Long form content has taken internet influence by the collar.
Here’s the comprehensive list of the pros and cons of writing long form content:
Pros: Long form content
It can take days, weeks even, to write a long form piece that you feel proud of. That provides a constellation of actionable content. That leaves the reader with a sense of awe at how thoroughly a subject can be addressed.
If not for the time taken, we’d be reading 7000-word articles as frequently as 6-point listicles.
In a step towards that vision, we asked 6 bloggers who have mastered churning out long form pieces, these questions:
Here are their answers.
A1) Whenever you are doing long pieces of content, there are many factors to be considered.
With Google’s algorithms constantly changing, it can be hard to keep track of what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to getting your content in front of as many people as possible.
Producing super thorough, well-researched, helpful content material makes you come off as being a professional on your topic and, by extension, a total badass. If you regularly supply amazing value to your readers by composing short articles that answer their burning questions in an in-depth, validated and easy-to-understand way (this is vital), you’ll gain their trust and become their go-to person for doubts on that specific subject.
That’s the challenging part. So to do that, whenever I’ve had to write long form posts, I prepare myself for it by having proper keyword research, and pen down the jist of the content beforehand.
A2) Bloggers should know what content going to help their readers, sometimes long content can piss readers off and sometimes long form content works for your audience. It depends from niche to niche according to my experience.
Many bloggers write in-depth articles for very competitive keywords on their niche and rank well, so I’d say focus on getting keyword research done thoroughly. It becomes easier for the rest to fall in place.
Content marketing expert
A1) The actual writing process (putting the words on the page) takes the longest for me. I have increased my writing speed over time by trying to write a little bit every single day, and by doing writing challenges like the one I describe in my post about how to become a better, faster writer.
A2) You must practice writing. Write every day if you can, and track how many words you’re writing. You’ll get faster over time, and the process will get easier as you go.
A1) Writing long posts is not actually the biggest problem, it’s the research and formatting which takes the most time for me.
You have to do detailed research first, then find images for your blog, optimize them, link everything that needs to have links, bold important parts of the text, use headlines, insert table of contents, create featured image, make sure that there are no spelling or grammar errors, make sure that article title, url and description are optimized for SEO and of course read the whole article to see that everything looks nice and that it’s easy to read (and scan).
To speed up the process I usually write articles in Google Docs which has spell checker included. I also use Jing to take screenshots of anything I want to include (improves SEO because that way even images are original content). I also use Pretty Link plugin to cloak my link affiliate links. Other than that I haven’t found any other speeding up hacks I can recommend.
Writing and publishing long articles takes a lot of time indeed.
A2) Do your research properly. If you take enough time for research it’s going to be a lot easier and faster to write long articles. Also make sure to define article structure before you start writing – decide what will the main chapters of your article be, and don’t forget to write a conclusion at the end with a specific call to action.
A1) Writing long form content takes time. And it should. Sometimes I’ll spend up to two weeks working on just one article! The reason I do this is because it’s through long form content that I can help people the most, cover the most essential points and provide the most value. It also converts extremely well. If you’re “afraid’ of spending this much time on one blog post then I’d encourage you to recognize how valuable it is and prioritize this type of writing in your business. Get help from designs and coders to do all the unessential tasks for you so you can free up time to focus.
A2) Find another good long form article and base you own new piece on improving that one by adding more resources, graphics, tools, etc.
A1) There are many stages to writing long form content that are time-consuming. Coming up with ideas, writing and editing all take time.
I use Google Keyword Planner, Google Suggest, Google Analytics, Buzzsumo and a variety of other tools to come up with ideas. I have also started outsourcing areas of my content creation so I have a writer who also helps me with ideas. I also have an SEO guy who researches the ideas on Long Tail Pro giving me the best titles possible for ranking on the search engines.
So, to a certain extent I can outsource the idea stage and the writing stage. However, the editing stage is something that I always do myself and always takes time. This is because I want to make the long form content as good as possible.
A2) Planning. Writing down the skeleton or mind mapping the plan of the long form piece will help you write it faster. When I started doing this I immediately started writing faster as I didn’t have to keep thinking “what’s next?”
Dictation software. On a Mac you can go to System Preferences > Dictation and Speech, make sure Dictation is turned on and see what keyboard shortcut is being used (the default is hitting the Function key twice). On a PC you can use the Dragon dictation software. This takes a while to get used to but I’ve found dictation helps me write long form pieces.
Outsourcing. This is something I thought I would never outsource but your business will never grow if you don’t build a team to help you with every part of your business and this includes content creation.
A1) I don’t think long form content is more time consuming than short form content, in all honesty, except for, of course, the time it takes to write long form content! My biggest challenge for long form AND short form content is ideation; I can write well but I always feel like my ideas need to be fleshed out further. That’s why I don’t write for myself as often as I’d like, because I don’t have the ideas at my disposal. I do a lot more work for clients and my engagements are best done when they tell me what to do and give me feedback along the way.
A2) It took me a long time to realize this — almost 10 years — but writing alone is much more difficult than writing with someone else. This for me includes the notion of ideation and review with feedback. I’m not afraid to ask for help when I feel it’s best suited for me to put out my best content. I used to never think I needed to have my content read by someone else, but now I know that the feedback makes me better at what I do.
That said, I don’t think there’s a secret sauce to writing long form pieces faster. For me, my speed comes from passion and maybe a little bit of fluff 😉 Sometimes I write something that’s intended to be short but it comes out in longer bits, and for me, that’s perfectly okay and I feel good about it. I’m in the middle of reading Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, and while I haven’t gotten to any section on long form content or even know if there is a long form section, I think it’s a good read for anyone who wants to be better at writing.
What do you do to speed up writing long form content? What hacks worked for you? What didn’t? Sound off in the comments below.
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