Dec 08

Five Reasons Why Your Business Needs Bloggers

Do you have a business blog? If not, why not? According to HubSpot, business who run a blog receive 67 percent more leads than those who do not.  I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to get 67 percent more leads than my competitors.

Heather over at the Virginia Bloggers Club (of which I’m a member) has written a great post, The Five Reasons Why Your Business Needs Bloggers. A good blog can generate leads, improve your search engine rank, and drive more leads, traffics and visits to your website at a minimal cost.

 

 

Nov 05

And This Is Why I Don’t Do Work on Spec or Free Test Samples

This. THIS. A thousand times…this. If you’re a company considering writers, please do not ask them to do a test article or sample for free. Why? Watch this video.

Nov 04

VIDEO Blog Post Freelance Writing Tips

 

custom image you tube

 

New! Here’s today’s “v-log” or video recorded blog post, an introduction to what I hope will be an ongoing series on freelance writing. I’ve been inundated lately with requests for information from young people interested in a career as a freelance writer. To answer all these inquiries, I’ve put together a series of “21 tips” or 21 videos I intend to record. This will accompany the launch of my latest “21 Tips” book on making a living as a freelance writer. Ready? Watch the video, below.

 

Sep 04

How Giving Up Television Changed Me

After grumbling each month over my satellite television bill, and endless hours starting at the T.V. each night whining, “There’s nothing to watch!” when I have access to 200 channels, I pulled the plug. Literally. I unsubscribed to satellite TV and for a few blissful days, the house was quiet from the squawking boob tube.  My spirit quieted along with the squawk box.

Licensed from (C) everett225/DepositPhoto.com

Licensed from (C) everett225/DepositPhoto.com

 

I’ve never been a huge fan of television or movies. I’d rather find a book that sucks me right into its imaginary world and spend blissful hours in a comfy chair, cat on my lap, cup of tea by my side, totally inside the author’s imagination. Yeah, I’m a party animal all right.

Maybe it’s how I grew up. I grew up with a black and white television, and my parents didn’t turn it on until the evening hours with Walter Cronkite and the 6 p.m. news. Television choices were simpler then, and at the risk of dating myself like expired milk, I have fond memories of waiting for Monday nights and The Muppet Show, Sunday nights and The Wonderful World of Disney, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and other innocent pleasures.

But something changed in the past five years. At first, I thought it was me. I became more deeply involved in my faith, to be sure, and began reading and learning all I could about it, which changed my views on many cultural issues. .

I realized that part of my dissatisfaction was the selection of programs available via the two satellite television providers we tried. Neither had much in the way of new content, and what they offered was sometimes morally objectionable. As the years went by, more and more shows dove into the ‘morally objectionable’ category and fewer were ones we’d watch.

When my family found ourselves faced with a choice to watch re-runs of The Waltons, re-runs of Little House on the Prairie,  or Ancient Aliens, and realized we were paying almost $90 a month for the privilege, we decided to cut the cord for good.

How Giving Up Television Changed Me

At first, I felt disoriented, like something was missing from my life. We would be walking the dog after dinner and I’d turn to my husband to ask, “What’s on tonight?” only to realize neither of us had a clue, nor cared. We didn’t have access. It was a moot point.

It’s amazing how much of my daily life was organized around television watching time, and this from a woman who watched maybe two hours a day, tops, on a work day. Yet my schedule was dictated by when my favorite programs were on. Once the television was silent, my time was once again my own.

I worked more on my novel, I Believe You, that week than ever before.  The dog was finally brushed daily. The house was clean. I went to bed early.

I also started sleeping soundly for the first time in years.

My mood improved. I felt…serene.

When we had satellite television, so many of the images, even just casually browsing by each channel, were negative. People shouting at each other, news pundits excoriating guests, ‘reality shows’ with phony plot lines. It got so that I didn’t even want to be in the same room when the television was on. Now, however, because we’re watching shows that are recorded, it’s simple entertainment – and it’s our choice. We can choose the stories, plots, and other factors that enter our home. And I choose things that don’t upset me or my peace of mind!

