Have you had a blog for a while and just aren’t getting the results that you want?
Maybe you post every day with high-quality content, promote yourself, and you make sure that your content is perfect?
You might even have a lot of readership. But you’re nowhere near where you want to be.
The problem may not lie within your content, or that you’re not promoting yourself properly.
The problem could be that your blogs are simply not long or thorough enough, like long-form blogs would be. Let’s discuss more.
What, Exactly, IS A Long-Form Blog?
Long-form blogs is basically a lengthy blog, upwards of 1,500 words and sometimes 3,000 words in length. (Wordstream defines it as 1,200 words long.) I’d agree with a minimum of 1,500 words.
The content within is evergreen—meaning that it will stand relevant and worthy, no matter what season or year it’s read in.
These “long blogs” go against the convention of normal blogging by providing the readers with a large amount of information. This information is set to the tune of words, pictures and statistics. Long-form blogs are meant to provide comprehensive information on the subject that the blog is about.
In a world where people have short attention spans and want instant gratification caused by the influence of the Internet, it can be hard to find anything of substance online. Long-form blogs are like a breath of fresh air in an Internet-driven culture where we commonly see short lists and quick infographics.
When publishing a long-form blog, many bloggers may be concerned about the connotations that come from having long-winded excerpts of information, but the way that a long-form blog can be put together is anything but boring.
By using short paragraphs, interesting facts and user-grabbing language throughout, bloggers can hold onto the readers’ attention for much longer than they would if they wrote an eBook, for example.
One of the biggest elements that can be seen in long-form blogs is personal branding strategies. When you walk into a Ralph Lauren store, you instantly know where you are because of the big logo polo horses slapped onto everything. When you “walk” into a blog, you should instantly know which blog you are looking at because of the language that is used and the format that outlines the blog.
This is personal branding and it is what works for the long-form blog to keep the attention of the readers.
How Can A Long-Form Blog Attract More Readers?
“A lengthy, wordy blog will never work for me. My readers like quick content.”
This protest comes from many bloggers. These bloggers may have been doing their blog for a while and getting stellar results, but they still need something more. The way of thinking makes no sense because they clearly need help increasing their readership, but are unwilling to do something unconventional to up the total number of people who come to their blog.
Long-form blogging is usually just what the doctor prescribed for blogs that are getting excellent results, but need that extra push to skyrocket their blog’s numbers.
The way that long-form blogs can drastically increase readership can be seen in blogs that went from “eh” to “WOW!” with just a few switches in the format.
From 400 Words to 1500 Words: The Difference Is BIG
Blogs that are between 400 and 699 words (the conventional number for blog word count) see a lot of quick traffic. Readers come to the site, read what they came for and move onto the next site.
Blogs that have 1,500 words or more give reader substance and allow them to stick around on the site, increasing metrics and clicks on the site.
Bloggers who are still skeptical about the long-form blogging procedure can see that long-form blogging is set to be a great new trend in this world. In 2015, the average top five blog results boasted between 2300 and 2500 words. The remaining five in the top ten had anywhere between 700 and 2000 words, much higher than the commonly respected blogging norm.
Taking a chance with a higher word count blog could be just what your blog needs to increase readership.
2 Tools To Make Your Long-Form Blogs Better: SEMrush & BuzzSumo
Long-form blogs are great, but they cannot just be walls of text with no valuable information or statistics. The substance that they have needs to be backed up with real-world facts, up to date statistics and keywords meant to draw in the most readership possible.
A long blog is worthless without rich keywords and other analytic tools. SEMrush for blogs allows bloggers to get the information that they need to perfectly optimize the long blog.
SEMrush is a huge SEO tool (and one of the best online) that allows you to conduct keyword research and find top opportunities for your blog; run an entire audit on your whole site and blogs, and find out where broken or bad links are, or missing/duplicate metas, entire duplicate or bad pages, besides myriads of other factors inside the audit; research competitor sites and their top keywords in the rankings; and export any findings in an Excel so you can track your SEO keywords and work from there.
