Want to learn what makes an amazing long form blog post that your readers will absolutely love? Then stick around, my friend, because this blog post covers how to do just that.
And whoa, a meta moment! You’re reading this long form blog post about long form blog posts. Pretty cool, eh?
Read on for the ultimate guide to writing long form blog posts that turns blog visitors into forever-fans.
If you’re a blogger looking to increase your traffic, then you might want to consider publishing more long form blog posts to your website.
I’ll tell you just what long form blog content is in a bit, but let me paint you a scenario real quick:
About 4.4 million blog posts are published every single day. It’s safe to assume that among those multi-million posts, many are about similar or the same topic.
So you can probably imagine that the average jane that might genuinely need some more information about your niche will find hundreds—nay, thousands—of blog posts on the very topic they’re searching for.
Now let’s imagine Average Jane types in “grow Instagram followers” on Google. Then they’re bombarded with the thousands, if not millions, of posts about the topic.
Headlines like “Best time to post on Instagram to grow your Instagram following” or “What kinds of posts get the most Instagram followers” and etc. decorate their computer screen.
What kind of blog post do you think Average Jane is going to click on?
Let me tell you right now, it’s probably one that sounds something like “The Ultimate Guide to Growing your Instagram Following,” or “Everything You Need to Know to Get More Instagram Followers.”
Just to wrap up our story, we can expect that when Average Jane does click on these types of posts and they see that these blogs have absolutely everything they’ve seen from separate posts.
Oh, look! There’s a section all about the best times to post. And another one about which types of posts perform best! Oh wow, and a section that explains how the algorithm works, how cool.
The long form blog post is everything that Average Jane needs—and because of the wealth of information they got from this one single post, they’re pretty darn impressed.
They trust the blogger who wrote this long form post, they opt-in to their free lead magnets and into their email list, and down the line, they pay for this blogger’s online course about getting more visible on Instagram.
And that, folks, is the power of a long form blog post.
What is a Long Form Blog Post anyway?
At this point, we need to talk about what exactly long form blog content means.
It’s pretty simple: it’s a content piece or post on your blog that’s, well, long.
Wondering how long a long form content piece usually is?
The general consensus is that it’s a blog post or content piece that hits a word count of about 2,000 words at the minimum—but I’d argue that depending on the topic and niche, this could be a little shorter or a lot longer.
The majority of the long form content on my own blog are about 3,000-5,000 words. (Update: I did a word count on this long form post, and it’s about 3,500 words. Whew!)
You can publish a whitepaper, a report, or even an ebook that’s at least 2,000 words on your website, and that’s considered a long form content piece.
However, for simplicity’s sake, I’m limiting the use of “long form content” to just blog posts, like the one you’re on right now. But just letting you know that long form content can mean just about anything that hits that minimum word count that’s published on your blog (excluding landing pages and sales pages, of course).
Benefits of Using Long Form Blog Content
Aside from getting that much-needed trust between you and your blog readers, long form blogs have a couple other handy advantages.
So allow me to get nerdy for a little bit and drop some of the stats surrounding long form content, in case you’re anything like me that looks for the cold hard facts.
Helps boost your search engine rankings
Whether you’re a certified SEO savant or a beginner blogger, you’ll want to pay attention to your blog posts’ search engine rankings.
Remember a basic principle: the higher you rank on Google, the more free traffic you get.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a blog post be the first result on a Google page (fun fact: this post on my blog ranks first for the keyword phrase “passion project ideas”), you’re extra lucky. Why? That’s because the first result on a Google search query alone gets about almost 30% of clicks.
The second result drops down to half, about 15%, so the difference is pretty crazy.
So how does long form blog content fit into improving your search engine rankings?
For one thing, it can be because longer blog content means more opportunities to signal to Google that your blog post matches a person’s search intent (or reason for searching what they search).
Search algorithms are getting much smarter, so this goes beyond a slimy keyword stuffing tactic. Instead, how it works is that your long form blog post gives you the opportunity to provide these algorithms with more context about your post.
This in turn tells the algorithm, “Hey, this blog post looks awesome and is exactly what specific people are searching for. Im’ma go ahead and put this near the top.”
There are other reasons it helps boost your blog search rankings, such as…
Increases the average time people spend on your page
The time someone spends on a page is an important factor that influences your search rankings, too. If Google notices that people land on your blog post and barely stay on for more than a couple seconds, then that serves as a signal that, hey, maybe people don’t like this post or find it that helpful.
End result? It brings down your page ranking and instead boosts other posts that are getting people to stay on their pages longer.
Sure, a lot of factors might influence a person’s length of staying on your blog post. Spammy pop-up ads and slow loading times come to mind.
But if you’ve got a fast-loading blog and aren’t scaring people away with annoying ads, then publishing longer blog posts can help keep them on your site longer, plus signals to Google that your post is pretty freaking cool for keeping people on your post for that long.
Remember, long form blogs will contain more information. Many people might only be interested in a specific portion of your content, but when they see the wealth of information you provide, that might prompt them to stay awhile and smell the flowers.
