A Step-by-Step Guide to Producing a 3,000-Word Article on Any Topic

Creating long-form content is one of the best things you can do for your online marketing strategy.

Long-form content that passes the 3,000-word mark blurs the line between an article and a guide, making it a unique type of content. It’s detailed, but it’s not too long.

It’s the perfect type of content to truly help your readers.

Not only that, but long-form content also sets you up as an authority, attracts backlinks, and helps you create a sustainable content marketing system.

Throughout my career, long-form content has always been an important part of my marketing strategy. And most of the radically successful entrepreneurs I know also use long-form content. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

I know what you’re thinking: “But how can I write these humongous articles? I don’t even know where to start.”

If you have an idea for an article in mind, that’s enough to get started. All you need is an idea, some time, and good Googling skills.

Over the years, I’ve honed the process of writing long-form content that works for any topic. It’s so easy to learn, I bet you’ll finish your first 3,000+ word article within a few days.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Write about what you know

First, I want to tackle an issue I see all the time.

I’ll read an article that ticks all the right boxes, but the content sucks. And it’s extremely clear that the author hasn’t studied the subject.

If an article makes a lot of vague statements and relies heavily on others’ quotes, you can bet that the author doesn’t really know the topic.

And when you’re writing 3,000+ words, you need to know what you’re writing about.

I can crank out 3,000 words on marketing, no sweat. But if I tried to write a 3,000-word post on how to backpack across Spain, I’d be totally lost.

Writing 3,000 words requires you to know a lot about the topic. If you’re fumbling and making things up as you go, your finished product won’t be that good.

But when you write about what you know, your experience shines through. Your readers will be able to tell you’re an expert on the subject.

Most importantly, your article won’t be boring. It’ll be informative and in-depth.

With that out of the way, let’s look at the process of writing long-form content.

Building your outline

When most people think of an outline for writing, they think of this:


Source: LumenLearning

While these outlines may be great for writing academic papers, they’re convoluted for articles.

You can use a much simpler form of outline. For example, your outline might be a list of all the subheadings in your article. Or it could be a bullet point list of things you want to write about.

Whatever you use for an outline, don’t spend too much time on it. You want to move to the drafting part of the process as soon as possible.

Getting your sources

Sources are vital to an article’s success. If you don’t have good sources, your readers won’t trust your points.

Your sources need to meet two important criteria: they need to be trustworthy, and they need to be relevant.

Try to use sources known for their credibility. Case studies are always safe bets.

Here are some great places to look for sources:

  • Online publications
  • Research-based sites (e.g., MarketingSherpa, HubSpot)
  • Industry blogs

Always choose primary sources over secondary sources. A primary source is original research or content.

Here’s an example of Buffer using a primary source:


Of course, your primary sources don’t have to come directly from you or your company. For example, you could cite the Buffer post above, and that would count as a primary source.

Here’s one of the best writing tips I can give you: Find your sources first.

If you wait till later to find your sources, it’ll be tougher to organically implement them into your writing. But if you find them at the beginning, you can write using your sources as the basis of your article.

This makes your writing flow smoother and your arguments stronger. It also saves you time in the long run.

Look back at your outline, and identify the main points you want to make. Find one or two primary sources for each point. This will ensure your arguments are sufficiently supported.

Draft with detail

After you have your sources, it’s time to knock out your first draft. When drafting, keep one important thing in mind: detail.

That’s one of the reasons why I generally dislike short content—it’s not detailed enough.

If you asked me to write a 500-word article on long-tail keywords, I’d have to sacrifice a lot of detail just to fit in the main points.

Shorter content can work under the right circumstances, but if you’re trying to build authority and grow your readership, you need longer content. And that means detail.

Many bloggers make the rookie mistake of assuming that their readers will know what they’re writing about. But you can’t make that assumption. If you do, you run the risk of alienating some readers.

As a rule of thumb, it’s always better to go into too much detail than not enough. Keep that in mind when writing your articles.

When you start writing, just let it flow. Write whatever comes to mind even if you think it’s bad. At this point, your goal is to get words on the page. If they suck, you’ll edit them later.

While you’re drafting, try to keep the following two points in mind.

Break it down

When you’re writing an extra-long article, you need to make sure everything is broken down into parts. Explain each aspect thoroughly.