Today: Some Television, But No Longer Attached

We now watch recorded movies, television shows and courses we’ve purchased on DVD. We watch the broadcast stations for the news and weather, but I find myself walking out of the room when anything other than the weather comes on.  New affects me tremendously. Maybe it’s the writer in me. I’m too sensitive. I see images on television and I don’t sleep well.

Now my television costs nothing each month because it’s broadcast TV. If I want to watch a new movie, I rent it or find the DVD at the public library. And I don’t miss satellite television at all.

Better Writer?

My creativity has soared higher as the amount of hours spent watching television has dropped. More importantly, my mood has improved. I’m focused, open to new ideas, and better able to recognize great ideas when they arrive.

I credit all this with giving up the trash that passes for entertainment on most of the big-name networks these days. No, I have no idea who the latest reality TV star is or who that person at the awards ceremony is…but I don’t care. I’m too busy writing to care.

 

Giving up television might not be for you, but limiting it, as we finally chose to do, may be just what you need. Try it for a while. You don’t have to go full Amish, but turn the darned thing off and be choosy about what you put into your mind. More people are concerned with the quality of the food that they eat than the quality of the ideas and images they let into their minds from the boob tube. By being choosy, you can gain greater serenity, harmony and peace…and maybe, when the subconscious settles down, be a better writer, too.

 

Aug 27

Should Freelance Writers Complete Free Test Articles?

As a freelance writer, I’m often asked to complete a test assignment. Sometimes companies offer compensation, sometimes they don’t. Here’s my answer to such a request, and why.

 

NO

 

Why Freelance Writers Should NEVER Write a Free Test Article

Last week, I submitted an application to a company seeking a content writer. A friend passed the ad on to me, and the company looked interesting and well-established. The ad didn’t say how much each article assignment would eventually pay, but the professional tone of the advertisement was encouraging. So too was the fact that I had impressive publishing credentials in exactly the space the potential client worked in – and magazine clips to submit on the exact topics he wanted someone to write for. It seemed like a slam-dunk, a home run.

The potential client responded within 24 hours. “Congratulations! You’ve made the first cut. You’re among 25 writers we’re considering for this vacancy.”

You’ve narrowed it down to…25? Are you kidding me? Already I had that prickling feeling on the back of my neck that warns me a potentially bad situation is looming. But the next paragraph clinched it for me.

“In order for us to select the best writer, we require you to complete the attached questionnaire and submit two sample articles. Each article will be keyword-rich and 1,000 words. Submit your articles within 24 hours to us at…”

How long does it take a professional writer to research keywords and topics, then write a really solid 1,000 word article? I would say at least one hour per article. So essentially, this company wanted two free hours of work from each of their 25 potential writers. Then, and only then, would one lucky writer be chosen to work with them. And by the way, they still didn’t mention how much they planned to pay.

So I emailed them back and politely let them know that while I would be willing to complete a test, my rate for completing such a test is X, and I accepted PayPal and bank check.

They seemed absolutely flummoxed by my response. I received another email back, letting me know that it was standard practice within their company to ask applicants to complete tests. Writers, designers, computer programmers, whoever was going to work with them, they wanted a lengthy test.

Now while I can see such a test for a full-time position, for freelance work it is absurd. It is especially absurd when you consider that I had submitted published magazine articles on the EXACT topic requested in their test article.

I declined to write the test, and explained my reasons to them in this manner.

“Would you ask a lawyer to prepare a free legal brief for you so that you can assess his skills? Ask a physician to commit two hours at no charge to you so that you can assess his surgical skills? Ask a dentist to install a free filling and a crown so you can test his skills? No. So why are you asking writers to give you two free hours of their time?”

Their only response was to tell me that this was their standard method of assessing freelancers and so far, no one had complained but me. Well, I have news for them. The reason they haven’t heard complaints yet is because the better writers packed up their keyboards and went elsewhere.