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How to Write Long Form Blog Posts: Step-by-Step Guide
Convinced that you should be making more long form blog content but aren’t quite sure where to start? No worries, I’ve got this handy step-by-step guide to help you do just that.
Choose your topic
This seems pretty obvious—Mica, you literally can’t write blogs without a topic—but I can’t skip this one.
Choosing a topic for your long form content requires a bit of work. You can’t just pluck a topic out of the air and then expect that it’s going to turn into a long form content piece right then and there.
For one thing, to make sure your efforts at writing a long form blog post pay off, you want to pick the best topics.
When it comes to long form content, the best topics are those that are broad enough to be able to create a longer piece on, yet specific enough that you can still create a high-value post about a single narrowed-down topic.
Consider, for example, the marketing niche. A topic like “digital marketing” or, even broader, “marketing” is far too broad a scope to write a truly valuable blog post—there are just too many subtopics under this umbrella term to even know where to begin.
Instead, the topics of “Facebook marketing” or “influencer marketing” will probably work better. You’re able to flesh out these topics in far more detail without going all over the place because of its too-broad scope.
📌 Try this at home tip
Brainstorm between 5-10 topics you believe you can create long-form content on. Make sure these are related to your blog niche!
Do keyword research about your topic
Next up, you’ll want to do some keyword research.
Now, if you’ve never done this before, keyword research might sound scary. But it’s just like learning to write a blog; it can be tricky at first, but over time, it becomes second nature.
So before you think about skipping the keyword research part altogether, let me tell you why this step is so important.
The purpose of keyword research is two-fold: you want to see how many people are searching about your chosen topic, and what exactly people are searching about this topic.
When you know how many people are searching your topic, you’re able to see whether or not this topic is even worth writing about. Unless you’re in a very, very, very specific niche, you probably wouldn’t benefit from writing about a topic that only gets, say, 10 searches a month.
Of course, this doesn’t mean choosing keywords and topics based only on their volume search. Because if you pick keywords that already have a ton of search results, it’ll be trickier to get your blog post to rank.
What you want to do is find topics that are in the sweet spot—or keywords that have just enough volume of searches with not too much competition. Now, I have to point out that the sweet spot can vary depending on your niche, so I wouldn’t drop a specific range to aim for.
Instead, I’ll recommend some tools for you to use that will help you skip the guesswork and make keyword research much easier.
📌 Try this at home tip
Use the tools in the next section to do research about your topic ideas.
Tools for doing keyword research
I’ve narrowed down my list to keyword research tools that have at least a generous free plan yet pack a punch when it comes to delivering results.
Answer The Public
For those very new to the keyword research game, I can’t recommend AnswerThePublic enough. It’s very easy to use, with its visual charts and even a list of related search terms people use alongside your topic.
For example, I got the idea to write my blog post about passion project ideas when I looked up “passion project” on AnswerThePublic. This was the chart I used as reference.
If you can see the image clearly, there were more than a couple results that told me people wanted to get ideas for a passion project, so that’s exactly what I went with.
Your results are based on the most popular things people are searching for about your keyword, so it’s a great tool for brainstorming specific long form blog post topics or for validating your topic ideas.
Note, however, that AnswerThePublic doesn’t give you the actual volume of searches per month for any of these topics, but I still think it’s a great tool to get you on the right track.
For all my Google nerds out there, did you know that Google Trends even existed? What I love about a tool like Google Trends is that it makes it easy to implement a growth tactic we call trend-jackin.
Trend-jacking—or trend-surfing, trend-hopping—is using the momentum of a trending topic in order to get eyes on your blog post.
The easiest example to illustrate this is when media publications come out with movie reviews about the latest box office films. People often look for reviews before deciding to watch a particular film, so this is free advertising and traffic for anyone that writes about them.
But trends, like products, have a lifespan. You wouldn’t be looking up a new review about Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame three years later, would you?
The key to trend-jacking is releasing fresh content while a trend is about to peak. Too early, search engines might think you’re old news; too late, no one might care anymore because they’ve seen it all.
Google Trends can help you get it just right. You can look up either trending topics based on the past few days or hours, or look up when a particular topic or keyword set begins to trend. The latter applies to any seasonal trends that usually come ‘round the bend, like Halloween, new school years, etc.
Google Trends can give you data based on location, where people are looking up this topic, and even where this keyword trends the most.
The final keyword search tool I recommend is the free Chrome extension, Keyword Surfer. (Sorry to my fellow non-Chrome users out there!)
It’s one of the best entry level keyword research tools because it has just about everything you need to get started. You simply type in your search term on Google, and then it pulls up data about its search volume per month. You’ll also see data based on Google auto-complete suggestions, plus related search terms and data about those, so that’s handy.
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Pick your subtopics for your long form blog post
My recommendation when you’re making long form content is to pick out subtopics about your main keyword that also have some level of search volume and rankability. (Now do you see why I can’t recommend doing keyword research?)
