long-form content

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Engaging Long-Form Content

Aaron Levenstadt CEO & Founder at Pedestal Search

Aaron Levenstadt CEO & Founder

January 3, 2023 | 5 Min Read

Article updated on February 1, 2023

Although there is a continuous debate if long-form content is dead or not, we believe long content pieces can be an excellent way to engage with readers and provide a lot of value. Get acquainted with what is considered long-form content, how to make it engaging, and what the benefits are for SEO.

An introduction to long-form content

At a high level, long-form content is generally over 1,000 words and pieces that provide more in-depth information. Because there’s more space to write, with 1,000 words being the minimum and by no means a suggestion to stick closely to that number, long-form content can provide readers with specialized knowledge of the industry they wouldn’t otherwise find. Long-form content can also engage readers in a story or process. That’s not to say short-form content isn’t as valuable. There are just different reasons to choose either long or short-form content. It depends on the audience and what the purpose of the piece will be.

Long-form content types

The first thought for many when they consider types of long-form content is likely blog posts. These are great places for brands to build on awareness and educate their audience.

There are also evergreen pages or pillar posts many businesses will use to branch out into related topics. For example, an air purification company might have a pillar on air quality. As a pillar piece, content will always be relevant, that can lead to air quality in the home, air purifiers, effects of air quality on health, and more.

For businesses that offer complicated products or services, like digital marketing tools, long-form content could be guides and tutorials. These would be spaces to flesh out the ins and outs of product processes so users don’t have any trouble using them.

Case studies are used to highlight the product or service in action and how it’s had a positive impact on other businesses. Similarly, whitepapers dive deep into an industry problem and how this product or service is a widely needed solution.

There are other forms of engaging content. A good rule of thumb to distinguish it is the length.

The purpose of long-form content

  • To keep readers on a webpage for longer by offering them valuable information.
  • To educate readers on topics that are too complicated for short-form content.
  • To ensure a brand continues to provide value and remains relevant.
  • To rank higher in Google’s SERPs using keywords and updated content.
  • To push prospects through the pipeline by proving the usefulness of the product.

Short-form content

To further understand long-form content and how it differs from short-form content, know this form will be fewer than 1,000 words and can be just as short as ten words if that’s what’s needed.

While long-form content will dive into a topic, short-form content will be succinct and gripping. They’ll focus on the need-to-know and generally lead directly to a strong CTA. Short-form content can be:
  • Short blog posts
  • Ads
  • Newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Infographics
  • Product updates and descriptions
Short-form content is ideal for quickly engaging with potential leads scanning through content.

Creating engaging content

1. One-up the competition

Engaging content won’t be well-received if a competitor is doing it better. An easy way to get your bearings here is to run a Google search on the chosen topic and see if/how your competitors are doing it. Then, do what they do but better. Make sure to include all the information they have and more, with your business’s unique take.

2. Set goals

There’s no point in starting on a long-form piece without a clear direction in mind, just like setting up a campaign or choosing business goals for the year. Engaging content must be informed by goals. For example, if the goal is to sell more products, then the pieces will be full of CTAs and information that gear readers toward that. If the goal is to educate people on a more obscure topic, the piece will be informative, use infographics, and provide further resources.

3. Choose good topics

There are some topics better suited to short-form content, especially if there isn’t much to say. That doesn’t mean a topic with lots of information should automatically be turned into a long-form piece, though. Topics should be relevant to the brand and the audience. Keep in mind the topic should also support the goals.

4. Explore in detail

With the space devoted to long-form content, users are looking for more information. Otherwise, they would stick to short-form content. Use this space to create engaging content by providing information readers aren’t already aware of. Wow them with interesting facts.

5. Leverage keywords

To support SEO efforts and have the content visible to Google searchers, use relevant keywords. Don’t stuff the content with keywords. Better yet, build a piece around the goal, and inform the topic with keywords that have potential.

6. Use subheadings and white space

Despite long-form content being lengthy, make it easier to read by breaking up text with headings and subheadings, and by using white space where possible. Not many will stick around to read a long piece, but more will if it looks easier to read through.

7. Use relevant media

Similar to the purpose of tip number six, use media (graphics, videos, animations, and images) to break up the text, help with explanations, and provide readers with another form of content to consume.

8. Write for the audience

Don’t forget who the content is for. It shouldn’t simply be a topic that interests you. It should be a topic the audience has shown interest in. Engaging content is only engaging if the readers have a reason to look at it.

SEO content strategy benefits

Creating engaging content has direct SEO benefits. With longer content comes more opportunities to add backlinks which Google sees as a sign of a reputable and informative sign.

An SEO content strategy goes hand-in-hand with creating engaging content since SEO needs a place to shine and longer content provides more opportunities in one piece. There’s more room for keywords both short and long-tailed. 

There’s a chance for higher conversion rates since readers of long-form content are normally there to give it more attention, and thus are further down the pipeline.

Long-form content turns businesses into what’s considered industry experts. As more readers are educated, Google sees that web page as the best option for the given search term. Lastly, the longer a user spends on a page, the lower the bounce rate becomes and the more Google thinks it’s relevant and raises the ranking.

All businesses can benefit from creating engaging content that will improve their SEO content strategy. Sometimes, the hardest part is getting started. Reach out to Pedestal Search for next steps.


Content Marketing, SEO

Aaron Levenstadt CEO & Founder at Pedestal Search

Aaron Levenstadt

CEO & Founder

Aaron Levenstadt completed his degree in Statistical & Data Science at Stanford University. That focus has given him an unparalleled data-driven approach to search engine digital marketing. Prior to founding Pedestal Search, Aaron worked at Google at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View California. At Google he worked on the Organic Search, Paid Search and Google Analytics products, which equipped him with extensive knowledge of the mechanisms driving Google’s algorithm and other internet search engines.