Long-form content has replaced short, frivolous, fluffy articles as the preferred content form on the internet (and may we just say, it was about time).
Writing a 600-word piece about something no longer ranks as well – in fact, top-ranking content now averages at around 1447 words.
If we consider long-form content anything above 1000 words, the question that arises is naturally – how do we make this kind of content interesting to read and, above all else, valuable to the reader?
Let’s try to answer that question in 1000 words, shall we?
1. Keep Your Word Count Realistic
First of all, you’ll want to determine whether your topic is actually fit for a longer article. Maybe you can cover it neatly with 700 words?
If this is indeed the case, refrain from cramming any extra words in there just for the sake of it – because remember, quality over quantity, no matter how many words it takes.
2. Cut to the Chase
Somewhat in line with the point we’ve just made – you should also refrain from going on and on about any particular point.
Once the point is made, you don’t need to keep explaining it or expanding it. If you have properly defined your target audience and their level of knowledge about your topic, you should know exactly how much detail you need to be going into.
3. Consider Your Audience
If you are essentially asking someone to read a 3000+-word article, you’d better be certain they are ready for the commitment.
In other words, make sure you have carefully analyzed not only the knowledge level of your audience but also their interest in your topic, your conclusions, and your way of writing.
Most people like to skim and skip through articles. To hold on to their attention for 3000 words, make sure the points you cover in your headings and bullet points are something they have a genuine interest in.
4. Include a Table of Contents
Long-form content can incredibly benefit from having a table of contents at the top of the page. This will help your audience maneuver through the article much more easily and allow them to jump to a point they are particularly interested in.
Here is a very detailed review of a Mac Pro that also has a great table of contents at the top, blended into the article so it doesn’t take up too much space.
Or, you can do a table of contents that will always be accessible – this is especially useful if your article is over 2000 words long. Case in point, this post on rich snippets features a table of contents on the left-hand side of the page.
5. Break It up with Visuals
Long-form content needs to be broken up by some sort of visual “distraction” in order to be more interesting and engaging – otherwise, the more faint-hearted among your readers might easily give up.
And let’s just admit it, black words on a white background are much more appealing on paper than on a screen.
Take a look at this post from Best Spy – it has all sorts of visual elements that make it much more interesting. There are images for each product; there are pros and cons to take a look at; there are colorful CTAs that break up the black and white and make the page easier to digest and skim.
6. Format it Properly
There’s nothing worse than an article that has no headings, no subheadings, no bullet points, no indentations, no images, and no videos.
True, you don’t need to include all of these elements, but headings and images should be an absolute must. No matter how well the article is written or what kind of value you are providing – if it’s hard to read on a screen, no one will actually stick around long enough to find that value. This post from Neil Patel has some great tips on properly formatting your posts to increase reading engagement.
7. Provide Examples Where You Can
Notice how I keep adding in these examples everywhere?
Examples help you drive your point across much better than just words used to describe these same examples.
Whenever you can, illustrate your points – add images, add videos, link to the things you mention in your post. This will add to the article, and it will be good for your SEO as well.
8. Use Stats and Metrics
Facts and figures are also a great thing to have in your posts. They will help back your points, and they’re always interesting to read.
For example, if you mention facts like “did you know that rabbits can’t throw up?” or “kids ask 300 questions a day” – you will provide your reader with something they can take away from your article and actually remember it.
Of course, try to keep your facts and figures on topic.
9. Consider a Readability Score (Or Not)
Readability scores and tools like Grammarly and Hemingway can come in handy. But they can also quickly turn into a major distraction and pain in the neck, so only use them if you have a compelling reason to do so.
If a website you are pitching a contribution to has a set rule when it comes to readability scores, or if you know a certain audience reads at a certain level or below – this kind of tool can help.
On the other hand, if you are finding it annoying and prefer to use the passive voice every once in a while, and you like to add a couple of very lengthy, run-on sentences that you know the tool would simply hate, but that you personally feel don’t hamper the quality of the article – avoid the tool and trust your gut.
As you can see, writing 1000 words long-form content on an interesting topic doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. As long as you choose your topic carefully, do a bit of research, add a bit of wit and humor in there, and follow the tips and ideas we’ve outlined above, you’ll do quite all right.