As you conduct keyword research about your broader topic, you might be able to identify potential subtopics along the way.
For example, if you’re writing a long form blog post about “how to publish an ebook,” perhaps you find related subtopics like “how to publish an ebook on Amazon” or “how to sell an ebook.” Take note of these as they come up—you’ll want to include them in your outline later!
📌 Try this at home tip
Note down 3-5 related subtopics under your main topics. If some of the topics you’d listed before as main topics now seem like better subtopics, don’t be afraid to shuffle things around.
Spy on the competition
When I’m writing a long form blog post, I like to see what’s already out there. Doing a quick Google search is best here, since you’d then be finding results just like your target audience.
Skim the first page of results to see what you find. Are you seeing a lot of lists? Ultimate guides?
While spying on the competition is a good way to get more ideas for structuring your long form blog post, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading all these posts. You can quickly look at what other blogs are doing, like peeking at their own subtopics or headings, but all in all, your goal is to outdo the competition with a better blog post.
So reading the competition’s blogs can give you ideas for your own long form content, but make sure you don’t end up simply copying their blog posts either.
📌 Try this at home tip
Read the first page of search results based on your topic. What do you notice about the top results? Look into each of the results. What’s missing from these posts that you can address?
Form a logical outline
So you’ve got your topic, you’ve got your subtopics, and you know which direction you want to take your long form blog after spying on the competition. Now is the perfect time to write your outline.
Outlining a long form blog post isn’t about simply mashing up all those subtopics. Instead, you need to make sure there’s a logical flow for your post.
Because long form blogs will always have different subtopics and sections, put yourself in the shoes of your reader. What information would be helpful to have first? What should they know next when they understand a particular section?
One of my favorite ways to outline a long form blog is using my What-Why-How format. I’ll first talk about what the topic is and flesh out key ideas about it. Then I’ll move on to why this topic might be important, especially to my readers. Then I wrap it all up with how my readers might be able to apply anything I talked about in the post.
Of course, depending on your niche, your long form blogs might be able to use my What-Why-How outlining method, but you can always experiment and discover how to outline your content in ways that work best for you.
📌 Try this at home tip
When writing your outline, ask yourself if it would make sense to you as a first-time reader. Imagine you’re explaining your topic to someone who might only be learning it for the first time. Are you missing anything or skipped too far ahead?
Get that first draft out
When everything else is said and done, there’s really nothing else to do other than writing that blog post.
Sure, a long form blog post is probably a daunting task to think about, what with its length and all. But commit to just finishing up section by section until you actually hit the finish line.
There’s really no way to finish your blog post without sitting down and writing it. But, of course, let me share some of my favorite tips for completing long form blog posts more efficiently.
Best tips for write long form blog content faster
- Set a daily word count goal. I like to make my word count goal about 1,000 words/day. This is because I’m a full-time business owner and blogger, and I’ve been writing for years. You might want to start with 500 words or even 300 words. Do what’s doable for you, yo.
- Create a distraction-free environment. It’s hard to write when you’re constantly bombarded by a notification dinging, or an Infinity Pool calling your name. The best way to become a more productive writer is eliminating these common distractions so that you can get into Deep Focus Work.
- Practice getting into Deep Focus Work using Pomodoros. A great productivity technique for new and struggling bloggers is writing with the Pomodoro technique. You’ll be able to practice working your focus muscles by using only a simple timer or app. Trust me, when you’ve tried this technique, there is no going back, my friend.
📌 Try this at home tip
Commit to writing at least 500 words a day to complete your long form blog post as quick as possible.
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Revisit and refine over time
Finally, if you want your long form blog efforts to last for years and years to come, then you might want to edit your post every so often.
If there’s new or updated information about anything you talk about, if there are defunct things that shouldn’t be on your blog anymore, take the time to implement these edits.
This helps you make sure your blog post is the most valuable piece out there, and that separates you from lazy bloggers that never update their evergreen long form blogs. And remember: when people like your blog post, search engines will know, and they will reward you for that.
It’s a win-win, yo.
📌 Try this at home tip
Every 6 months, review your long form blog posts to see what you can update, if at all. Commit to updating links, images, and references with more updated ones so you can keep your blog post up to date.
Final Thoughts about Writing Long Form Content
Here are just a few things I want you to take away about your long form blog writing:
It’s not just about word count
Make your long form post only as long as it needs to be. There’s no use writing a 5,000+ word blog post when it’s only full of fluff or repetitive sections.
Your audience’s needs come first
When it comes right down to it, your long form blog needs to help audiences in some way. Focus on creating a truly high-value post, and don’t be afraid to give your best insights and thoughts.
Imagine every single long form blog as your ideal audience’s first impression of you. How can you make sure that it’s a great first impression?
Results follow after quality
Don’t obsess over SEO best practices when your blog post can’t stand on its own. You can always do the tweaks and improve on technical aspects—but content, as always, is king.
What’s your long form blog content plan?
That wraps up today’s ultimate guide. Let me know how you plan to use long form content in your own blog and business in the comments below!
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