For some kinds of content, less really isn’t more.
A quippy, well-placed blog post can go a long way towards improving your brand recognition; but if you want your content to be taken seriously, consider spicing up your content mix with a longer, meatier piece. After all, long-form content has plenty of long-term benefits, such as longer site visits, brand and reader loyalty, and improved search rankings.
Of course, before you can improve your content strategy, it’s important to understand what types of content are best suited to the 2,000+ word length characteristic of long-form content. Here are some examples of subjects that are well-suited to this kind of in-depth publication:
1. Histories and Timelines
Despite what Shakespeare wrote, brevity isn’t always the soul of wit, and when you’re trying to tell the history of a subject, it’s often best to be thorough. When you’re transporting your reader back in time, it’s more important to provide a thoughtful examination of the subject at hand than to keep things snappy.
2. In-Depth Stories
When you have a remarkable tale to tell, you need to make it come alive for the reader. Why, then, relegate your story to the world of short-form content?
Instead, feel free to use as many words as necessary to compel your reader. But don’t forget to keep your brand in mind: by staying focused, you’ll keep your reader engaged and your content on message.
3. Complex Topics
Often, when you’re tackling a complex topic (e.g. politics, machine learning, clinical psychology), it’s better to wax poetic than to leave your reader without the information they need to understand the subject at hand. Feel free to opt for depth and nuance instead of a smaller word count.
4. Thought Leadership
If you want to be the authority on a topic, going long-form in at least a portion of your articles is an absolute must. While shorter articles may be good for driving traffic to your site, it’s hard to condense projections about the future of your industry into 500 words or less.
Worried about writing long-form while keeping your content palatable? Try creating visual space by separating the piece into subsections and using small paragraphs.
5. Being the Best Answer
If you’re looking to up your content marketing game, it never hurts to demonstrate your value as an approachable, thorough resource in your field. But to be the best answer, you first have to come up with the best content, and more often than not that will require a few more words.
6. How-to Guide
While it’s possible to create a how-to guide that favors photos over prose (a picture’s worth a thousand words), your readership can probably find the simple answer to their query on WikiHow.
Instead, it’s often useful to go deeper than your typical article or blog post. Fill your guide with useful and actionable information addressing every aspect of a topic, so that the reader can gain insights that go deeper than what’s available in an elementary how-to.
7. Case Studies
When publishing a case study, readers will respond best to a nitty-gritty, blow-by-blow account of your analysis. A clearly stated hypothesis and a comprehensive delineation of any test, results, analysis, conclusions, and related research will help your reader understand not only what you’ve discovered, but why they should care.
8. Original Research
Data journalism requires a lot of investment — of both time and money — on your part, so you’ll want to report your findings and analysis as thoroughly as possible.
Although you might want to publish a few short-form articles to supplement your findings, the research should be presented in a long-form report that provides curious readers with a detailed resource.
9. Ebooks and Whitepapers
Ebooks and Whitepapers are often gated resources, meaning your target audience is very, very interested in what you have to say. If the content you’re providing is incomplete and underwhelming, that reflects poorly not only on your writers, but also on your company.
With that in mind, it’s important to keep your content focused and simple. Be thorough, yes, but be careful not to sacrifice clarity or quality for verbosity.
Short-form content is certainly an acceptable way to write up interviews, but to provide a truly valuable resource for your readers, it’s often better to go deep into your discussions with influencers and experts. Plus, assuming you have a transcript from the interview, hitting 2,000 words should be no problem — by quoting rather than paraphrasing, the content will practically write itself.
Longneck and Thunderfoot offer content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into an authoritative trade publication. Click to learn more about how to produce great content and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.