Want to skyrocket your blog content's searchability?

The answer doesn't lie in dated techniques like keyword stuffing or generating inbound links from online directories.

Instead, tell a story--and don't be afraid to go long.

The key to content marketing success is being thoughtful and thorough in the written content that you produce. Longform content, as it's often known, is content that dives deep into a particular subject and showcases your expertise. It typically includes in-depth research, with links to authoritative sources--rather than skimming the surface of the topic, it starts a true conversation, with data and reporting to back up its view. It may even follow the "hero's journey"--showcasing the trials and travails that you've been through to find the wisdom that you're now sharing with your readers.

Think of BuzzFeed's Big Stories, such as Joel Oliphint's fascinating medical mystery tale, "Is Empty Nose Syndrome Real?", which features a devastating narrative with a diverse array of patients, patients' relatives, and medical professionals weighing in on the topic, and clocks in at nearly 6,000 words. This type of story takes far more time and money to craft than one of BuzzFeed's infamous listicles--and while it may not go quite as "viral" as a sloth video, it can pay off for the brand in other ways.

A Moz study that analyzed over 1 million articles found that the types of content that were most likely to go viral--a Disney dog quiz or a Vine video--might receive hundreds of thousands of social shares, but almost zero backlinks from external sites. In most cases, the content's popularity doesn't last more than a few days.

In contrast, highly researched, well-sourced longform content typically received more shares and more links than shorter content. The longer your article, the likelier you are to generate links: While articles of less than 1,000 words generated an average of 3.47 links each, articles of 3,000 to 10,000 generated over 11 backlinks on average.

The secret isn't just in writing more, of course. It's in saying something new--using evidence to back up your story. Become a trusted, reputable source by digging in deep, and you'll be rewarded with brand loyalty, backlinks, and the pleasure of knowing you're delivering true value to your audience.

Published on: Jun 6, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.