Profitable Long Form Content: An Affiliate Marketer’s Guide

Long form content marketing is a true commitment to providing quality information.

Long form articles are a tough content asset to create, no doubt.


These long posts become your best money maker when blogging.

These are the content pieces defining your site and brand. They’re your products.

We’ve always been a fan of long-form content.

The thought was:

People usually charge for this. We should make a free version.

We started doing long form content marketing because we wanted to give back to the online community. The Web, to us, is still this amazing communication channel to freely share information.

It just so happens we could leverage long-form guides into a way to make money online by pairing it with affiliate marketing. We’d like to share what we’ve learned in the process.

These long-form pieces almost always include product and service mentions.

The community is given this amazing piece of actionable content for free. The content creator could include affiliate links – at appropriate times – to monetize the piece. It’s win/win and why they call this “pushing the free line”. Bring people in with mind-blowingly good content, then get them onto your email list, social following, or send them through to affiliate offers.

We’re not going to lie:

Creating long form guides in hopes of making money online is a major investment. Some of these pieces take weeks to create. Yet, if you treat them like products, you’ll see they’re a worthwhile investment.

Stick with us and you WILL make money from your blog by creating long form content.



How to Craft Long Form Content That’ll Make Money

There’s no “secret sauce” of creating long-form guides – it’s literally creating something big.

Take your average 500-word posts and double it by expanding on important or interesting sections. Else, add more media (images, videos, interactive social buttons, etc.) to space it out. Made a top 10 list? Expand it to 20 or more! You get the idea.

However, here’s an outline for long-form content:

  • Introduction
    • Story
    • Problem
    • Hook
    • Promise
  • Section #1
    • Story
    • Problem
    • Solution
  • Section #2
    • Story
    • Problem
    • Solution
  • Section #3
    • Story
    • Problem
    • Solution
  • Conclusion

Now obviously this won’t apply to every piece of long-form content you’ll create. But, it does set the structure.

This is the same structure you’ll typically use when creating product reviews, by the way.

Mainly, using a combination of storytelling and solutions to keep the visitor engaged.

  • The story makes the problem identifiable with the community
  • The solution is your opportunity to show your expertise or pitch an offer

Let’s go ahead and expand on this concept to craft your first money-making post…



Step 1: Brainstorming a Good Idea (Then Making It Great)

This post, for example, spurred from an original article we wanted to do about different ways to make money with a blog.

Except, the more I thought about it… the more it made sense to make a post of its own.

You can brainstorm topics plenty of ways:

  • What content would you want to see?
  • What is the competition creating?
  • What are the trending topics?
  • What hot products could use a review?

Think of the big picture.

You’ll hear how you should write for long-tail keywords. About how you should target a specific idea or offer so that your keywords are dead-on. Here’s the thing: long form content will include those keywords throughout the post – these are the Latent Semantic Keywords (LSIs).


Google is smart – really smart.

Your natural writing will include these keywords throughout the post.

What does this have to do with brainstorming and the “big picture”?

  1. Take your topic and go to the top-level
  2. Think of the main problem people have with the topic
  3. See each sub-section as an embedded post

So, if you look back at some of the best long form content you’ve seen – think about how it could have been a series post. The author chose to have it all in one place. This lets people spend considerable time getting deeply involved with the topic – the length, alone, entices people to share and bookmark.



Step 2: Identify the Pain Points (And Create Sections for Each)

The longer the content – the more issues you’ll bring to light.

Pain points are an effective tool when marketing a product or service. These are the issues. Surprise, surprise, the offered item solves the problem.

Let’s consider the pain points of this article – people searching for a long-form content guide probably has problems with:

  • Not understanding what makes good long-form content
  • The time investment (and uncertainty it’ll be worth the effort)
  • Trouble seeing how the content is structured for peak effectiveness

That’s why I have these main sections of the post – the added example is a bonus.

These pain points usually come down to:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Energy

People flock to these big, ultimate guides because they don’t have the time to spend countless hours learning a new skill. They seek expert information because they don’t want to waste money on countless training courses. They want a piece that’ll give them the energy to follow through with the idea.

