Making the Move to Long-Form Content
Online consumers are changing how they find information. Rather than clicking on several pages to gather all the information they seek, the trend is toward reading one long article, otherwise known as long-form content.
What is long-form content?
Long-form content is longer than most blog posts, which are 300–500 words. Long form offers a greater depth of information, is more comprehensive, and provides visual support of the written text. The copy can be 1,000–2,000 words or more, and it can be presented as a consumer guide, an e-book, or in a format that includes graphics, headers, and sub-headers.
Why have long-form content?
Unlike consumers seeking a new widget, legal consumers are looking for sufficient information that can help them make that important decision to hire a lawyer. Because legal topics are more complex, using long-form content gives readers the data they need. And, when you offer information that is easy to read and comprehend, you establish yourself as an authority in your area of practice.
Long-form content can improve your standing on Google and boost your listings for key pages and phrases. By providing interesting and informative content, visitors will stay longer on your pages and often return as they make their final decisions. Developing pages that bring readers back for more tells Google you have developed a loyal audience. Consider posting your content along with your SBM member profile information. Adding articles will help Google find your profile listing. How to post an article, blog, video, or press release in the SBM online Member Directory.
As always when developing content, remember the ethical rules and provide information, not advice. When in doubt, contact the Ethics Helpline at (877) 588-4760 before you post.
How to Create Long-Form Content
Start by identifying your objectives. Understand who you are trying to help with the content, why it is important, and how you will measure its success. Now, decide on a topic. You can write about new legislation, recent court decisions, or new questions and answers in your area of practice. Spending time to review the analytics on your blog to identify the most viewed topics will help find new topics.
While longer articles provide a more in-depth coverage of the topic, they require more time to write. This could mean fewer articles, but fewer articles published at regular intervals will still do well on a results page. Recognizing that these longer articles are still being read on phones and tablets, remember to format with bold font, lists, photos, video, and white space to make the article easy to scan.
Promoting your Long-Form Article
Long-form content gives you an asset to promote. You have a reason to reach out with an e-mail blast inviting your readers to find your article. Other suggestions for promotion:
- Add a link to the article on your website
- Promote it in your blog
- Promote it on social media—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Mention it in your e-newsletter
- Include links in e-mail correspondence
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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