Here's me, waving goodbye.

 

The sad fact is that many writers probably DID complete their test assignments. What guarantee do we have that the company won’t use the two free articles produced as part of the test? None. Just their word that they have given the same writing prompts to all 25 writers and therefore couldn’t use the resulting articles. After all, no one would want to publish, let alone read, 25 articles on the same topic. Right? Well, maybe…

Now I am not saying that this particular firm intended to get free content. It has been my experience, however, that companies who want lengthy free consultations or to “hear your thoughts” on their pressing problem before they hire you as a consultant are hoping to get free work out of you. Why companies think it is okay to do this with consultants and creative freelancers, such as designers, writers, photographers and others, is beyond me, but we (the creative types) do seem to get hit with this more frequently than say, other white-collar professions.

As a freelance writer, my experience is simply this: the best companies I work with are the ones who paid me a fair rate for a simple test assignment. Many paid me to participate in short online training courses to learn the ropes for their particular clients or content platforms. They paid me for my time.

If you are a freelance writer and a company asks you to complete a big free project, ask yourself (and yes, ask them too) why. Why do they want a test assignment? Offer clips of your work, links to it online, or a short paragraph if they truly want to assess your writing skills.

But don’t give your time and talents away for free. You’re worth more than that.

No, freelance writers should not complete test articles at no charge.

 

Jeanne for websiteThis article was written by Jeanne Grunert, president of Seven Oaks Consulting, and “The Marketing Writer“.  Jeanne is a 20+ year veteran of countless meetings which could have been handled by phone calls or emails. Her experience includes leading marketing department, writing books and magazine articles, and pushing cats off of her desk. Jeanne does not write free test assignments but she’s happy to give you a satisfaction guarantee on your first project with her. If you’re not happy with her writing, you’re free to cancel and go elsewhere with no hard feelings and not a penny owed to her. For more information, visit www.marketing-writer.com, Jeanne’s website.

Aug 20

Five Things Your Freelance Writer Wants You to Know

10253953_10152127461657081_7873493515381398667_nAudrey II (the office orchid, above) and I would like you to know five very important things. These are the five things that the freelance writer you’ve hired would like you to know but is probably too shy to tell you.

  1. Provide clear project instructions: When you’re working with a freelancer, time is money. Every moment spent working on your project is a moment not spent working on another paying gig. So please respect your freelance writer, graphic designer, web designer and other freelancer’s time. Provide clear instructions, including expectations, deadlines, and background information, at the start of the project. Your freelance writer will thank you.
  2. Stop tweaking: Most freelance writers, myself included, are happy to make edits. We are not happy when you begin sending the same document back to us multiple times with different edits. If a word choice, phrase, or product detail was correct in version 1, it should be correct in version 3. At some point, you have to stop tweaking a document and, to paraphrase Frozen, let it go.
  3. Read every word: That said, read every word. Every. Single. Word. Read and double-check telephone numbers, email addresses, URLs, product SKUs and more. “But,” you protest, “isn’t that what I’m paying my writer to do?” Yes but your freelance writer is still a human being. Copywriters get tired, hungry, and interrupted a lot. Mistakes happen. You are the final approval person on any project, so check and double-check all of the copy that your freelance writer sends to you.
  4. Don’t be surprised when your freelancer works for someone else. They aren’t employees. They will write for other clients, oftentimes on the same topics. That’s because freelance writers, marketing writers and other copywriters gain a reputation for writing about specific subjects, and as such, they’re called upon by others to write on that topic. You wouldn’t be shocked to find that the man painting your house is painting another house down the street, nor would you insist he sign an exclusive contract with you not to paint any other house on the block. By the same token, however, you do expect discretion; if he hears you discussing your medication on the telephone with your doctor, he shouldn’t blab to the neighbors about it when he paints their house. Freelance writers should ALWAYS write unique copy for each client. They nearly always write for many clients in the same industry, but recycling text is a no-no. Expect freelancers to freelance…it’s what we do. Otherwise, we’d be your employee. And you’d have to provide me with paid vacation and medical benefits.
  5. Pay promptly, and if paying by PayPal, absorb the fees. Unless you and your freelancer have agreed on specific net terms, payment is due upon completion of the project and receipt of the freelancer’s invoice. Most freelancers struggle with an uneven cash flow, and they appreciate it when clients pay promptly. Another thing they really appreciate is clients who pay them the full amount by absorbing transaction fees in PayPal. Most freelance writers, myself included, accept payments via PayPal. I agree on my fees with clients as the NET amount I expect to receive. When they pay via PayPal and I am suddenly socked with PayPal fees, it’s short-changing me. I always appreciate it when clients pay me the gross amount and absorb the fees on their end. It is thoughtful and considerate of their freelance writers.

