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Why long form will always be the winner in the content wars



1,000+ is the magic number for sharable content – that’s according to a report released this week. An in-depth analysis of millions of blog posts published over the course of a year revealed that longer articles generated 56% more social shares on average. This number increased even further when it came to posts of 3,000 words and more, responsible for 77.2% more referring links.

 

The research landed at the perfect time, as I was already busy drafting a blog on the benefits of longer form content. So, aside from the increased likelihood of social sharing, I wanted to share my thoughts on why I believe this type of content will be crucial to any business or media outlet moving forward.

 

Value

Longer form content really enables writers to tell a story and build up a narrative around a topic, enabling them to put across more than one point of view in the piece (which I consider to be hugely valuable these days where a lot of the news we consume is restricted to one view point or another). These longer form pieces give us access to so many alternative viewpoints that you wouldn’t necessarily get with a shorter piece.  All of this serves to create increased value for readers.

Two of my favourite articles of the past week have taken me at least 20 minutes to read each, but the fact I’ve invested my time in doing so says to me that I value the content (and therefore who wrote it) much more.

 

Trust

The value of longer form writing has always been clear in my eyes, however, I think it will become increasingly important as our trust in media diminishes, largely due to the rise of fake news. Pieces that have clearly had a lot of effort and research invested in them will automatically gain the trust of reader (and Google – more below) much more than short articles. The ongoing problem of fake news is something that isn’t going away any time soon so long pieces will remain crucial to gain (and keep) consumer trust.

 

Search engine rankings

Getting traffic to websites is hugely important which is why clickbait and shorter form content, which is quick and easy to push out, tends to dominate the web. And there is absolutely still a place for it, meaning it’s unlikely that it will never go away. However, search engines do rank high quality content better. Google isn’t stupid, and it wants to see content that is authoritative, trustworthy and valued by readers.  

 

In addition, in depth content keeps those eyes on page for longer and gets bounce rates down, which is crucial for search rankings and media outlets - specifically when it comes to selling advertising.

 

Builds brand loyalty

As longer form content serves to keep visitors on a site for longer, it also helps to build brand loyalty and continuous discovery. Keeping a reader on a site for longer reinforces why they are there and tends to make them more likely to explore other sections of the site, rather than clicking straight off. Businesses should seriously consider this fact, and use it to inform their online experiences by thinking: how can I use these increased eyes on page to our benefit?

 

The future of long-form 

Clearly, longer form content delivers great value to readers. However, one of the things we now must consider – specifically when we look at long-form journalism – is how we can ensure its continuation?

 

Businesses can invest their own budgets in writing great longer form content, but it gets a little trickier when it comes to media outlets. In a world that believes information should be free, who forks out for these brilliant investigative pieces? In my eyes, information should be inclusive and available to all – whether they’re able to pay for it or not. However, I’m more than happy to pay a few quid out of my own pocket each week to help keep great journalism alive. 

 

If we want to continue to hear the views of many different people – rather than the select viewpoints of those media outlets that dominate much of the ‘free’ news agenda – I truly think this is the right thing to do. So, if you do have a spare few quid a month and really value a certain news outlet or blog, pay to get yourself behind that firewall; the future of great writing depends on it.

 

One final note: ironic that I haven’t managed to get this blog up to 1,000 words, eh?

 

 

Tagged with: creative PR writing, Tech PR Manchester agency, Tech PR. Digital PR