How to Build a Top Long-Form Content Strategy

How to Build a Top Long-Form Content Strategy


If you’re writing content that comes in at 700 words long and over, you’re producing long-form content. 

Creating long-form content is a challenging and exciting process. And if you’re going to do it, you better learn to do it right. 

There are a lot of great reasons why you should be developing a long-form content strategy. We’re going to give you the reasons why and then we’ll show you how to build your strategy. 

Why Long-Form Content is Important 

  • It will improve the search engine rankings of your website.
  • It will increase your content engagement. 
  • It will increase your social media presence. 
  • It builds authority for your brand.
  • It gives you the ability to link out more, creating more partnerships and referral relationships. 
  • It gives you the ability to provide more educational content to your audience, which builds trust. 
  • It offers more backlink opportunities to build trust in the search engines. 
  • It leaves more room for engaging CTAs, which lead to more conversions. 
  • It gives you the ability to create more repurposed content for future posts.  

What Type of Long-Form Content is There

  • A case study is a professional write-up of a happy client showcasing your brand’s struggle and solution.
  • White paper – a long-form blog article that serves as an in-depth resource or solution.
  • An eBook is gated downloadable content that typically solves a long-term problem or is a step-by-step guide.
  • An Ultimate guide is a downloadable resource for a tutorial or walkthrough to a solution.
  • Annual year in review – a blog article or newsletter that you post annually, showcasing your brand’s growth and challenges.
  • Roundups and reviews – lists of referral partners or resources you use and review for your audience.
  • Brochures or datasheets – these can come in the form of slide decks, one-pagers or infographics to help your audience understand your services or products.

Define Your Goals 

Producing high-quality long-form content is not easy. Moreover, it’s a competitive market. Defining your goals is good for motivating you and your team. It gives you something to strive for. 

Furthermore, having clear goals stops you from getting sidetracked and gives your content and process clarity of purpose.  

Who is Your Target Audience 

Knowing who you’re writing to is essential. This will dictate the nature of your content and, perhaps more importantly, the tone. It will also dictate when and where you apply depth to your content. 

For example, if you’re writing about blockchain to an audience that knows about crypto, then you can assume your reader knows what blockchain is. However, you would want to give a clear and straightforward definition if they don’t. 

To learn more about understanding your target audience, check out this article by our friends at Spacehuntr.

What Problems Are You Solving For Them 

A good long-form content strategy does two critical things. First, your articles should be related to the product or services you offer, and secondly, they provide solutions to problems your target audience has. 

So, for example, if your product is management software for charitable foundations, you’ll want to make valuable content to the board members of charitable nonprofits. That can also tie in the relevance of your management software. 

Doing these two things does several things; firstly, it allows you to rank higher in Google for relevant themes. It also gives you the chance to be a thought leader in your sector, leading to greater sales conversions. 

Checking Out the Competition 

Checking out your competitors is so crucial. They are how you measure yourself. You can learn from them. See what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and then go away and figure out how you can do that better. To learn more about building your competitive edge, check out our article on content marketing tips to stay ahead of the game. 

Brainstorming Your Niche

After you’ve seen what your competition is doing, this is when you can start to think about what your niche is. There is so much content out there, so why should readers be reading your blog and not your competitions? For starters, check out this guide on establishing authority through content

Besides, brainstorming should be fun. This is where you get inspired. It’s essential to choose titles and themes that you believe in and interest you. If you don’t, it will make the writing and publishing process harder. 

To help you along with the brainstorming process, read up on how to intrigue your viewers with a topic that may seem mundane at first glance. 

SEO Research and Search Intention Refinement

SEO is so important. At once, it is a very complex concept, constantly in flux. On the other, the core principles are pretty simple, never changing. To start you off, make sure to read our guide to successful SEO tips and tricks.  

SEO research is a scientific process. But it’s also a problem-solving process. What you also need to consider is people’s search intentions. Perhaps this is where intuition comes into the process; you need to think about what your customers are searching for? 

Establishing a Content Development Process

Every person and every team has their own way of doing things. However, every good content development process should have the following elements: 

  • Keyword Research
  • Title
  • Content brief
  • Draft
  • Edit
  • Revisions
  • Media selection
  • Layout
  • Optimisation
  • Browser preview
  • Publish
  • QA

Establishing a Content Calendar 

As with establishing a content development process, there is more than one way to do a content calendar. However, you should probably include the following steps in your calendar. 

You should track your content calendar meticulously in a datasheet via google or excel. And as for managing pieces through this content process, we would recommend a tool like Trello. 

  • Title of Content Piece
  • Target Audience Segment or Persona
  • Content Format
  • Author
  • Content Brief Due Date
  • Draft Deadline
  • Editing Deadline
  • Design & Development Deadlines
  • Publication Date
  • Target SEO Keyword(s)
  • Associated Keyword Query Volume
  • Comments or Other Information

As for how long this all takes, that depends on your team and your workload. However, you should account for around 4 hours per 1,000 word piece with an experienced content writer at the helm.

Auditing

After you’ve done all this work, you’re going to want to know if it’s been worth it. You set those goals at the start for a reason, remember. So you need to be able to audit your progress. This can be done externally, by professionals, or it can be done in house. 

Analysing the performance of your work is a crucial part of modifying your strategy. After all, doing more of what has been working and dropping or altering what hasn’t is all part of the fun and the experience! 

Wrapping up 

So there you have it, how to build a top long-form content strategy. It might seem like a daunting process, but you can do it if you follow these steps. So good luck, and if you have any questions on how we can help your content marketing process, we’d love to hear from you!