How to Write Longer Posts from Shorter Topics

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Whether you’re writing for content mills like Textbroker or private clients, you’ll eventually come across a request to write longer posts from shorter pieces. But how do you do this without filling the article with “fluff content?” Let me show you.

It’s not as difficult as you might think. And, it can take the article much further than what the client anticipated. The hardest part is making sure every sentence is relevant to the topic.

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8 Ways to Write Longer Posts

I’ve spent the better part of my writing career turning short blurbs into long-form masterpieces. And while most clients appreciate the extra effort, keep in mind some clients are pretty anal about the content.

With that being said, these are methods I still use today for all my clients to deliver high-quality material.

Here is how you can start writing longer posts starting right now.

1. Go Deeper into Detail with Additional Facts

In some cases, you’ll easily be able to expand the word count by going deeper into the facts of the topic. Sometimes, this will mean you’ll have to do your own research regarding the piece.

And in reality, you should do your own research anyway regardless of the topic. Even if it’s something you know, it’s always best to make sure the information you’re providing is not obsolete.

Usually, I’ll take to Google and search for specifics about the topic. Just make sure what you’re adding is still relevant to the context of the article you’re writing.

2. Do a Q&A on the Topic

One of my favorite ways to write longer posts is to add a Q&A area to the article. Of course, this is dependent on the topic of which you’re writing. Not every situation will have a question that needs answering.

I usually have two ways I add questions to an article: 1) in a bullet list format or, 2) as H4 header tags. For instance:

<h4>How do I answer a question in an H4 tag?</h4>

or

<ul>
<li><strong>How do I answer a question in a bullet list?</strong>
Bold the question and provide an answer to the user.</li>
</ul>

And in this example, you’ll see how I use it later in the article when I write about things to avoid.

A great way to get some questions is through the “People also ask” area of Google. See if you can do a better job answering those questions. You may even find your content in this section at a later date.

3. Include Alternatives (usually for tutorials)

When you’re working on something like tutorials, some solutions can easily have alternative answers. However, you want to be careful. The alternative still has to be relevant to the context of the piece.

Let’s say that I’m doing a tutorial on how to install a contact form into WordPress. I’ll show readers how to do it with a specific plugin.

Then, in the end, I’ll add three more plugins readers might also want to consider with about three or four sentences regarding why each one has potential. Usually, I’ll have a header above this area labeled something like, “Other Plugins to Try.”

Not only does something like this help increase the word count, but it offers something of value to the reader. Now, he or she has options that best suit individual needs.

4. Provide Examples for Clarity

Another method I often use, which usually depends greatly on the circumstance, is providing examples. This can be in the form of quotes from sources or explaining situations so readers get an idea of what you’re writing about.

For instance, I’ve already used this method twice in this article. I showed how to set up H4 tags and bullet lists and also included an example of setting up a contact form and adding alternatives.

Now when you write longer posts in this fashion, the reader has a greater understanding of what you’re trying to convey while increasing the word count.

5. Add a Pros and Cons Section

An effective way to write longer posts is to include a pros and cons section. But like most methods on this list, it’ll depend on what you’re writing about and what the client wants.

I’ve added pros and cons to reviews, tutorials, and sometimes general blog posts. This provides insight into the topic and helps readers fully understand the context.

You can do these as a header or in a bullet list. It all really depends on how deep the information will go. For instance, a bullet list could look something like this:

Pros of Working from Home
<ul>
<li>No daily commute driving.</li>
<li>Flexible schedule to work around your lifestyle.</li>
<li>No local limitations to finding work.</li>
</ul>

Cons of Working from Home
<ul>
<li>Family can be a major distraction.</li>
<li>You are 100% liable for all finances included retirement, insurance, sick time and vacations.</li>
<li>Easy to get cabin fever.</li>
</ul>

You can structure this however you want, but I think you get the gist.

6. Include a “Best Practices” Portion

You can write longer posts by including a “best practices” segment of the article. Sometimes I’ll use this method when writing about tools, hardware or software. Usually, each point is about two to three sentences about the best ways to use something.

But what if you’ve never used the product or service before? That’s when you take to Google to get ideas from others.

For instance, if I was writing about adding an “About” page for a website, I’d include a portion about how to add it to the top navigation menu of the website.

This is a way to provide further information relevant to the topic, especially for those who don’t fully understand how to effectively use something.

7. Add a Personal Opinion Area

Now with this method, you’ll want to be careful of using it too often unless it’s for yourself. A lot of clients out there, especially on Textbroker and other content mills, do not want first-person content.

However, a personal opinion regarding the topic adds an informal layer that connects the reader to the author. And you want to make sure you’re still writing for the target audience.

For one thing, most clients requesting work want a positive viewpoint of the topic. So writing a negative-sounding opinion piece may result in the client rejecting the article.

If you can convey solid facts to strengthen your opinion, it’ll greatly work in your favor.

8. Mix and Match Any of the Above

And lastly, there’s nothing wrong with using some or all of these methods to write longer posts in the same piece. In fact, I’ve done it several times when the original topic was incredibly short.

For instance, I’ll use alternatives and Q&As in shorter WordPress tutorials to offer more information and stretch out the word count. It becomes a longer piece while offering greater information.

Perhaps the most difficult part is making sure you can still keep the reader’s attention should you add more than one of the above methods. Not everyone who reads a “how to” is going to want an opinion paragraph.

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Things to Avoid when you Write Longer Posts

OK, so the above methods sound good…but they can also be full of pitfalls if you’re not paying attention. Remember, successfully writing online content centers around quality.

When creating a longer piece from a short one, try to avoid:

  • Repeating yourself throughout the article.
    Rewording the same phrase so it looks different but still conveys the same facts is repetitive phrasing. You’ll lose quality and content mills will ding you for doing so.
  • Citing unconfirmed or non-credible sources.
    A lot of clients love it when you cite facts with external links. Just make sure you’re linking to credible information and not some conspiracy site.
  • Adding “Fluff” content.
    I mentioned “fluff” in the beginning. This is when you toss in as many words as you can whether they have an impact on the topic or not. Clients hate fluff and it often reads poorly.
  • Forcing information into a piece of content.
    If you truly cannot think of anything else to write, then don’t try to force more content into the article. Take a different route to come up with ideas. When you force words into a piece, it reads poorly and is often disconnected from the topic.
  • Writing an eBook.
    There is such a thing as putting too much into an article. When someone wants a quick tutorial, most are not going to want a 5,000-word piece on the topic. Gauge the length for your target audience and write accordingly.

Improve Your Ability to Write Longer Posts

In the end, it all comes down to the target audience when you want to write longer posts. This is a bit difficult when working with content mills, but it can be done if you spend a few minutes searching Google.

These methods are the ways I expand the content. See if you can come up with your own that works best for you. After all, every writer and every situation is unique.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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