Creating engaging blog content is easier said than done. Every blog owner wants to be an authority in their market, often without having the slightest idea on how to go about it.
We’re going to talk about something that can work, if used correctly.
We’re going to focus on long posts, and discuss how they can really solidify your brand’s image, which will help to build trust and familiarity between you and the average visitor to your blog.
If the content on your blog makes it seem like you know what you’re talking about, you become an authority figure, and this can ultimately facilitate sales.
What Not to Do
If you have put your time and resources into creating a business blog, you don’t want content that’s just “average”. Your site visitors are busy and their attention is scattered and divided. If someone lands on your blog, you need to capture and maintain their interest.
Understand this: Your visitors will have an ADHD-like attention span… if they find your content boring. If they go to your blog and click on a post that has a snooze-inducing title, no images and dull writing with little-to-no topical relevance, then they will bounce from your site with no remorse.
Your visitors will only read your content if it engages them.
We’re going to look at this from a business context. The goal of most marketing endeavors is to generate more sales traffic. Now, for blogging, this also applies. But this is not the primary goal. Blog posts are great for brand-building. A solid, pillar blog post will help to cement your authority within your market—and your readers (and Google’s search engine) love a familiar authority. This, in time, will lead to sales growth.
A 250 word blog post that has some decent tips and content, but is mostly not explained very well?
An 800 word blog post that has an assortment of valuable tips and suggestions, with enough room to fully explain and communicate what it needs to in full detail?
I’ll take the latter (and so will your readers). A long-form, well-researched blog post will beat a thin, short-form article on most days. As explained before, your readers’ attention span is scattered and divided, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they only consume short content. It means that dull, boring content doesn’t excite them.
But this is not to say that short posts are all useless. A short post filled to the brim with good information, tips and value will outperform a rambling, unfocused 800+ word post that’s barren of any extractable value.
See, a long-form post simply gives you more opportunities to get your point across. A shorter post will give you far less opportunities, and when you’re writing about a topic that you know needs room to breathe, 200-300 words just won’t suffice.
3 Rules for Writing Longer Blog Posts
1. Keep it Simple
Make the content relatively easy to read. Unless you’re writing an especially technical post, keep it simple. Write in clear, concise sentences. Don’t have extra-long paragraphs —you’re not writing an academic essay. Also, have bolded header tags spread throughout the post, as it will signal to the reader that you’re trying to communicate a specific point, and/or there’s another section to the post. Remember, we live in an ADHD-like culture where people are incessantly bouncing from one website to the next, and people value their time more than anything. This means that the majority of your visitors will simply skim through your posts, and if you don’t have easy to read prose, and bolded or highlighted headers, your posts will be largely ignored.
2. Stay on Course
If you’re writing about, say, puppies, stay on that topic and don’t drift away from it. In a long post it’s easy for things to get lost in the fold. For three paragraphs you could be writing about newborn puppies and then somewhere you start writing about a giraffe you saw in the zoo.
To ensure that you stay on topic, you need an outline. An outline that has the points you want to convey, listed in order.
This accomplishes a few things:
- It’ll help to clarify your thoughts
- It’ll provide a logical roadmap for you to follow
- It’ll save time, as you’ll know what you have to write about
- It’ll help to rid of writers block
- It’ll make your blog posts look much more focused
3. Edit, Edit, and Edit Some More
Unless you’re a super-fantastic writer that can knock out stellar long-form posts in the first round, you will need to edit your posts. Sure, there are some exceptions, and of course, the more you write, the more your first drafts will start to look more polished. But there is usually something that you can improve upon. It could be faulty grammar, awkward transitions between paragraphs, redundant sentences, or just having unfocused content. Even if it takes an extra hour or two to edit the content, it’s a necessary price to pay to have great content. There are times when I’ve had to discard an entire post because it was pure garbage—it’s better to scrap a weak article than to risk your reputation and your authority.
Now, don’t get confused or overwhelmed with all this talk about long posts. If you have a blog, you need variety, and it doesn’t really hurt if you have long AND short posts. You should only write long posts when the topics calls for it, and if you know that you can’t get it done within the confines of 200-400 words. Don’t write a long-form post “just because”, as that would be a huge waste of time and effort that could be better spent elsewhere. Write a long post because it is necessary, and you think your readers will extract some type of value from it. Understanding this will enable you to become essential, to be viewed as an authority. And when you’re building a brand, there’s nothing better than that.