How To Write a Great Longread and Attract New Readers

how to write a longread

You’ve got a few of them in your “Good Ideas” folder haven’t you?

And you can see they’re growing in popularity. They seem a natural fit for your business, but you’re just not quite clear on how to use them… The digital longread has entered the marketplace and it sure seems a great way to promote your book or novel or blog, but where to start?

To sort it all out, let’s have a look at some of the benefits of the longread, why and how to write a good one and how to use it in your marketing strategy.

Potential Benefits of the Longread

To start, let’s have a look at some of the advantages of this emerging digital genre to see what the potential upside will be.

1. Higher search engine results.

Well, we all want that, don’t we? In a post on Kissmetrics, Emma Siemasko, a content marketing specialist, cites a recent study by serpIQ that found “the top-rated posts usually were over 2,000 words.” (This info is based on the top 10 results of search queries.)

Professional tip – for a longread such as a guide or manual, make sure each page has unique value to take advantage of people’s searches.

2. Greater social media success.

In the same post Kevin Delaney, editor of Quartz, claims that longform, or longread, content (2,000+ words) performs better in social media than posts of 500-800 words.

And, of course, with longreads the opportunity for link building is greater due to the sheer volume of material available to link with, compared to a 400 word blog post.

3. Establish perceptual authority.

You can establish trust in your niche by providing helpful, informative or entertaining longform content to complement existing work, or as part of a promotional campaign in marketing a book publication.

4. Promotional strategies.

For branding purposes, a longread piece is ideal to create a marketing campaign around. Longreads of high caliber content are more compelling for advertising campaigns than shorter blog posts, and sponsored ads on Facebook and longreads.com will put your piece front and center for social media sharing.

Combine ads with newsletter/email series, free mini-courses, contest giveaways, or a book launch to maximize exposure.

Steps to Writing Successful Longread Content

Now that we’ve established some of the potential benefits of publishing longreads, here are the steps for writing a successful and engaging one:

  • Know your goal in creating a longread article. Promoting a new book? Or building an audience? Clarity on why and who you’re writing the piece for is necessary for a seamless connection to the outcome you desire.
  • Choose a topic. Obviously, a topic that will relate to your book, guide, website or other promotion and support your campaign. Give consideration to keywords, any existing analytical data, your niche and target audience as well as what the competitors are doing successfully.
  • Create an outline and draft first to ensure your idea is on-topic and relevant to your book promotion or other marketing goals. For book promotions, a working chapter makes for good, relevant long-read content.
  • Design for the digital reader. Ensure that your long-read is mobile friendly, use discerning anchored links to other relevant content, have easy to use email sign up boxes and social media share buttons.
  • Longread blog themes. WordPress and other blogging platforms now have themes of a minimalist nature that work well with the long-read format.
  • Think multimedia. To enrich your longread article, Paul Woods in his post on edenspiekermann.com recommends weaving “videos, images and information graphics…into the story back and forth… during the writing process.” Not added to the text later as an afterthought. They’re important components that should be given appropriate consideration for inclusion in your writing.
  • Keep it clean. Again, from the above post by Paul Woods, keep in mind how easily a reader is distracted online and maintain a clean and simple reading screen to hold their interest. To minimize distractions, all interactive agents need to disappear while reading the actual text so as not to interrupt the readers flow.
  • Gated vs. Ungated. Will your readers need to exchange something (an email address for example) in order to download your work? This is considered to be a “gated” offer, while a free download with no strings attached is referred to as “ungated”. Let your business model guide your decision here.

Digital Platforms for the Longread

Some platforms options for longreads are:

Longread content is ideal for iPads, Android and iPhones, and Kindle, Quick Reads and Nook Snaps as well as apps such as Instapaper, Read It Later and Flipboard.

Publishing platforms Atavist, Byliner and Narratively now curate and publish fiction and nonfiction material with new players entering the digital marketplace in ever increasing numbers. Some of these platforms charge for long-form content while others offer free content with premium membership fees – choose ones that work best for you.

Clearly, online readership is shifting. Readers are now looking for meatier content of greater substance that will hold their interest, entertain and inspire them. Good news for writers who have a breathtaking story to share!

Longread content is ideal for those times of the day when we’re waiting – waiting for the bus, on the train going home, in the doctors’ office etc., and we’re looking for something to engage with. Why not take advantage of longreads’ growing popularity to provide greater value for your reading audience and promote your new book as well?

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