Long Form Content Blog Posts - A Practical Guide

by Brian Ritchie


Last Updated: Mar 24, 2017 03:34
920 words · 5 minutes read GTD | SEO Techniques |

We all love reading well-thought-out, researched, long form content presented in easy to consume blog posts.

Unfortunately this blogging technique is something I personally struggle with - not due to the lack content or ideas, but because the frequency of content production required to maintain some semblance of online readership is quite demanding. I enjoy writing but not necessarily on the same topic and certainly not for long periods of time. This results in me not producing any content at all for long periods of time

This post is a summary of all the tips, tricks and tactics I’m using to address the issue at hand and enable me to work on an array of topics at more frequent intervals.


Table of contents

№01. Use “Last updated” and “Live” Documents
№02. Add Change Notes to reflect Updates
№03. Close the Feedback Loop with Comments
№04. Prioritize Content Quality with Quantity


Use “Last updated” and “Live” Documents

Given the above, I’m making a switch. Something I concocted up in my self-proclaimed ‘brew master’ mind of mine. I can’t claim that it’s my own - I haven’t yet done the research to prove so (You get what I mean…) but its probably based on a lot of the knowledge I’ve gathered from voraciously reading article after article online… Oh and books too of course.

The idea is simple… “Iterative Long Form Content Blog Posts”

You’ll notice that I’ve made a simple but crucial change to the way content is now dated on this site…from previously tagged Posted OR Published on to the now Last Updated date and times on all pages.

I’m in full agreement that long form content is the way to go. It makes sense to spew out posts that present a complete (OR as complete as possible) view. To best suit my schedule and writing capability, I’m marrying long form with the concept of ‘time’.

All content pieces that are produced from this point on (including this blog post), will be produced with the intention of making it long form content pieces. Thus, they should be treated as “Live” documents that are constantly revisited and edited (added on to OR subtracted from) for clarity and completeness.

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Add Change Notes to reflect Updates

Accountability is fairly important, especially when it comes to public facing content. Simply put, you need to be able to stand by what you wrote and defend it if need be OR at the very least explain your thinking at the time and how it has evolved (if it has).

When I first decided to embrace “Live” blog posts, I wanted to make sure that there was a way to reflect how the content evolved over time. This of course is easier if everyone was willing to go through git commits and diffs but that isn’t necessarily a practical solution, especially given the (hopefully) wide array of content I intend to produce.

So.. I’m introducing Change Notes

At the bottom of each page or post, I’ll be adding a small section on the changes made to the core content. The goal here is to not be verbose but instead, to provide a one (or two) sentence overview of the changes made to the article from the original point of production to the current date.

By doing so, I am permitting myself to revisit content and make changes, to add OR subtract and to evolve if necessary based on current views and variant requirements, goals and objective instead of aiming to writing shorter pieces across a larger time zone - imposing ‘work’ on the reader.

More importantly, it also provides a window into the thought process that went behind the change (albeit briefly), introducing a shred of transparency into how content is produced.

Through Change Notes , I’m looking to improve past published content, breathing new life into topics that were explored years ago and give them a fresher, more current overview - and I’m personally looking forward to that exercise.

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Close the Feedback Loop with Comments

To be written

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Prioritize Content Quality with Quantity

Ahh, the perennial problem of any Content producer - big or small, new or established - Content Quality.

The biggest challenge I anticipated with ‘Live Content’ (as defined above) is,

“How do you evaluate the quality of content produced and yet produce enough content to keep a site ‘alive’?”

This is a fair question given the amount of articles encouraging a ‘high frequency, high quality’ content production paradigm - where as a content producer, one has to not only produce a fairly large amount of content but also produce it with a frequency that is “acceptable” to search engines looking for the ‘latest and the greatest’ content in a given topic to serve its readers.

Here’s a basic framework I cooked up as a solution to the challenge above:

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Change Notes:

  • 24th March 2017 - Started writing Tip 4 on Content Quality. Stopped at the framework because I was deciding between a picture OR drawing the framework in JS. Might opt for pic but do some major compression
  • 17th March 2017 - Expanded on Tip 2 about Change Notes. I’m not exactly satisfied yet and will revisit it
  • 11th March 2017 - Added more Ideas to the Table of Contents for research. Changed headings to reflect a more active tone
  • 10th March 2017 - First Iteration of the post is published. Covered Last Updated and Live Documents