When I first started writing blogs for my clients, everyone thought shorter was better. Then a few years ago, things changed.
In their analysis of one million Google search results in September 2016, SEO top resource Backlinko discovered that longer, more comprehensive content significantly outperformed shallow content. “Writing comprehensive, in-depth content can help you rank higher in Google,” they concluded.
Some of my clients got wise to this fact, and started asking me to make their typical 500-word posts a little longer. I also landed a couple of new clients who wanted posts that were 1,500 –2,000 words or even 3,000+. (I found these companies wanting regular blog posts on ProBlogger and Freelance Writing Jobs.)
The good news is that a freelance writer can earn much more with these longer articles, as clients are willing to pay more. The bad news is, if it takes you too long to write them, you won’t increase your earning power.
So how do you push these things out quickly without sacrificing quality?
5 Tips to Write Longer Articles, Faster
First, realize that you can’t just add more fluff and make it work. You have to add some real meat to these articles, and that usually means research. It’s the research that can get you into trouble, as it tends to take longer than the actual writing.
Try the following five tips to help you get the article done in a profitable time.
1. Drill down on what the client wants
If the client asks for 10 ways to do X, realize that the bulk of your article needs to be about those 10 ways. Don’t make the mistake of spending too long on your intro or on any explanations. Zero in on exactly what the client needs, and don’t waste time on any extraneous information.
2. Save the intro for last
This tip really helps me. I don’t write the intro until the article is done. That way, I get right to the information the client really wants, and I don’t waste time on an intro that is usually expendable anyway.
[READ ALSO: How To Manage Your Time as a Freelance Writer]
3. Outline before you start
I’m not talking about an extensive outline here. Usually I scroll to about mid-page and create a down-and-dirty outline, something like, “Intro, What Is X?, 10 Ways (listing each solution), and Conclusion.” Do some preliminary skimming research to find support for the meat of your article, and list those in the outline before you start writing. It will help you move faster.
4. Break it into three
Let’s say the blog post isn’t a list, but a post about a certain topic, like Alzheimer’s disease in women. Decide the main point of the article—how the disease acts differently in women than in men, for example. Then break the article into three parts: a) what is Alzheimer’s?, b) 3-5 ways it differs in women, c) and future research. Add an intro and conclusion and you’re good to go. The rule of three most always works to keep you efficient in your research.
5. Give yourself limited time
It’s amazing how this works—if you give yourself three hours to write a 2,500-word article, it will take you three hours. So challenge yourself. Give yourself two hours, or ninety minutes, and see if you can do it. In general, the more time you allow, the more time it takes. A challenging deadline helps you focus and work faster.
Using these five tips, you can increase your efficiency and productivity with longer blog posts or articles, and become invaluable to your clients, which is great for your bottom line.