Besides that, you can conduct research on backlinks and know exactly who is linking to you; create all kinds of ad campaigns; and even research your competitors on social media with their Social Media analysis tool. Lastly, you can run any research as an ongoing project, which means you can log back into SEMrush and check your rankings (drops or gains) immediately, within seconds.
Here’s a sneak peek at the dashboard (we’re running a project for Express Writers):
Another fantastic tool for improving your long-form blog content is BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo allows marketers to analyze content and find out what sorts of topics and keywords are performing best in any given niche. For example, if you wanted to write a piece on lead generation, you simply sign into your BuzzSumo account and search a keyword phrase like “Inbound Lead Generation.”
According to the BuzzSumo results, you can see that the most popular result by far was a HubSpot article which gained 3.3K shares across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. This allows you a pretty solid idea of what types of content will perform well in your industry. BuzzSumo also allows for content curation, which is an important piece of any great content strategy. With the tool, you can locate trending or valuable content and share it through your various distribution channels right to your audience. Additionally, BuzzSumo allows you to program content alerts that allow you to track which content is mentioning your keyword or when competitors in your industry publish new content you want to know about. You can also use the platform for tracking the performance of your competitors, analyzing comparative analytics, and exporting all data into an easy-to-track spreadsheet that will help you determine what’s working and what’s not in your content strategy.
Think of BuzzSumo as your best friend in long-form content creation: the platform allows you to know what’s going to perform well and then tap into the analytics you need to write content people genuinely want to share and interact with.
Question: Aren’t Short And Sweet Blogs Better?
Sometimes, sometimes: short blogs have their place. Take Seth Godin, for instance. The dude writes 100 or less word blogs. He is a best-selling author (of 18 books); owner of two companies; and—ready for it?—owner of one of the most popular blogs in the world.
Overall, here’s my advice: Unless you’re the next Seth Godin, Ted Rubin, Brian Clark…don’t take years establishing a personality if you’re trying to build a business and brand online in SEO. Focus on long-form blogs instead. Be invested in the meat of blogging: long-form blogs.
Blogs that manage to be long, but captivate the attention of the reader tend to do better in the way of readership, return users and organic clicks. Blogs that boast long-form content give readers exactly what they need all in one place. The best long-form blogs have short paragraphs that are easy for readers to get through, but still have all of the information gathered into one blog. Would you rather read one seemingly long blog post that has a large amount of information stashed in it or three short blogs with the same amount of information posted on separate pages?
The answer is simple: it is much easier to read long-form blogs that have short, eye-catching paragraphs and information that is not likely to change any time in the near future.
To better understand why long blogs are better than short blogs, you can break down some of the statistics that were gathered over the course of several months from blogs that come in many different categories. A blog that has between 400 and 699 words (remember that magic, average blog word count number), gets shared an average 32.19 times. This may seem like a big number, especially for you new bloggers who are excited to have your first post shared once.
In comparison, a blog that has 1500 or more words will be shared an average of 56.89 times. This number is almost double the number for shorter blogs.
Not only will your properly formatted long-form blog attract more readers, but it will be shared many more times than a traditional blog of only around 500 words.
Where Can I Find Content?
Now that you’re fully aware of how awesome long-form blogging is, it’s time to get started. We understand how daunting it can seem to write a big blog, especially when you’re used to smaller ones. On the hot topic of Google’s search quality guidelines, when Google’s 160-page doc came out in November 2015, we wrote a 3,500-word blog and it turned out to be our most-shared blog at over 300 shares.
The best advice that we have for your long-form blog is to break it down into smaller parts, use the long-form blogging tools, gather as many statistics as possible, and write–well.
Remember, it’s simpler, better in the long run, and just darn easier to hire a professional who can give you the a long-form blog that is perfectly optimized to your blogging genre and guaranteed to attract more readers to your blog.