In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some skillful examples of long form content and discuss the reasons why it works well.
There’s a lot of talk these days about long form content. What is it, and why is it becoming so popular? We’ll cover this and also provide tips for creating your own long form content pieces. So let’s get started!
What is long-form content, and why is it so popular?
Long form content is typically content with a word count of 1,000 words or more. It’s becoming increasingly popular with content marketers and bloggers as part of their content strategy because it has a number of advantages.
Why does long-form content work?
Let’s take a look at the five benefits of long form content.
1. More engaging for your target audience
Long form pieces are generally more comprehensive than shorter content. This means that it can cover a topic in greater depth, providing readers with valuable information.
This ability to deep dive into a topic provides more value to readers than shorter blog posts or articles.
2. Better optimized for search engines (so your content has better chances of getting discovered)
Longer articles allow you to include more keywords and phrases related to your topic, which increases the chances of ranking first page in search engines.
This, in turn, makes it easier for readers to find your content.
That’s more free organic traffic to your website!
Just remember to pay attention to search intent before you create long-form content.
3. Tends to be more shareable on social media
Long form content is more shareable because it’s usually more comprehensive and therefore provides more value to readers. This can help to increase your reach and build your audience.
If you’re producing well researched educational content for your audience, then they can also be useful for lead generation.
4. Helps you establish yourself as an authority on a given subject
What’s more credible – a short blog post or a long, comprehensive guide?
The answer is obvious. Long-form content helps you establish yourself as an expert (or “thought leader”) on your topic, which can help to build trust with your target audience.
5. Can be repurposed into other content formats
Your long form content doesn’t have to live only on your blog or website. You can repurpose it into other formats, such as an eBook, video, or infographic. This helps you get more mileage out of your content and reach more people.
Long-form vs. Short-form Content
Does it make sense to only produce long form content?
The answer is no. While long form content has its advantages, there’s also a time and a place for shorter pieces.
Long form content is typically defined as content with a word count of 1,000 words or more. Short form content, on the other hand, is usually 500 words or less.
Seth Godin is the king of powerful short-form content, and his blog is built entirely on short, punchy human behavior insights and masterful storytelling. Seth’s piece on Professionals, hacks, and amateurs is a great example of short articles that work for his audience.
It all comes down to understanding your audience and what they want. If you know that your audience prefers shorter blog posts, then that’s what you should give them.
The same goes for long form content. If you know that your target market is looking for in-depth guides and resources, that’s the type of content you should create.
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is long form content?” it’s time to take a look at some examples.
7 Examples of Excellent Long-Form Content
I wanted to provide examples of content that not only demonstrates the benefits of long form content but also does an excellent job of executing it.
Long form content example #1: Everything is aiming: forget the target and focus on your aim by Ness Labs
This 1,000-word piece from Anne-Laure Le Cunff of Ness Labs is a great example of long form content that’s engaging, informative, and shareable.
It hooks you in with a story of a German professor who fell in love with archery and a philosophy passed down by his teacher. Using archery as a metaphor to understand the difference between goals and aims is just brilliant.
This article ends with a helpful exercise for readers to complete to remember the key takeaways.
Long form content example #2: The Tail End by Wait But Why
Tim Urban of Wait But Why is known for his long-form, in-depth content. And this piece on “The Tail End” is a great example of why his writing is so popular.
He takes a complex topic – the aging population and how it will impact the future – and breaks it down in a way that’s easy to understand. He also weaves in personal stories and anecdotes to keep readers engaged.
Add to that the simple yet effective eye catching visuals, and you have a winning long-form content piece.
I won’t lie, this piece is one that I regularly return to due to the emotional punch it packs at the end.
Long form content example #3: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
This is the most popular blog post on Mark Manson’s website, with over 18 million views.
The article starts with a relatable story many people can identify with and then explores its psychology. Manson’s writing is engaging, down-to-earth, and often humorous – which makes for an enjoyable read.
But more importantly, it provides value by allowing readers to better understand themselves and the world around them.
Mark’s content differentiates itself from other self-help content by sharing “evidence-based life advice built off the back of decades of psychological research and proven therapeutic techniques.” What that means is that he’s put together a team of Psychologists with MSc’s and PhD’s to help him research, outline, and fact-check the content that he publishes.
Long form content example #4: You Can’t Grow an Audience Like You Used To (and That’s Okay) by Tara McMullin
Tara writes thought-provoking articles that question norms and are backed by thorough research.
