Do a search about the ideal length for blog content, and you’ll see how common the conundrum is over short- or long-form content. But isn’t it time to stop the debate and focus on what our audiences need? If we know our audiences and prospects well enough, we should be able to structure a content strategy that considers blog length as one part of an effective marketing plan.
If we want our audiences to read, engage with and share our blog posts, then focusing on length is secondary. Instead, we have to focus on consistently publishing content, whatever the length, that delivers value to the reader.
When Long-Form Content Can Work.
A study from BuzzSumo shows that longer blog content gets more social shares than short blog content. Plus, longer blog content tends to perform better in search engines. But what’s the ultimate reason for publishing longer content on your blog?
Longer posts give you an opportunity to fully explore a topic, answer audience questions in depth and take your reader on a journey that will not only educate them, but also enhance your brand. And with more short-form content than long-form content out there, writing longer, meaningful content can distinguish you from your competitor.
Longer blog posts also allow you to be more conversational in style. That’s important when you are starting to form your identity in the blogosphere and want to connect with specific readers. And once you do make those connections, you need to continue developing the relationships through conversational posts.
But what about data that show that almost half of all people admit to skimming blog posts? Wouldn’t that mean that shorter posts are preferable?
Not necessarily. What that data points to is that people want to get information as quickly as possible. When writing longer blog posts, consider these structural tips to make reading easier:
The Case for Condensed Copy.
Every blog post need not be lengthy. There is a place for short blog content – and iconic brands like Warby Parker, Humans of New York and Disney are excellent examples. What do these brands have in common? Think extensive fan base. Their massive audiences are brand evangelists who want to see interesting and insightful content every time they go online. That means delivering content multiple times a day.
To make their short blogs work, these brands have two goals: Each post focuses on a single idea and each post is often accompanied by a striking or compelling image. If you can commit to producing multiple daily posts with these components, short content can work for you.
Shorter is also better if the purpose of your blog post is to ask your readers questions in order to generate discussion, provide important high-level information or provide a short tutorial. If you can do justice to your topic in 500 words, don’t stress about blog length.
Blog Length and Your Content Strategy.
There’s a place for both short- and long-form blog content in your marketing strategy. Long-form content can garner you better search engine ranking and attract backlinks. But short-form content deters fewer people from abandoning your post quickly and is far more mobile-friendly than long-form content. Key to determining the right mix of short- or long-form content is understanding your audience’s preferences. Do they want detailed and lengthy insight about complex questions? Or are they more interested in fast answers or entertaining information? When you understand your readers, you will understand the right content type for your marketing strategy.
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