Last Updated: February 16, 2022
Writing long form blog content is not as easy as it seems. In an online world of short-form articles peppered liberally with GIFs, infographics, and a host of other attention-grabbing elements, cranking out informative articles that provide the reader with vital insight and knowledge is no easy task.
Long form blog articles are important to write and crucial to get right. So, how do you successfully write compelling long form content? Here are some golden rules to help you get there.
1. Headline it right
Headlines are a subject all on their own, but let’s touch on the main points briefly. Here are some things to consider.
- Don’t let the headline get too long. You’re not telling a story.
- Use numbers in your headlines. Why? Because it gives the reader an idea of what to expect in your article. Also, headlines with numbers get more shares than any other type.
- Odd numbers are your friend. Headlines with odd numbers perform 20% better.
- High performing headlines are usually ones that ask a question, provide a solution, or tell a story.
2. Use trigger words
At times, triggering can be a good thing, and this is one of those times. Did you know that there is a direct link between a certain number of emotional words used in a headline, and how many times the content is likely to be shared? That’s because people respond to words that tug at their emotions.
However, not all emotions are created equal when it comes to shares. The best emotions to invoke if you want to get a response, according to Buzzsumo, are:
Power words are generally also words we may not use in our everyday speech, which is why they stand out more to the reader. You should use power words both in your headline, as well as the body of your text to make the biggest impact. Here, you can find a list of power words to help get you started.
3. Play the long game
Basically, this means that it isn’t worth it to hype the reader up with a flashy headline only to disappoint them with the actual content. You want to inform. Add value. Hook them. Keep them. When readers have been burned once by click bait headlines, they aren’t likely to come back for more. Always follow through on what your headline promises.
4. A great first impression
Let’s talk about your intro. A great introduction does four crucial things:
- Hooks the reader with an attention-grabbing first sentence. Statistics work well, and so do questions.
- Addresses the problem that the reader is facing
- Mentions a solution
- Informs the reader what they can expect from the article
5. Keep it visual
There’s a reason why so many blogs & articles these days use visuals. Because they get people’s attention. Even the most avid reader’s attention can begin to wane looking at endless lines of text – no matter how informative.
Infographics, graphs, memes, and GIFs are not just fun to look at – they can actually make the information more memorable to the reader. Plus, with just one infographic, you can sum up what would take several paragraphs to explain – and keep the reader’s interest while doing it.
6. Bullet points are your friends
Ah, the bullet point. Breaking up information into digestible pieces since who knows when. Bullet points are already a vital part of written content but become even more essential when writing long-form content. A wall of text can look intimidating, prompting the reader to exit before they even get started, but short snippets appeal and make your content look more readable.
Thank you, bullet points. Very cool.
7. Tone is everything
Just like in real-life conversation (or texting), tone of voice can decide how the listener or reader will feel. Naturally, you want to keep your reader interested. By adopting a more informal, conversational, or even comical tone of voice, your content can stand out in a crowd of, frankly, boring copy.
Use relatable, easy to understand words, and don’t be afraid to throw a bit of humor in there.
8. Add Shareable Quotes
Choose some quotes, either from within your article, or relevant to the subject matter, and make them into shareable quotes. This is a great way to highlight useful information that might otherwise get lost in the sea of words, or to support the information that you are presenting.
Make them stand out by either placing them in an image, or having them in a bigger, standout font than the rest of the copy and adding quotation marks. Then, allow your readers to directly share these quotes to their social media channels.
9. Use Multiple CTAs
Don’t expect the reader to scroll all the way to the end of your article to find the CTA. Give them a gentle helping hand by adding multiple CTAs throughout the copy. And change it up by using different, actionable words in each CTA.
Just like in your headlines, you can use trigger or power words in your CTAs to delight, surprise, or amuse your audience. They might even click on the CTA button just out of pure curiosity.
In closing, the creation of long form content can be a tasking process, but the results – brand awareness, SEO, and reader engagement – speak for themselves and are well worth the extra effort.