When you write your first draft, try to answer some fundamental questions:

  • If you were completely new to this topic, what questions would you have?
  • Have you broken down every area into easily digestible parts?
  • Have you defined terms some readers may not understand?

If you’re writing about an advanced application of a topic, include a beginners’ guide somewhere in the opening of your article. That way, uninitiated readers can learn the basics before moving on to your article.

You might consider including a table of contents at the beginning of your article. Kolakube uses them nicely:


Remember, your goal is to help the reader, and a table of contents helps break down the article into smaller, bite-sized chunks.

Build pillars

Revisit your outline again, and take a look at your main points. You should have 5-7 points you want to make.

These 5-7 points are your pillars, and together, they support the central argument.

For example, take a look at this Kissmetrics article:


The title is the main point, and the subheadings give you the pillars of the article.

That’s the format you want to aim for. I like using subheadings as the pillars, but as long as you have your supporting sections, you’ll be golden.

One final word about your first draft: Try to make it longer than you want your post to be. That’s because during the editing process, you’ll usually cut out a lot more than you think.

I recommend going about 400-500 words over as a safety net. If you want your final post to be 3,000 words, aim for 3,400-3,500 words in your first draft.

Edit ruthlessly

Next, it’s time to edit.

When you edit your own writing, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. It’s easy to develop editing blindness: you’re too familiar with your own writing and can miss mistakes.

To battle this, leave your article for a day or two. When you come back to it, you’ll be able to be more objective when editing.

Start by reading through your article, preferably aloud. (Yes, it’ll take a while, but it allows you to notice mistakes you might not otherwise notice.)

At the very least, give your article a close read all the way through. Do all sentences make sense? Are all phrases unclear? Be ruthless with your editing.

It’s also a good idea to use apps to help refine your drafts. First, put it through a spell checker, but be careful because a spell checker won’t catch everything.

(For example, if you wrote “I through the baseball” instead of “I threw the baseball,” a spell checker won’t catch it even though it’s incorrect.)

Next, use Grammarly. It’s a free grammar checker that will highlight any errors and help you correct them.


Finally, run your article through the Hemingway app. This is a fantastic text editor that will point out long sentences, complex words, and adverbs.

The idea behind Hemingway is to make your writing more concise and more powerful.


Finally, give your article one last run-through, and if it looks good, it’s ready to be published.


That wasn’t so difficult, right?

And the best part is, once you do this over and over, you’ll get better and better at it, and it’ll be easier and easier to do.

Writing a long-form article is simply a formula that you can apply to any topic. Find your topic, get your sources, build your pillars, write with detail, and edit. Rinse and repeat.

If you write about something you know well, the formula can’t fail. All you need is a few hours behind your screen and some motivation.

In fact, I’d say that writing 3,000+ word articles is easier than writing short (500-700-word) articles. You can cover a lot of ground in 3,000 words without having to worry about rambling on.

But it still takes a lot of practice to write great long-form articles. (I’m still practicing after 10+ years of blogging.)

So, take this formula, and use it to create some awesome long-form content.

What’s your biggest challenge with writing long-form content?


  1. Mukund Madhav :

    Wow! Excellent guide. I used to struggle writing even a thousand words. This helped me a lot. Thanks!

    • Awesome, glad it helped.

      • Neil,

        Is is really important to write a 3000 word long article to rank well?

        For instance, Seth’s updates are really crisp and small. What if you manage to deliver quality in lesser words. Also, will people stick around a 2000 – 3000 word article?


        • Seth is pretty well known so he would get away with less but longer is better 🙂

          • Most people might ask it is essential to write massive blog posts. I’d say yes, it’s all worth it.

            Long form of content ranks well in search engines.

            I’ve been writing such massive posts from 2 years and my traffic tripled along with the sales. That’s the power of writing long form content and I highly recommend everyone doing it especially when they are in a crowded niche.

            Thanks for the insights Neil!

  2. Is there any top limit recommendation for an article? If I’m writing an article for a very vast topic and the only way to cover it all is by writing let’s say around 6000-8000 words article would it still be readable or is it just too much?

    • Articles that long are great but it will need to be broken down well for the user.