 

Your freelance copywriter, marketing writer and other freelance professionals are part of your team. They may work from home with a cat draped across the keyboard or they make work parked at a table in the local library or coffee shop. No matter where they hang their shingle, they should be treated as professionals. Just as they treat your firm like a valued client, so too should you treat them like the valued team members they are.

 

Jeanne for website

If you are ready to hire a professional, experienced and diligent freelance writer, contact me today. I have over 25 years of experience as a writer and marketing manager. I specialize in long-form content for SEO projects, such as longer online articles, guides, papers and more. Visit Marketing-Writer Jeanne Grunert for details.

Aug 18

Three Great Reasons to Ditch Cheesy Stock Photography

Here are three great reasons to ditch the cheesy stock photography the next time you share online content with the world. Whether you’re building a website, writing a blog, or creating memorable social media graphics, do all you can to avoid using stock photography. Here’s why.

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The Dangers of Stock Photography: You’re Un-Original

I’m feeling rather crabby today (that’s my crabby face, above.) (Actually, it’s a photo I took of my office orchid, Audrey II, updated a wee bit by good friend and artist Nan Wagner.) I was browsing Twitter yesterday when a photo popped up of an author’s new book cover. He wrote a vampire-slasher-thriller. I’m not a fan of vampire-slasher-thrillers. I am, however, a great fan of his cover…because it’s the EXACT same cover photo as on my forthcoming novel, I Believe You.

IBelieveYou_1600x2400_300DPI

Oops. My cover designer is the magnificent Melissa Alvarez at BookCovers.us, and she chose the same stock photo, only changing the angle a bit. Oh, yeah, and she made this cover AT LEAST A YEAR AGO. But my book isn’t out yet, and the other guy’s book IS out first. It’s a pickle, I tell you. It’s great minds thinking alike…but he got to market first.

Vampire slayer writer seems to have pulled the same stock image from Deposit Photos and used it “as is”. I like my cover better, but no matter: now we have two covers with the same image, and his book is out first, so I’m probably going to end up having a second cover done at some point to keep from being accused of copying HIM. Even though my cover was created first, I’m just so damned slow at shaping up my novel for publication that he managed to get to market faster. Kudos to him, rotten tomatoes to me.

This only proves what I’ve been saying all along; there are dangers to using stock photography. I have seen many such dangers since my days as a marketing manager at The College Board. During my tenure as the K-12 Marketing Manager, we had  a running joke about seeing the same kids in caps and gowns EVERYWHERE in advertising in the education space. The reason was simple enough – good stock photography of teens was difficult to find in those days. My answer was to work with our Creative Services Director to stage a custom photo shoot. We hired models, scouted locations, and had a huge bank of original images from which to choose from for all of our design needs.

Not everyone can afford to do something as drastic, but everyone today does own a digital camera, cell phone camera, or some other camera. Most of us can take reasonably interesting photos, albeit probably not professional quality. For most of our blogging and online content publishing needs, however, simple, clean, well-lit photos are usually adequate.

