasons. There’s the assumption that people won’t take the time to read long content that isn’t easily digestible. Plus, shorter content makes it easier to focus on quantity, giving a writer or marketer more time to produce more content. This assumption leads to another one: the more “new” content a website provides, the better the chances are to improve Google page rank.

“Ultimately, you should create long-form content because it will get you more of what you want: more online visibility (social shares, links), more proof of your authority and industry expertise, and more material for altruistic community building and engagement.” – KISSmetrics

But those assumptions are often misplaced. While short content pieces can—and often do—work, there is absolutely no reason to shy away from long-form content, particularly if the topic warrants it and a boost in metrics follows. Long-form content—between 1,200 to 2,000 words of written content—should be a part of every content marketing strategy.

Customers Crave More
Some companies have discovered that long-form articles are beneficial for SEO, alongside a correlation between higher word counts and improved search rankings. “Despite what some content marketers might think, many readers crave meatier articles …” according to Wordstream.com contributor Dan Shewan.

Moreover, Shewan notes that publishers attest to the power of long-form content, insisting that upon incorporating more long-form articles into their content strategy they experience increases in user engagement.

So what gives? The explanation is simple: search engines like Google often view long-form content as an indicator of quality. And more often than not, Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm to weed out spammy or duplicate content and focus on quality content instead. Longer content lends itself to higher quality since it is generally well-researched and provides more in-depth insight on a topic.

But the question is, how can you make long-form content work for your company?
Here are a few simple ways to start:

Pick ‘Long-Form’ Topics

For starters, you’ll need to brainstorm topics that lends themselves to a longer article; which is possible regardless of your interest. For instance, if you’re in the food industry, recipes may offer short-form content, but not if you pair a recipe with a history of the dish, why it’s important to your company and how customers utilize (and add a special twist to) it in their daily lives.

Or maybe you own a residential construction business? Content that features statistics about the number of new homes going up where you provide services can provide an inside look at the shift, growing trends and what you are seeing now (i.e., direct feedback from your customers). If you can’t include 1,000 word company blog posts in your editorial calendar often, that’s okay. Not all of your company blog content should be long-form, but finding a balance is key.

Tell a Story

Another way to go in-depth into a topic is to focus on telling a story. For one, people love a good story, and they’ll stick around to see how the story ends. Look at any of The New Yorker articles; most of their content centers on deep dives into interesting topics. For your business, this could be as simple as telling a detailed history of how your company got started or going behind the scenes with your customers. Why? Because people love a human element too.

Provide Actionable Tips

How-to and instructional articles have long been popular pieces across the Internet, and with actionable tips they can create the perfect long-form article. Just look at this piece of informational long-form content from a furniture company on caring for solid wood furniture. It, first, focuses on what makes wood furniture unique and then delves into easy, digestible, and actionable tips to take care of it.

Write Keyword Rich Quality Content

Are you interested in reading the posts on your company blog? More importantly, are your customers engaged? If so, you are on the right track. Google rewards interesting, quality content, which is easy to produce if you know a lot (or care) about a particular subject.

Long-form content has another benefit when it comes to your SEO efforts. With a higher word count, you can incorporate more keywords, naturally according to Risdall Marketing Group. “If you can’t write at length on a subject, then it probably doesn’t merit its own page or post. Extremely short posts are also less likely to contain enough keywords to attract longtail searches.” And the more naturally your keywords are incorporated, the more Google likes you (and your company website).

Clearly, word count is just part of the equation when it comes to long-form content marketing. Consider A/B testing content on your site (e.g., a long-form company history page versus a short history) and see what works best for you. Test different kinds of long-form content, and replicate content that drives improvements in key metrics. As with any content marketing strategy, it will take time, but it’s worth taking the time if it leads to more conversions and sales.

This article has been edited and condensed.

This article was written by Savannah Flynn and published on YFS Magazine.

Savannah Flynn is a public relations specialist for WebpageFX, a full-service Internet marketing, web design and web development agency offering integrated web solutions for medium to large sized businesses across the globe. She has a passion for online marketing and PR.

YFS Magazine is the definitive digital magazine for startups, small business news and entrepreneurial culture.