      • Do you mean broken down into different and individual articles or it should all be kept on the same page and made some kind of menu that would take you directly to a specific part.

        • i am not sure i really understand your question, but i hope this helps:

          if the article is very long, you could split it into a three-part series of about 2,500 – 3000 words each. You have to make sure each part of the series can both stand alone as a single article and also flow seamlessly with the remaining two articles in the series.

      • What about doing it in parts, then they have something to look forward to the following blog. e.g table of content in first part plus part A, part B next time and if you decide on 3 parts part C in the last blog.

        I am a complete beginner, still figuring out how to start, but idea crossed my mind as I read your post. 🙂 Not being a know it all at all, just trying to help.

        • Great! you just spoke my mind! nice one!

        • Once you’d done all three, then for later readers, a link would take the to each part. Just also wondering if this is something to hold on for an actual product launch, or pre launch. have been following Jeff Walker and he has some great content re product and pre product launches. It sounds like this article you mention might be a candidate for this type of thing???

  3. Alecia Stringer :

    Awesome organized tips. Thanks.

  4. Muhammad Hassib Gul :

    Neil, Onve again good piece of writing. Although I am doing all necessary steps but still a good addition in my knowledge.

  5. Bhargav Bavarva :

    Hi Neil,

    Awesome article! I have little question, if we did long enough in-depth article on any topic which also cover all sub topics & long tail keyword but still do you think we can do separate article if keyword has really good number of search volume? or just this part of article more than enough?

  6. Neil thank you very much for such a nice article. I have a complete book mark folder in which I bookmark all the articles I receive through email and I am glad I subscribed. I have been using grammarly but hemingway is a new tool for me.
    Although you have covered enough on the subject but subject focuses on “when you are writing about something you know”. So, I wanted to ask, is it wise to write about a topic which you do not know about ? Should you hire a writer or how should we proceed ?


  7. Neil – Please answer honestly. Do you actually write these articles or do you outline them and hire someone else. These take a long time to write and it seems that aspiring entrepreneurs or CEO’s shouldn’t waste lots of time on this?

    I’d love to hear your feeback.


    One other thing. The form below doesn’t accept TLD’s of “.design”. Thanks!

  8. Excellent guide,

    I have just bought the Hemingway Editor app, just what i have been looking for.

    thanks for the advice.

  9. Navaneetha Krishnan :

    Great Post Man. I have a doubt. How can I produce 3000 words per post in lyrics site..?

  10. Odira Ndubuisi :

    Epic post as usual. Thanks for the tips

  11. Michael Blaes :

    Neil awesome post. This is something I struggle with quite a bi. I have fun trying to do 500 words at times but what you said about finding sources makes sense. I’m going to give it a try. my personal blog is sitting there with its legs up in the air.

    • Thanks for the information. Like the idea of letting the articles rest for a day or two then coming back and re-reading it to clean up. You are right, we get so used to our own writing that we don’t realize that it sometimes drones on. I usually try for 1,000 words but will definitely go for 3,000 with your outline.

  12. The best thing about the long posts I have written on my blog is that they get good amount of long tail traffic from Google. So I fully endorse writing long form content for your blog.

  13. Eduardo Cornejo :

    Hey Neil,

    I just want to say you were the one that inspired me to not only create a blog, but to write long-form posts. And if there is one thing that my followers have praised me with from the very start, it’s that my articles are “very clear, detailed, and informative”.

    Considering I tend to go for 2,500 words, and structure them similar to the way you write yours (intro, sub-headings, conclusion, lots of images, data, inner/outer links, etc.), I have to thank you VERY much for that.

    Keep up the amazing work! 🙂

  14. Kuldeep Kumar :

    Hello Neil,
    I have knowledge about digital marketing practically but when when I do content marketing then comes so many difficulty to me while doing digital marketing campaign, that’s why I hired writer, but what I feel I want to write on paper or on my blog, this post helpful for me or for those bloggers who wants to write but they didn’t..

    Kuldeep Kumar

  15. John Richardson :

    Darn you, Neil. First it was 1200 words, then 2000 words, now you want us to write 3000 word posts. Yikes! However, as a writer, I write long form content all the time. I’m working on a couple of books now and I can tell your readers one thing. Get Scrivener for long form writing. It is so much better than MS Word. It doesn’t crash and it has great tools for outlining, organizing, and printing. You can even output a Kindle book with one click. If you haven’t tried it, download a 30 day trial. Highly recommended.

