Content

14+ Fresh Long-Form Content Statistics You Must Know In 2021 (With Explanations)

Everywhere you turn these days it seems you bump into long-form content statistics.

The reason?

Long-form content marketing is popular. 

Every marketer, SEO, copywriter, and eCommerce store owner advocates for it and for good reason. It has myriad benefits for both B2B or B2C brands. 

But there’s a problem.

First, most of the long-form content statistics are old. You’ve heard them a bazillion times. Not so this list. It’s as fresh as they come except in one or two cases where there’s nothing recent to use. Still, in such instances, I’ll update the stat as soon as a fresh one is available.

Second, you often get raw data—hard numbers with no context, no explanation. But not this one. I’ll unpack and process the numbers for you so you get the meaning behind them.

Let’s unwrap the numbers, shall we?

Table of Contents

Link Acquisition

Links are an integral part of a winning search marketing strategy. 

You need many links to make your content visible online and drive traffic to your site. If you don’t build enough links to your key web pages, you will remain hidden on the back pages of Google readers don’t bother about.

1. Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. (Backlinko)

2. Articles with a word count over 2,500 earn the most links. (HubSpot)

Massively detailed posts are a backlinks magnet.

To put things into perspective, the same Backlinko study quoted above showed 94% of all blog posts have no external links.

Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Links are the secret to high-ranking, traffic-driving content. That’s why most SEOs and site owners prioritize link acquisition. Another case study from OutreachMama on advanced link building strategies explains why and how backlinks will bring you higher rankings and visibility on the SERPs and the importance of having a link building campaign.

Links are important for SEO because they:

  • Determine how fast or slowly your web pages will rank-the more links you get the faster (and easier) it becomes to rank for important keywords, the fewer the links you have the harder it is to rank.
  • Help you generate more traffic to your site. An increase in traffic means a hike in qualified leads. And a leads hike ultimately brings more customers.
  • Boost your site’s overall authority. Getting unique links from authoritative sites in your niche grows your website’s authority which makes it easier for you to compete for competitive keywords.
Many users link to long content pieces because they deal conclusively with a topic. They answer every conceivable question users may have about a topic, hence people reference them again and again.Click To Tweet

Organic Traffic

A steady flow of quality traffic is every marketer’s goal.

Qualified traffic guarantees brands a constant flow of leads that fuels growth.

3. Articles with a word count between 2,250 and 2,500 earn the most organic traffic. (HubSpot)

4. Longreads of 3000+ words get x3 more traffic than articles of average length (901-1200 words). (SEMRush)

Naturally, readers take longer to consume extensive content because it covers all the nooks and crannies of a topic.

And the longer the dwell time on your pages, the happier search engines become. It means the content is informative, engaging, and entertaining, so Google sends more traffic your way. 

Social Shares

SEOs have heated arguments about whether social signals are a ranking factor. What’s undeniable is that social signals influence rankings indirectly.

Plus, shares increase brand awareness. Shareable content exposes more people to your brand and the solutions you provide.

5. Articles with a word count over 2,500 get shared the most on social media. (HubSpot)

6. 2,500-word posts get shared 3x more than 1,000-word ones. (Buffer)

7. Long-form content (3000–10,000 words) gets shared more than short-form content. (OkDork)

8. Short (300-900 words) articles are not shared at all x4.5 more often than long reads of 3000+ words (SEMRush)

long-form-content-statistics-shares

What makes long reads shareable? 

First, people only pass on info they find useful and valuable.

Because exhaustive content packs so much value into one piece, it's more practical and handy than shorter content.Click To Tweet

Also, the longer the content, the more opportunities you get to serve your audience and meet their needs.

Lead Acquisition

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say, without a consistent flow of quality leads, your business is dead in the water. 

Lead acquisition is the backbone of a thriving business.

9. Long-form blog posts generate 7x more leads than short-form blog posts. (Curata)

long-form-content-statistics-leads-comparison

Done right, in-depth content is an excellent lead generation tool because:

  1. It provides more value than brief content
    Long-form content thrills readers with its value. When you impress people they are more likely to take the desired action, like opting in for a newsletter, booking a call, or registering for a free trial.
  2. It gives more opportunities for in-post CTAs
    In-post call-to-actions are highly effective. They are contextual and timely–offered at the perfect moment when a reader has consumed a relevant point/section.
  3. It generates bumper leads consistently.
    If your piece strikes gold in the search engines and dominates the front page, you’ll get a steady flow of leads while you sleep.

Long-form content is a reliable lead generation asset.

Ideal Blog Post Length

Ever wondered how long the perfect blog post is? I have got good news for you. No more guessing.

Here’s the big reveal…

10. The average blog post is 1236 words long- that’s 53% longer than six years ago. (Orbit Media)  

11. The optimal length of a blog post–1,600 words  At this length, you can expect readers to spend the maximum amount of time reading your content. (Buffer)

12. The average Google first page result contains 1,447 words. (Backlinko)

Looking at these numbers, one thing is clear: gone are the days of 500-word posts. 

Over the years, a trend has been developing in content marketing.

long-form-content-statistics-blog-length

Online articles are getting longer and longer. Why this upward trajectory in content length?

