3 Reasons You Should Be Creating Longform Content

December 23, 2015

9:00 pm

With the explosion of content marketing in recent years, everyone and their mother is trying to create new, interesting, innovative content. Millions of blog posts and podcasts and videos are being churned out every day. So much online content is being created that social media feeds are getting clogged with links. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get attention amidst the cacophony of content.

How can you make your online content stand out amidst all the content chaos? Create longform content.

On the surface, this sounds like contrarian advice. Stand out by creating longer content? That sounds like telling someone to lose weight by eating more. But just as some diets actually can cause you to lose weight as you eat more, creating longform content will enable you to truly stand out.

Here are 3 reasons your content marketing strategy should include longform content.


1. Your Content Is More Valuable

Short content such as social media updates and brief blog posts are quickly consumed and then discarded. The reader gives them a quick scan and then moves on to the next piece. Short content is not seen as particularly valuable because it takes so little time to create. Nobody cares about that 200-word blog post you wrote about the entrepreneur lifestyle.

Longform content, however, is seen as much more valuable. It demonstrates that you have superior knowledge about a particular subject. Anyone can ramble off 150 words about a subject, but writing a detailed article over 2,000 words really takes some knowledge. It shows that you’re the expert and that you can be trusted.

This story by Teehan Lax about the creation of Medium is a brilliant example of longform content, and it shows off their design brilliance. This guide to Guide to Video Poker from 888 Casino demonstrates their intimate knowledge of their space. Longform equals intelligence.

If you want to be perceived as an expert in your space, stop messing around with short blips and bleeps. Spend some time developing a longform piece. Show off your knowledge. Let people see that you’re the one they should come to when they have questions.


2. Your Content Is More Shareable

You might think that shorter content gets shared more, but you’re wrong. After analyzing over 100 million articles, the folks over at BuzzSumo discovered that longform content actually gets shared more than shorter content. They concluded:

The fact is that, yes people love to share LOL cat pics and funny memes, but they also want to share intellectually challenging, long-form content. Since the web is inundated with the former, you’re better off spending your time writing that one epic piece of content instead of writing lots of short, fluffy pieces.

Researchers found the same thing after analyzing thousands of New York Times articles. The longer the article, the more likely it is to be shared.

Why is longform content shared more? Because people want to shape how they’re perceived. If you only share stupid memes and Buzzfeed quizzes, people will think that you’re a shallow twat. But if you are regularly sharing valuable articles packed with insights, people will think you’re an intelligent person.

If you want your content to be shared, go longform. People are inclined to share articles and case studies that make them look smarter. If you’re article is full of actionable advice and key takeaways, there’s a much higher chance people will share it.


3. Your Content Is Evergreen

Unlike short posts, which are usually irrelevant after a short time, longform content tends to be evergreen in its value. This makes sense on an intuitive level. Longform content is usually well researched and brimming with insights and advice. It’s usually the result of someone’s expertise.

This, in turn, means that longform content contains solutions to people’s problems. It ranks high in search engines and becomes a consistent resource people turn to when they need a solution. The end result is a consistent flow of traffic to the longform content.

If you want people to come back to your site again and again, create longform pieces. It has evergreen value that short pieces don’t. And, when people do visit your site, they tend to stick around longer than they would otherwise. This leads to increased retention rates and decreased bounce rates.

Wrapping It Up

Longform content isn’t easy to create. It takes a significant chunk of your time. It requires thought and research. It forces you to dig deeper for insights and analysis. But the payoff is significant. From higher traffic levels to more shares, longform content is one of the key ways to make yourself stand out in the crowd.

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I am a digital marketing consultant with over 8 years of experience working with companies like Target, Best Buy and the Department of Defense. I also hold a Masters in Business Administration and Masters in Communications.

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