  16. Thank you Niel, this has been helpful, and it is usually how I organize things anyway. To answer your question: What’s your biggest challenge with writing long-form content? or any content for that matter is deciding what to start with.

    The thing is that I (well a friend actually) set up a face book page for me a couple of years ago at least, as a marketing tool for a market I was participating in. I specialize in gluten free food preparation. The problem now is, that the only post on that facebook page is the advertising for that market.

    I don’t think I was as ready then as I am now to do this, now that I understand the whole concept a bit better and ‘get’ the whole reason behind using face book in the first place.

    So I think I feel guilty that my page has been neglected for so long. I feel like I need to start with some sort of apology or explanation, and this is the first thing that is holding me back.

    Secondly, I could start a whole new page I suppose, (writing this is helping me sort through the problem in my head) then my second obstacle appears which is more or less the same as the first. I don’t know which info to start with.

    I see clearly that I have lots of ideas and have in fact organised them already, as topic ideas to write about, but it’s knowing how to start that is difficult. I am not very good at talking about myself (ha ha, sounds contradictory after this long blurb, doesnt’ it), and so the first ‘intro’ article is the biggest challenge for me.

    I know people need to know something about me to start gaining trust, but I truly dislike describing myself, and feel like everyone who starts a blog on gluten free has a similar story anyway, so it really feels like a waste of time and energy to write and to read the same old, same old.

    So basically the answer in both cases really is based around the ABSOLUTE FIRST CONTENT. / INTRO CONTENT type writing.

    Thanks again for the info and the time you put into reading and replying to the posts and writing. I know how precious it is…. time. 🙂

  17. Thank you. it looks really effective. I will use these tips in my blog writing.

  18. Nice write up Neil. However, I’ve got one question to ask: you may have a long form content but without adequate keyword research, it may not yield required long term organic traffic. So, my question is: which keyword research tools(paid or free) would you recommend to use before commencing your writing?

  19. Prakhar Tyagi :

    Hi Neil,

    Nicely explained . Great Effort by you .

  20. Michael Howard :

    I really like this post because I’ve been contemplating writing a longer post and now I have a clear guide to do it well.

    Thank you Neil.

  21. Very helpful. Very complementary with the one about writing 2000+ words posts. Thanks a lot for sharing

  22. Got it like a secret weapon. Thanks!

  23. Kallol Parida :

    Hi Neil,

    You are awesome man. I just loved it.

  24. Great epic post Neil ,I really like it and bookmarked it .

  25. Thanks Neil,

    I read your each post. As a marketer it’s very helpful for me.

    I’m really inspired from your blogging.

  26. Powerful strategy Neil. I need to start using the outlining process to streamline my content.

    I’ve noticed when I’m creating content that I’m passionate about, its easy to just keep going and going.

    These strategies are great for when I’m posting about a topic that may not be very inspiring but still needs to be written.

  27. Thanks Neil for this useful info. Keeping the content absorbing without stretching it too thin is a daunting task for even seasoned writers. Hence this blog should help!

  28. Epic post Neil.
    Oppa thanks a lot for ur Effort.

  29. Hi Neil, I read on one of your previous articles that you write your opening paragraph and the conclusion before getting started on the actual content and research. I’ve been following the same strategy and it’s been really effective for me. As a freelancer writer, I can’t thank you enough for sharing these tips with us. Cheers! 🙂

  30. Narinder kumar :

    Thanks Neil for providing great tips for how to long define over blog content in easy way.

  31. Srinvasa Chaitanya :

    I am also 3000+ word posts on my blog. But, It took me 2-3 days to write such post. Writing long posts is a continuous learning process. As you have been writing from a few years you are able to produce awesome content very quickly.

  32. Navneet Singh :

    I was just looking for this. Thanks for sharing it Neil

  33. Thanks for that will try today

  34. I feel the title is a bit of misnomer. It promises out as a guide to teach anyone on how to write 3000+ words on any topic and then begins by telling that you ought to write about what you know.

    What do you say?

