If you’ve been spending hours whipping out longform content, know that your readers have been IGNORING most of it.
But, there’s help: you can use findings of various web readability studies and other general web writing and styling practices to boost your post readership. Here are 12 of the most effective writing and formatting tactics, to give you a head start.
You can’t create a guide to making epic content because it comes in many different forms. Great content is fairly predictable, but epic content often requires creativity and a hefty investment.
In this post, Neil Patel curates 14 examples of epic content across many different niches for you to study and to help you piece together what makes epic content epic.
Writing a long-form article is simply a formula that you can apply to any topic. Find your topic, get your sources, build your pillars, write with detail, and edit. Rinse and repeat. If you write about something you know well, the formula can’t fail. All you need is a few hours behind your screen and some motivation.
While it might sound insane to start creating long-form content while we’re living in a world of increasingly short attention spans, swimming upstream is sometimes the only way to the goal.
Here’s some real inspiration for you on the subject.
Darren Rowse is one of the top authorities on blogging and is frequently asked about the ideal length for blog posts. He’s had a lot of experience with different content types over the past 10+ years. His recommendation? There is no easy answer. The key is to choose the appropriate length and style of posts for the topic you’re covering. Long form, short form, series of posts or other formats can all work.
While we DO have only 33 seconds to grab attention on a home page, a long-form blog over 2,000 words will actually get you noticed in search engine rankings. If you have a really good, poignant message in 100 words, but Google never ranks it—good luck Charley! Getting found is most important, and you can’t get found with a blog less than 500 words.
For most of us, creating the content is usually the hard part. If you’re used to writing 400-word blog posts, writing 4,000+ seems impossible. But it’s totally possible. Neil Patel shows you how.
Look no further: This is the ultimate blueprint to creating a high-converting longform blog post.
Ultimately, you should create long-form content because it will get you more of what you want: more online visibility (social shares, links), more proof of your authority and industry expertise, and more material for altruistic community building and engagement. This post shares the benefits of creating long form content and tips about how to do so.
Writing a long-form article is simply a formula that you can apply to any topic. Find your topic, get your sources, build your pillars, write with detail, and edit. Rinse and repeat.
If you write about something you know well, the formula can’t fail. All you need is a few hours behind your screen and some motivation.
Types Of content
If you want to stand a chance of ranking and engaging your visitors, then you need to create content that’s much better than anything found on the first page. Study the SERPs carefully and use them as inspiration to drive content that delivers ten times more value than anything your target customers have ever seen before. Has useful examples.
It’s not enough to just do what everyone else does. Differentiate yourself with 10x content.
Have you ever actually tried to create 10x content? It’s not easy, is it? Knowing how and where to start can often be the biggest obstacle you’ll face. In this Whiteboard Friday, Rand talks about how good, unique content is going to die, and how you can develop your own 10x content to help it along.
“We believed there was an opportunity to create a piece of cornerstone content that would be better than the existing content out there.
We therefore decided to undertake a major research project reviewing 100 million headlines in our BuzzSumo database and publish a comprehensive post on the headlines that drive engagement.”
Buzz Sumo shares the results of their 10x Content experiment.
While “10 times better” may seem like a subjective point when it comes to written content (how do you clearly define something as ‘better’?), there are qualitative factors you can use to identify the attributes of 10x content. By Sujan Patel, one of my favourite marketing writers.
This exclusive infographic is your ultimate visual guide to the epic content cycle. It’s a proven blueprint for creating content that’s ten times better than the competition.
This is a super power. When your competitors or other folks in the field look and say, “Hey, there’s no way that we can scale content quality like this. It’s just too much effort. We can’t keep producing it at this level,” well, now you have a competitive advantage. You have something that puts you in a category by yourself and that’s very hard for competitors to catch up to. It’s a huge advantage in search, in social, on the Web as a whole.
Brain Dean coined the term ‘SkyScraper techinique.’ The philosophy is really simply and broken down into 3 steps:
Step 1: Find link-worthy content
Step 2: Make something even better
Step 3: Reach out to the right people
In this post, he shares the specifics and also has a video case study. Below, are case studies from other marketers who have followed the same approach.
Dale Cudmore shares his experience trying to replicate this technique. Also worth noting Brians brief response in the comment section.
Always remember that the end-goal here isn’t to copy the ideas and content from another post.
You should be able come up with your own take on a topic, and do it better. The skyscraper technique will help you understand what topics to cover and how to cover them in a way that will help you leap ahead of the competition.
“A few weeks ago I bookmarked the article 21 things related to SEO and was blown away by how much I learned. So I tracked down “Backlinko” as he’s known online, aka Brian Dean, and read almost all of his amazing content. His stuff was pure gold so I traded him 50 bratwursts and some beers (he lives in Berlin) for him to share this post.
Buckle up. You’re in for a ride.”
As with all great ideas that work, skyscraper content is powerful, but unfortunately that means it is widely misused too. And that’s a shame, because when employed properly, it can be a methodology of content creation that serves readers and businesses very well.
The next time you think about writing that “definitive” guide that capitalizes on others’ successful content, ask yourself if it’s really needed (i.e., does it truly help your readers).
If the answer isn’t a resounding “yes,” or you realize you’re only doing it for internal metrics, pause, and then go create something original that will delight your audience instead.
Designed to help you create content that actually drives traffic, this method has helped me earn over 70,000 page views from just one post. To help you get started, Hubspot will walk you through the technique below, show you how they used it, and provide a helpful checklist to ensure you don’t miss a beat.
Like the name states: it’s a technique. A valuable technique in any toolkit, but one many can misapply if incorrectly assessed. Think it through, have the self-awareness to know what you can’t rank for, and understand up front when you might not be a great topical fit.
Those recommendations, applied in addition to this technique, can result in the growth Brian and others frequently observe with this approach.