The Dangers of Stock Photography: Extortion Letters

Ever hear of the Extortion Letters? I didn’t until a client I was working with several years ago – a well-known, big name client – sent me a strange clause in my work contract. They insisted I do not use any stock photography in my work for them. They named several stock companies I could NOT use. When I called my contact at the company to ask why, she said, “We’ve heard that these stock photo companies sent out letters demanding huge settlements and claiming copyright infringement.”

I laughed out loud at this. I mean, c’mon, how many times had we used stock photography during my marketing manager days and never thought twice about licensing it? But today it’s a different ballgame. Because the market for stock photography is dwindling, many of the stock companies are more aggressively pursing copyright infringement. Some of that infringement is real, to be sure. Google Images is one of the most confusing search engines in the world, especially since so many clueless newbie bloggers just grab images willy-nilly from it without understanding the right way to license images. Many of the stock photo companies take advantage of the ignorance of others and send out scary legal letters demanding hundreds or thousands of dollars for an infringement whether you take the picture off of your website immediately or not.

The stock photo companies also make mistakes and send letters out to INNOCENT people, too. And they don’t want to hear your explanation: “Hey, I took that photo of clouds! That’s my picture!” No, if THEY think it’s their image, they act like you are guilty. A friend of mine who designs websites for a living legally licensed an image from a stock company. He paid the licensing fee and used the image appropriately according to the license terms. He got one of those letters, and despite showing the license agreement to the firm, STILL received demands for payment. That’s why many of these “letter campaigns” are now dubbed “extortion letter programs.”

Stock photography does come in handy.  When you need a special image to convey an emotion or feeling, sometimes there’s no way around licensing the right image. If you pay your fee and use the image properly, according to the license terms, you should be fine, but retain your agreement, emails and receipt just in case. In the meantime, this is one of my top reasons to avoid using stock photography and to being especially careful when I do. It’s unethical to use photos without permission, but it’s also hard to deal with these big companies when they make mistakes or even to negotiate a settlement when you’ve accidentally made a mistake and used a photo without permission.

For more information on stock photography Extortion Letters, see Extortion Letter Info.

The Dangers of Stock Photography: It’s Not YOUR Unique Vision

Stock photography reflects the artistic vision of the original creator, whether it’s a professional photographer in Iceland or a graphic designer in Poland. Either way, it’s THEIR vision, not yours. It pays to develop your own unique vision and artistic expression, especially when it comes to photography.

If you’re a blogger, sharing your own artistic vision through your photography is essential. If you need additional photos, license them properly (see above) but make sure that they depict the heart of what your blog is about.

Most of the time, you can create your own photos. I have learned to become a better photographer thanks to the tips I’ve read on many of the online blogging sites. I use free tools such as Canva and PicMonkey to add effects, crop and edit my images. I’m not as skilled as Nan, who added the blue googly eyes to my orchid picture to create Audrey II, but I can at least make a passage image.

Consider taking an online photography course. Udemy offers many affordable courses. You may also be able to take a course at your local community college or an evening adult education program at your local high school.

For companies, consider doing what we did many years ago: hire a professional photographer, hire a few models, get releases in writing from them, and stage your own photo session. If you are a retailer, a few professional photos of your products will do wonders to help sell them. I worked with a startup retail firm as a consultant a few years ago and we saw tremendous revenue jumps when she hired a professional to photograph the statues she was selling. The lighting, props and angles were just so much better than my client could take on her own. Her original photos were clean and clear, but the professional ones were magical. She hired the photographer and paid for the copyrights to all the images of her products, but the money spent was well worth it and easily earned back in increased sales.

 

Stock photography has its place, but there are many reasons to wean yourself away from it. Consider your options, save all your records if you DO license photos (free or paid), and try your best to give your photos your own unique stamp.

