Why long-form content rules

By Melissa Kitson @mnkitson

Keep it short and simple. Make it ‘snackable’. Think in tweets.

There are a lot of mantras advocating concise, easily digestible content. And while there is value in this, the value of long-form editorial content can often be overlooked.

Long-form content is an important compliment to short-form. It builds on initial interest fostering stronger, longer-term engagement.

Think of it like dating – while short-form may arouse attention, it is the ongoing long-form content that leads to a committed relationship.

After all, long-form content:

Increases user engagement

Long form content encourages a higher quality reading experience. Research by blog platform Medium found the highest performing content takes 7 minutes and is around 1,600 words long. By introducing long-form content, companies typically see an increase in the time spent on each page and a higher number of return visitors. Readers return for the brand not for the utility the brand offers.

Establishes expertise

With long form content, there is greater opportunity to showcase your expertise. It is a platform to flex your industry muscle. Be it tech, automation or media, long-form is an invitation to show you know what you are talking about. By building credentials, a company also builds trust. According to a 2013 survey of 31,000 respondents by the Edlman Trust, people who are considered “subject matter” experts inspire greater  “trust and credibility”.

Increases search engine traffic

Long form content generates more organic traffic from search engines. This occurs for a number of reasons. Firstly, in general terms, more content equals more opportunity for search engines to locate your website. But it is much more than that. Guidelines for Google’s Quality Rating assess websites on expertise, authority and trustworthiness (EAT).  Websites enriched with high-quality and informative long-form content are more likely to win EAT points and perform better in online searches. Indeed, data from SerpIQ shows that top-ranked content is around 2,450 words. What’s more, Google has a created a designated space for in-depth content where content, deemed higher value, is prioritised.