This is where the storytelling comes into play.

You can use anecdotes and personal experiences to share the problems you had with your topic. This lets people identify with you while mirroring the experience. They see your success and accomplishments and feel compelled to purchase the offer because it solves the problem.

Each section should play off this idea of story -> problem -> solution – then transition to the next part.



Step 3: Exhaust Your Knowledge and Expertise (Without Looking What Others Are Doing)

What do most people do when they start creating content?

They search Google for posts on the topic.

The best parts of the posts are pulled and reworked into something fresh. We all do this – and we’re all trying to do one better than the other.

Try this:

  1. Write down every sub-section of the topic you know
  2. Start writing as much as you can
  3. Keep adding as you go whenever you solve another problem
  4. THEN go back and compare it with others

The point is: Exhaust your knowledge before you research.

Trust in your ability to recount and explain a topic in your own words. You’ll be surprised how easy the information flows – as if you’re talking to the screen like you would a good friend. You’re pouring yourself into the topic. You’re not stopping every five minutes to check your phone to verify every piece.

Only after you’ve covered as much as you can… take a gander at the competition.

  • See something you missed? Add it.
  • See something that shouldn’t be there? Remove it.

That’s the beauty of online writing.

You can always go back to make updates or edits. Your words aren’t set in stone. Use that to continually improve your work versus re-doing it every year as a new post.



Step 4: Keep Money Making Offers in Mind (But Don’t Set Them as the Focal Point)

You should think of products and services to promote throughout the long-form content if you’re planning on using affiliate marketing as your monetization method.

These should come naturally.

Long-form content will do that.

The more you create, the more chances you’ll have at including affiliate offers. You’ll likely touch on several pain points – each having a solution (offer). But that’s not all. Each reference to one product gives you an opportunity to promote comparable products.

It’s a matter of:

Each major step of the long-form content could include multiple offers based on personal recommendations or alternatives.

You could conclude your story with a mention of the product you use to overcome the obstacle and solve the problem. But, you could suggest related products depending on the type of visitor. Some people have more time, money, and energy than others. Some don’t. Give them options.

But yeah…

Set content as the focal point and the offers will naturally integrate.

The “pushing the free line” is best when you provide a solution the visitor can do without making a financial investment. The solution may be harder or take more time. But, that option exists. However, since you’re offering products providing a quick solution… some individuals will opt for those. Cha-ching!



Step 5: Do It (Take Your Time) and Keep It Updated

Sometimes you’ll create epic, long posts in a single sitting.

Other times, it’s like grinding teeth.

Write the interesting sections first.

There are always boring sections of a post – if you always start with those then no wonder you can’t commit to long form content marketing. Dive right into the good stuff.

These will become you big, evergreen, cornerstone, epic, silo, skyscraper, and whatever-you-want-to-call-it posts.

Sit down and work on sections when you feel like it.

It could be after a strong cup of coffee. Or, maybe you watched a movie or heard a song that sparked an idea. Perhaps an associate brought up a good idea. Inspiration will kick in. That’s when you go for it.

  • Keep a copy open on your desktop (and a backup online)
  • Record notes with your phone when you’re away from the computer

Piece by piece, the long form guides will reach completion.

And here’s the thing:

Because it’s meant to last… you can always come back to make updates.

There should be a main keyword and short URL, so you won’t need to do redirects. You could update the piece every few months or annually. Do so when major topic points change. Remove some sections, expand on others. The long form guides aren’t going anywhere, ya know?



What We Want You to Do (and a Final Note About Long Form Content)

Long form guides are incredibly lucrative – they’ll build traffic and make you money. Strive to create the best piece you can. Keep adding to it. Make it the essential guide to what you’re talking about.

Ignore that “I should make this a bunch of smaller posts” if you’re compelled to make something epic. You can always go back and create supporting content. For now – go big.

These big pieces take time. We’d appreciate if you share the post…

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