As someone who wrote an entire essay on The Hidden Cost of Chasing Fast Growth, this part definitely resonated with me:
“It just requires a different financial model. Instead of counting on growing a massive audience and a product that scales, a safer, more sustainable play is to build a model that’s profitable from the start with a minimum viable audience.”Tara McMullin
A related piece written by Tara that I’d recommend is Getting Paid: A Different Way To Think About Profit & Wages.
Long form content example #5: The Art of Asking Great Questions by Tijs Besieux (Harvard Business Review)
This long-form article from the Harvard Business Review explores the power of questions and how they can be used to build better relationships, generate new ideas, and show empathy.
It’s a great read for anyone who wants to learn more about the art of asking questions, with plenty of examples and actionable takeaways.
If you’re looking for more long-form content from HBR, I’d also recommend checking out Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?
Long form content example #6: The Other Side of Languishing Is Flourishing. Here’s How to Get There. by Dani Blum (New York Times)
The lead paragraph of this long-form piece by Dani Blum opens like this:
Research shows that the pandemic took a toll on our overall well-being and left many of us drained. Here are seven simple steps to get you thriving again.
and the next paragraph poses this question:
With vaccination rates on the rise, hope is in the air. But after a year of trauma, isolation and grief, how long will it take before life finally — finally — feels good?
Now, these opening lines will resonate for many folks who lived through the crazy two years of the COVID pandemic. And that’s precisely what engaging long-form content should do – speak to the reader on a personal level and offer valuable insights.
This particular article does a great job of that, with tips that are easy to implement and backed by psychological research.
Long form content example #7: What are Lead Magnets, and how do you use them to grow your business? (with 11 real-life B2B examples)
I recently published this long-form article for my business, Authentic Marketer. As the topic of lead magnets had been covered extensively in the past, I decided to take a different approach with this piece.
I started by exploring common misconceptions about lead magnets and then shared eleven B2B examples from companies that are doing them right. This involved crowd-sourcing examples from members of an online community that I’m involved with.
The article was well-received by my audience and generated a lot of engagement, which goes to show that there’s always room for new perspectives on popular topics.
Long form content FAQ
Other than articles, what are some other types of long form content?
Written content with great depth and helpful information can come in the form of:
– annual report
– white papers
– case studies
– research reports
– guides (how-tos)
Should you go long-form or not?
Whether you should go long-form or not really depends on your topic and audience. That being said, long-form content tends to perform better than shorter pieces, so it’s definitely worth considering if you have a topic that warrants it.
How long should long form content be?
There’s no magic number when it comes to how long long-form content should be.
That being said, the average length tends to fall in the 1,000-2,000 word range. So you can use that for your target word count if you’re starting out.
If you’d prefer a more data-backed approach, I recommend using an AI-powered tool like SurferSEO to help determine content length to ensure that your long form articles perform well in Google search rankings.
What are some tips for writing long form content?
Here are a few tips for writing long-form content:
– Plan your article before you start writing. This will make the actual writing process much easier and help you stay on track.
– Write in short, concise paragraphs. This will make your article easier to read and help break up the text.
– Use subheadings to structure your article. This will again make it easier to read and help the reader navigate your piece.
– Use images, infographics, and other visuals to break up the text and add visual interest.
– Include quotes, statistics, and other data to back up your claims and add authority to your article.
– Edit your article carefully before you publish. This will help ensure that your piece is error-free and reads well.
When is long-form content a bad idea?
Long-form content is not a good idea if:
– You don’t have a topic that warrants it. There’s no point in padding out your article just for the sake of it. Don’t forget the reader experience – if your article feels long-winded, they will not stick around.
– You don’t have the time or resources to do it justice. long-form content takes time and effort to write well, so ensure you’re prepared for that before you start.
– You’re not comfortable with writing long articles. If the thought of writing 1,000+ words fills you with dread, it’s probably not the best idea to force yourself to do it.
– You’re not prepared to put in the work. Long-form content takes time and effort to produce, so ensure you’re up for the task before you start.
– You’re not confident in your writing ability. If you’re not confident in your ability to write a long, well-written article, it’s probably best to stick to shorter pieces or outsource this style of writing to an experienced freelance content writer.
Final thoughts: How to Make Long Form Content Work for Your Business & Personal Brand
So there you have it – seven long-form content examples to inspire your next piece of writing.
Remember, the key to creating successful long-form content is to focus on quality over quantity, and make sure that your article is packed with value for the reader.
If you can do that, you’re well on your way to creating content that will perform well and help you achieve your business goals.
(Featured Photo by Suzy Hazelwood)