 

 

 

Jun 22

New Fiction Is on Its Way

IBelieveYou_200x300_300DPII’d set a goal for myself of completing the first (or second, depending on how I look at it) draft of my mystery novel, I Believe You, by the end of June.  On Friday, I accomplished my goal – the draft is DONE. I got to type the magic words “THE END” at the end of Chapter 23, all 101,000 words later.  I celebrated for all of 30 seconds before I realized I’d forgotten to wrap up one loose end, I’d introduced a character who went nowhere, and I’d missed using one plot device to further the mystery along.  Time to start notes for the rewrite.

When I was a teenager and typing away at my first novels, I’d read somewhere that Stephen King wrote his books in just one take. One draft later, and he produced missives like The Stand (one of my all-time favorite books) and cultural phenomenons like The Shining (another of my favorites), Cujo, and Carrie.

I wonder, thought, just what is meant by “one draft.”  Technically, as I return to my manuscript this summer, I’m working on the same draft – just fixing bits and pieces in certain chapters. A few chapters may need more work than others, but it’s nowhere near as extensive a rewrite as I completed between the first draft of the Majek family saga and the second draft, now titled I Believe You.  In fact, that only similarity is the first chapter. That, to me, counts as a complete rewrite.

No matter. The fact remains that I’ve accomplished a huge goal that I set for myself many years ago. Back in 2008, I worked briefly with a personal coach. She had me set three life goals for myself. My three goals included weight loss, writing a salable novel, and one other one which I’m  not ready to divulge yet. I’m working on the weight loss. The salable novel is now done. Working towards these goals, and picking myself back up no matter how many times I stumble and fall along the journey, has boosted my self confidence and my emotions in ways I couldn’t even begin to consider back in 2008 when I worked with the coach. I always thought of myself as someone who sets and achieves goals, but the big goals in my life that would really make an impact throughout other aspects of my life I always set aside and failed to complete. Now, however, I’m on my way. It’s really an exciting time and a good feeling!

In addition to I Believe You, I have the germ of idea for the 2015 Christmas story ready to work on this summer. My long-time readers and fans know that each Christmas, I release a free Christmas ebook via Smashwords. Last year’s story, The Christmas Fox,  delighted many readers. This year’s story doesn’t have a title yet but the working title is The Widow’s Mite.  The title comes from Luke 21:1-4 The Last Run of the 601_kindle coverand Jesus’ story of the widow’s two coins.  I think you will like it.

And…to add to the fun…I’ve also been working hard on a new spooky tale! Fans of An Ancient Gift and Other Stories have begged for more campfire-type ghost stories, the kind you aren’t afraid to let your kids read, the kind that produce atmosphere without gore.  The Last Run of the 601 will be released as an Amazon Kindle book and, depending on its length, perhaps as a short printed book too.

 

Lots of good fiction in the works! I hope you enjoy my writing. In the meantime, to keep up to date with all of my new fiction and non-fiction releases, I invite you to “Like” my Facebook page, Writer Jeanne Grunert.

May 26

Why Long Form Content Is Great for SEO

When it comes to content marketing, it seems that every marketer under the sun has their own opinion about what works and what doesn’t. Some say that posting frequent short content pieces, such as blog posts, works the best. Others swear that long-form content, or articles and blog posts over 2,000 words, works the best. Who is right?

 

A firm called SERPIQ analyzed the search engine results position (SERP) for more than 20,000 keywords and discovered something very interesting. It seems that the length of the content had a direct correlation on a web page’s search engine results position.

 

Here’s a summary of their findings:

  • All of the top 10 positions were dominated by posts with 2,000 or more words.
  • The average word count for the top position was 2,416 words.
  • Most posts averaged around 2,200 – 2,400 words.

 

From my own research, I’ve concluded a few interesting facts about long-form content.  I write a popular home and garden blog, Home Garden Joy, and include a “free gardening guide” section filled with long-form posts on topics gardeners want to learn about. The section is new, but growing.  My goal is to add one long-form content piece each month.

 

Last month, I added a long-form piece on composting – How to Make Compost. I haven’t done much to promote it except send a special email out to my subscriber list to announce it and announce it via Twitter and Facebook. I decided to schedule some automated posts via HootSuite to share the link during peak traffic times on Twitter.