  35. Great post as always, Neil.

    But I have a question: Do you have any data to back up your claim that longer posts attract more traffic than shorter posts? The reason that I ask is that I’ve been adding continuously to a post of mine for three weeks, but I don’t see any increase in traffic.

    Do I do something wrong?

  36. Abhishek Jain :

    Great Guide Neil. Loved It.

  37. Great post on how to shoot for 3000+ words without using filler content.

    Based on your earlier posts recommending long-form posts I’ve been shooting for an average of 2000 words in my posts and in most cases I have been reaching that goal without compromising on quality of content. I capped a few off at around 1000-1500 words if I felt that I just could not stretch it without then adding filler words. I’ve been pretty pleased so far especially all of the posts are high quality – I think 🙂

    After reading this post, it seems like I will have to up my game a more and with your tips I think I will be able to do that that. Thanks heaps for the super valuable insight,


  38. It’s pretty awesome

  39. Nice things
    I always follow these rule.
    It will help to newable blogger

  40. Sean Sheppard :

    This is an excellent guide to long firm content Neil! I’ll be sharing with the GrowthX Academy students focused becoming T-Shaped content marketers.

  41. Is one long article of 3000 words better than splitting the article into 3 pages of 1000 words? I had done this previously when google ads limited on-age ads to 3, but now they no longer limit the number you use I guess this is less of an issue.

  42. Adeeb Chappangathil :

    Thanks, Neil Patel for this excellent post. This helped me to update my longest article of all time.

  43. Neil,
    You have covered from starting idea, to collecting sources to breaking it up in to main points and finally detailing each. Thank you. You mentioned 3000 word article will be able to be done in 3 days. It is the same for gurus like you as well?

  44. When you use an image from a source in an article, do you get permission from the source or just provide a link to the source?

  45. maurizio la cava :

    the real problem is to build and organize a team to do that for you consistently. If you do that on webmarketing it’s easy but when you change topic it becomes harder to find good copywriters on your specific market niche

  46. Excellent guide. I’m a pretty seasoned writer but I found this very helpful. You’re never too old to learn!

  47. tally tips and tricks :

    What I need 🙂 thanks for sharing

  48. best rrb coaching centers in bangalore. :

    nice information its informative

  49. Health Library :

    This Would certainly help my writers in better understanding the blog Platform and Audience.Thinking of writing an article with more than 3000+ words sometimes can give you nightmares. But Thanks Neil for this beautiful Guide.

  50. Producing a 3k word post or webpage on any topic is always good for business. It probably won’t yield enormous amount of traffic in the moment if your blog or website is in it’s infancy. However, the search engines look for a particular pattern of content produced on a site and how long the pages are which determines the long term SEO traffic rank for that site.

    Bottom live: the content producer can sometimes write short posts which is ok, but focus longer on creating what’s called “Evergreen content,” which is a coined term I think made up by ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse. It’s basically a blog or page 1,500 words or better “if I can remember.”

    So bottom line is write longer pages and include relevant links to 3rd party sources to back your claim when applicable and when least expected, your site will gain better rankings in search engine results pages, increased natural backlinks, and shares on social networks.

  51. Hi Neal,

    Great Post.

    Is there a standard format for citing references in a long blog post? Do you make the statement and then cite the reference in a hyperlink?

    Much Appreciated

  52. ModernTechnolab :

    Wow! Really informative post. it takes lot of patience to write this great and informative post, Thanks a lot.

  53. Samuel Okafor :

    Hi Neil, what an excellent write ups.
    I stumbled over your blog today while searching for a way to set up a blog. And you just nailed it step by step. More so, this article of writing a long read on marketing content I suppose. Can it be applied on writing a Christan blog. I just need to know. Thanks

  54. Diane de la Cruz :

    Hey, Neil! Thank you for this awesome post. I always get something valuable from your content.

    You’re right. It’s always best to write about what you know, so it’s important to specialize and build your expertise on a niche or topic. My greatest challenge when writing long-form posts is I sometimes get stuck. This happens a lot when I’m not familiar with the topic I’m writing about.

    To get familiar with a certain topic or niche, I look for related For Dummies books and get acquainted with the fundamental concepts. I also take related courses on Udemy and other sites. Then, I subscribe to authoritative industry blogs to keep myself abreast of the latest news and developments.

