Digital marketing strategies and best practices are evolving constantly. Over the past three to five years, one of the more obvious and relevant transformations has involved content length.
Though still popular on many social media platforms, short-form content has largely been replaced by long-form content.
This transition has been relatively smooth, but one of the drawbacks to “meaty” content is that it can be challenging for users to navigate. From a content creator’s perspective, learning how to make long-form content more digestible is a worthwhile, even necessary, step toward more effective digital marketing.
Why Long-Form Content?
Long-form content has risen to prominence as a result of its tangible benefits. Whereas 500-word blog posts were the norm in 2010, content marketers now see the value in 5,000-word pieces. These advantages include:
- Superior search engine rankings
- Greater subject matter authority (in the eyes of readers)
- Evergreen value
- Greater shareability
Not every piece of content you create could be classified as “long-form,” it’s imperative for you to incorporate as many meaty pieces into your content strategy as you can. If you do so, you’ll reap these rewards.
Five Tips for Digestible Long-Form Content
Understanding the value in long-form content and actually creating it are two different things, of course. In order for you to achieve the latter, you have to make your long-form content digestible.
Otherwise, it may do nothing more than overwhelm your readers. Here are five essential tips.
1. Include a Table of Contents
Have you ever read a book that didn’t include a table of contents up front? If it was a nonfiction book, that’s highly unlikely.
So why then should you expect your readers to consume long-form digital content without some sort of guidepost? With widgets and plugins, incorporation of a table of contents is easy – nearly effortless. Try it and you’ll see the difference.
2. Use Subheadings
When users visit your page, you want them to feel the content is manageable. If they see one paragraph after another without any page breaks, at least some of them are apt to feel overwhelmed and possibly hit the back-page button.
In order to make your content appear more manageable, insert subheadings at appropriate spots, such as the ones on this page from Adras & Altig Attorneys at Law.
3. Make it Visual
Nobody wants to tackle a 5,000-word page of content that consists of nothing but text. If your content is to be more compelling to visitors, make sure you sprinkle visuals throughout. Your options include images, graphs, infographics, video, memes, and more.
4. Avoid Chunky Paragraphs
Digital marketer Neil Patel is one of the leading experts on long-form content. Not only does he teach people how to develop it, but he also does a pretty effective job of producing examples of it on his own blog.
One of his suggestions is to avoid chunky paragraphs and instead focus on simple one- to two-sentence sets of text… like the ones found in this post. This helps readers stay focused and engaged.
5. Use “Back to Top” Links
Most readers find it relatively easy to get through the first few hundred words. Many can reach the 1,000-word mark without much distraction.
Around that point, however, it becomes considerably more difficult to hold users’ attention. In order to avoid losing visitors to their browser’s back button, learn to incorporate “back to top” links in your content that help them scroll instantly back to the start of the article.
Putting it All Together
Long-form content is critical to the digital marketing success today. In order for your long-form content to yield the levels of return you desire, you must make it digestible.
The tips above should get you started in the right direction. Keep practicing and refining your approach as you proceed.