Long form content will reportedly emerge as one of the biggest content marketing trends in 2020. Within the realm of social media exposure, according to Forbes, studies show that long form content generates a higher number of shares than standard short-form content. Perhaps you have the goal of writing long form next year. If so, this guide will give you plenty of content tricks and tips that will help you achieve your New Year’s resolution.
An Outline is a Lifeline
One of the most important parts of long form content that you must master is the outline. You never want to dive into long form content headfirst. Whether you want to educate or entertain your readers, you must be able to keep them engaged from start to finish. You may have a desired word count in mind – such as 2,000 or 3,000 words – and ask yourself, “What content should I use in 2020 to hit that word count?” If so, this is where the outline comes into play.
Once you have identified the specific topic you want to cover or point you want to make, then the next step is to create an outline for your main and supporting points. This will serve as a road map that will pave the path of your journey from Point A to Point B. It will help you to organize your thoughts and distribute your supporting points to ensure a proper balance of information throughout your work.
Support Each Point with Examples & References
The worst thing you can do is overwhelm your main points with useless fluff and keyword stuffing. A hefty word count requirement can become a daunting task – especially if you have limited experience with this type of content development. The key is to fortify each main point with relevant examples and credible references.
For instance, you could breathe life into each main point by:
- Offering 2-3 points that support or expand on your statement
- Illustrating the point that you want to make with a hypothetical scenario
- Reference a real-life statistic, fact or figure that will drive your point home
- Ask an open-ended question that will connect the dots of understanding for your reader
This approach will help you to ensure that your main points are covered thoroughly. It will also make it easier to avoid the trap of creating fluffy & padded content.
Break Up the Formatting in Moderation
Other content tricks and tips for long form content involve the formatting of the actual content. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers. You are expecting them to stick around and read through 2,000+ words all at once without abandoning ship or “changing the channel.” In addition to creating quality content, you must also pay close attention to how it is presented.
Multiple studies have shown that lengthy content should be broken up into various formatting options. For instance, you should consider using bulleted lists instead of listing multiple items within the same sentence. It is also important to break up your content into paragraphs and with subheadings whenever needed. This type of formatting breakdown will help your reader to easily navigate through your work without getting lost in a corn maze of content that does not seem to have an endpoint.
Another advantage of using the subheadings and headings wisely within your long form content is to serve as an easy point of reference for future readings. Keep in mind that your overall goal is for your readers to revisit and even share your content. It is much easier for them to recommend certain points and even expose their friends to them if they know how to find it easily.
Moderation is essential when it comes to your formatting selections, though. You have more than likely seen this overdone and mentally disengaged before reaching the closing paragraph. By switching up the formatting in moderation, you can make sure that never happens to your readers.
Review & Revise Rigorously
Once the content is written, you should never rush to post or publish it without editing it thoroughly. A lot of successful authors and content creators spend more time reviewing, revising and even rewriting their content than they spend on their first drafts. Your goal should be to examine it closely to make sure your readers get your very best version. There may be quite a few mistakes, typos, grammatical errors and excessive wordiness that your initial draft may have overlooked. Taking the time to reexamine your work will help you to target these areas specifically and resolve those issues long before your readers even know that the post or article exists.
Do Not Abandon Short Form Content
A major mistake that you should never make when writing content in 2020 is abandoning short form content. It is true that studies point towards long form content as a superior form. However, your readers are not always going to want to read 2,000-3,000-word posts and articles from you – especially if the subject matter does not call for it.
It may seem wise to just switch your train to the long form track and never look back again. By doing so, though, you will run the high risk of losing a substantial amount of your readers and followers. Find a balanced blend of long form and short form content to keep your readers engaged and informed along the way. This diversification of your content portfolio will turn your online presence into a convenient source for all readers in your target market – not just those who are looking for one type or the other.