    Not knowing enough about a certain topic shouldn’t stop us from writing an epic piece of content about it. But we need to take time to do research and study.

  55. Awesome content, not boring at all. Can you write something about “how to use FB advertising to gain more social traffic to a particular post?”.

    I know SEO is the most important part of traffic acquisition but nowadays social traffic is becoming as important as organic. For new websites with less FB page fans, it is difficult to gain more traffic. SO with your extensive knowledge can you write something related to my query.
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  56. Hey Neil
    Really needed this. Writing long articles pisses me off. Sometimes, mind gets blank but thanks to coffee 😀
    From now, Going to write raw thoughts first because I got a flood of thoughts whenever I about to start writing. The moment I set my hands on the keyboard.
    Thoughts, 404 NOT FOUND.
    Thanks, man. Would meet you someday

  57. Femi Louis Ogumah :

    Nice information to start this year so as to serve our readers better and also become an authority.

    Thank you Neil for this great tips.

  58. Nowadays, I do a lot of 1500+ words posts on my blog SpokenTwice.com. Sometimes it takes me multiple writing times and days to finish my piece. One thing I noticed is that writing exhaustively on a topic makes you to be easily Co side red as an authority/thought leader on the subject.

    It is worth it. 🙂

  59. You are really great Neil…

    I have one question , I am writing my blog over programming and game development tutorials ,Do you think it is safe to go for long tutorials or break posts into series? How much length is good for programming tutorials?

    Suppose I have three examples of doing X things (which could generate potential visitors) then its better to explain those in three different posts (for marketing and keywords purpose )or put all three examples into one post?

    The advantage of three parts will be having chance to add keywords into title for each given example but con will shortness of post.

    What could you suggest for above scenario?

    • I would say it’s done to how your audience likes to digest the information. As long as the content keeps on topic and is well structure a series could work like one of my guides.

  60. I have been using Grammar lyrics and love it. It’s quick and easy. I haven’t heard of. Hemingway before. I’m looking forward to trying it out. Thanks for the tip.

  61. I have been using Grammarly and love it. It’s quick and easy. I haven’t heard of. Hemingway before. I’m looking forward to trying it out. Thanks for the tip.

  62. Wow Neil,

    Your articles are very lengthy. But none of them make me click back button. You are writing engaging content. Please write a tutorial on How to write long but engaging content

  63. Steve OConnor :

    Awesome article – recently decided to start blogging after years of web design and promotion – don’t know if I have a few hours for each article – what’s better from these for SEO: 3×1000 word articles or 1 x 3000 word?

  64. Vick Strizheus :

    Nice tips to generate 3000 words for your blog posting.

  65. Fantastic advice about providing a table of contents!
    Why didn’t I think of that?
    I will go back and do that for a couple of my articles and use it in the future.

    Thank you!!!

  66. Long form content does really help.

    I still struggle writing content above 2000 words. My ideas kind of saturate at that point as does my typing. I will surely use your ideas.


  67. Hi Neil,

    Writing a Article Step by Step becomes easy by reading this article. excellent examples.
    Thanks very much

  68. Great article. This is very helpful information, Thanks for sharing this post

  69. Hi Neil,

    Great post (Obviously).

  70. Arnold Wender :

    Once again a great article, the Hemingway Editor look really good but only supports English language, I need something similar that supports, German, Spanish and English 🙁


  71. Very informative post. I am planning to start an Amazon affiliate site soon. Surely this post will help me to write some quality content for my new blog.

  72. Globus Logistics :

    Thank you .

  73. Creative Solutions :

    Very Well Explained

  74. nice article very informative. i would love to read more of yours. BlogNXT

  75. This is nice article and was helpful it helped me out a lot to my website http://socialflag.net/

  76. Hey Neil, Thanks for the article.
    Here is my question: Suppose I’ve 20 or more articles with 200-280 words which is good in quality and loving by many peoples and my site is also receiving good amount of traffic on that articles.

    Is it possible that Google will penalize my site with their updates for quantity which is not available on that articles?

    • I would bulk up those articles if you can. Extending them in terms of length and depth can help preserve your rankings without having to remove those articles from your site. Good luck!

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