 

Almost immediately, a popular gardening website aggregator picked up on the link and included a blurb and link to my long-form content prominently on their website. Several shares on social media also increased visibility for the new guide. At last count, my site’s inbound links increased from 42 to 63. Not all are going to this content page, but I think the increase is partially due to the long-form content.

 

What makes long-form content so appealing? Long-form content appeals to website visitors seeking more than a cursory look at a topic. If the content is well-researched, it adds value and depth to the information, and makes your blog, website or article worthy of bookmarking or sharing.

 

By its very nature, long-form content also requires site visitors to spend more time on your website, another clue for search engines to use to gauge the value of your site. Longer, well-written and intriguing content naturally holds visitors’ attention longer, and if you include thoughtful links to related content on your site, you’ve also increased the time spend on your site even more.

 

Long-form content is great for really diving deeply into a topic. Some topics don’t lend themselves to long form content; others, however, naturally need more room to develop the thesis and explore the many nuances around the topic.  Anytime you dive deeply into a topic, you’re adding value to the reader’s experience, which develops your relationship with the end-user and creates a favorable brand impression.

 

If you’re interested in delving into the world of long-form content for SEO purposes, please Contact Me. I have over 20 years of experience as a marketing manager, content marketer and freelance writer. I create strategic content marketing plans for both B2B and B2C clients. If long form content is a good fit for you, it can really work to your advantage and generate more clicks, visits, leads and sales.

 

Mar 18

What Is Long Form Content and Why Does It Work?

I saw some fascinating research today on long form content. For those not in the marketing world, long form content refers to longer online articles and blog posts. Many people think that longer stuff doesn’t work – that people skip over and don’t read it. Research shows, however, that the opposite is true. Well-written long-form content gets two thumbs up from readers, especially business readers.

What Is Long Form Content?

Ask any two marketers what long form content is and you’ll get two different answers. There’s no industry standard definition. I’d put long form content at 1,000 words or more.

Long form content depends on several factors to make it work online:

  1. A broad enough topic so that you can get plenty of “meat” into the content;
  2. Great primary research. You can’t fake good long form content.
  3. A solid outline. Like building a skyscraper, you need steel girders under it!
  4. Written to be formatted for the web. Because long form conveys a lot of information, the information needs to be written with formatting in mind. Plenty of white space, breaks, lists, subheadlines – you get the idea.
  5. Formatted for easy reading. You can’t just plunk down thousands of words of text on a white web page and call it a day. Long form content has to be displayed for easy reading on mobile devices and screens. That means links, jump links, pictures and so on.

Why Does Long Form Content Work?

It works because it conveys information, plenty of information, and it gives readers tremendous value.

Wordstream offerred insights into why long form content works via several graphs. The interesting thing about long form content is that it increases reader engagement and time of visit, two important signals that Google and other search engines use to assess the value of website content. The longer people stay on your blog or site, the better.  Long form accomplishes this admirably.

Why Don’t More Companies Use Long Form Content?

Company owners have also bought into the myth that “people don’t read anymore.” My question to you is this: what people are you talking about?  Do YOUR customers read?

Let’s look at two of my niche areas: gardening and business. In both niches, people can and do read. They crave information. Gardening tends to rely a lot on pictures, but the business world? People love facts, figures, case studies, illustrations and more.

Long form is harder to write. If you’re used to just dashing off any old thing for your blog or website, the idea of creating a 1,000+ article can be daunting. Most casual writers can’t craft a solid outline, and they sure as heck can’t create readable online copy.  That’s where long form content separates the men from the boys or in my case, the women from the girls; it’s where the better writers excel, and the weaker ones flounder.

I love writing long form content and offer it as my area of specialty to interested business owners. If you’re intrigued by the thought of adding some longer guides, articles and blog posts to your website but still uncertain whether or not they work in today’s fast-paced world, check out the following articles:

closing signature business blog

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