  • Google 
    Many studies show the biggest search engine on the planet prefers in-depth content. So marketers and business owners are doing their best to please Google and rank on the front page for keywords that matter for their businesses.
  • Readers
    Today’s readers are fussy. They want answers to their bazillion questions—now. As a result, content needs to be exhaustive so users find all the answers they are looking for in one convenient place. 
  • Sales cycle
    Because people are demanding, it takes some doing to convince them to buy. The sales cycle has become longer, especially in B2B circles. To move them along the buyer’s journey and close the deal, you need a lot of extensive content. Besides, the way people use the internet lends itself to detailed articles. Whenever people want to learn a new skill or grasp how to use a new tool they Google. Often, that means reading comprehensive pieces.

Content Preferences

Between short and in-depth content, which one do most content marketers prefer?

Evidence on the ground shows most brands lean towards brief articles.

13. 89% of B2B marketers used short articles for content marketing purposes in the last 12 months. (CMI)

Why this obsession with short-form content?

Perhaps companies see it as a cost-cutting measure because it’s cheaper. At a deeper level, this may be a sign that brands focus on producing loads of content without strategic intent. While the number of brands that have a documented content strategy has been creeping up since 2018, it’s still a mere 41%.
content-marketing-strategy-statistics

Clearly, the bulk of companies are winging it. This gravitation towards brief content shows most brands haven’t spotted, let alone maximized the top-to-bottom funnel advantages of long-form content. Those who do will gain a head start over their competitors.

14. 4 of the top 5 types of valuable content formats preferred by buyers when researching their B2B purchases are long-form content. (Demand Gen)

While brands produce mostly short-form content, purchase-ready consumers prefer long-form content:

  • Research Reports (39%)
  • White Papers (35%)
  • E-books (30%)
  • Case Studies (29)

Comprehensive content is ideal for clinching the sale at the bottom of the funnel.

Long-form Content Statistics On Engagement

Do always-on-the-move mobile-first users read complete content?

Without consumption, there won’t be any conversions.

15. Long-form articles generate 2x the engagement of short articles on mobile devices. (Pew)

16. LinkedIn posts between 1900 and 2000 words perform the best and gain the greatest number of post views, likes, comments, and shares. (OkDork)

LinkedIn-long-form-content-statistics

There’s a myth floating out there.

Brands assume because people are super busy, they don’t read comprehensive content. Add to this the popular 2015 study that famously concluded people now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, and you’d assume people don’t read exhaustive content at all.

Not true.

Users will read an article if it’s:

  • helpful and scratches a real itch.
  • formatted for easy readability.
  • educational, engages, and entertains.
When it comes to engagement, content size doesn't matter it's all about utility and user experience.Click To Tweet

Long-form Content Pricing

Now that you know the multifaceted power of long-form content, maybe you are wondering how much it costs.

Good question.

Here are some numbers to help you think about your budget for expertly written  SEO-optimized detailed B2B content.

As you can see, long-form content doesn’t come cheap. You are looking at $0,50+ per word minimum. Yes, you can find gems who charge lower if you are lucky. But the reality is there are a few writers who can handle the subtleties of B2B writing that’s why it comes at a superior price.

Why is that so?

Here are 3 reasons deep content needs a decent financial investment:

  1. Because of its sheer volume.
    It takes more time, research, and effort to craft a 5000-word blog post than to whip up a 500-word one. According to Orbit Media, it now takes almost 6+ hours to write an effective standard blog post, so I’d say it takes at least 12+ hours to craft a solid, thorough post.
  2. Because it requires high expertise to nail it.
    B2B writing is hard. How much more a lengthy piece? Not every writer can do massive articles well–it’s a rare premium skill. Sustaining reader interest while meeting business purposes over a long stretch of thousands of words is a tough ask only a handful of writers can manage. 
  3. Because it yields tremendous repeatable results.
    Above all, long-form content marketing results recur and compound. You still get leads and sales months or even years after clicking ‘publish’ as long as you keep updating your content so it stays relevant. And you establish thought leadership in your niche.
Long-form B2B content isn't just content, it's a powerful sales tool, so it doesn't come cheap.Click To Tweet

Long-form Content Statistics: The Takeaways

There are two dominant take-home themes here:

1. In-depth Content Is The New Normal

Because the content bar is now high, brands are making their content richer, bigger, nicer. That aside, readers now demand A-grade content that answers all their questions definitively. Exhaustive content does that superbly.

2. Long Content Is A Precious Content Asset

The numbers show the super value of deep evergreen content. From brand awareness to lead acquisition, from traffic generation to authority building, from high dwell times to branding, from garnering links to closing leads at the bottom of the funnel, long-form content does it all.

If you haven’t tried long-form content marketing, you are missing a massive growth opportunity. It’s time to give it a go. And if it’s already a part of your content strategy, it can do even more for your business as long as you improve and scale it.

If you haven't tried long-form content marketing, you are missing a massive growth opportunity.Click To Tweet

Long-form Content Statistics Wrap Up

On hearing these all-encompassing fantastic benefits, you’d think long-form content marketing is a cure-all.

It isn’t.

But these long-form content statistics show it’s effective. Well executed, it’s a powerful, repeatable, exponential growth driver.

Plan your mega articles meticulously using a content brief template. Then look for talented writers to write them because they are a serious business investment.

You will reap the magnificent benefits for months to come, years even.

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