The Long and Short of It

I talk a lot about content marketing.  There’s two schools of thought.  The 2000+ word blog and the 500 word blog.

Both have their advantages and their disadvantages.   Which is better?  Long?  Short?  A mixture of both?  Below I’ll give you an infographic that might help you decide what is best for you.

Blog_(1)So lets talk about a long form blog post- posts that are 2000 words or more.  Google looks for these posts to see you as an expert in your field.   That’s a big plus.  But it’s not just the amount of words.  If what you have is a compelling read, then it’s also the time spent on your site reading your article that makes it a great post.  So, having a long post for the sake of just adding more words can backfire.    This isn’t school and the teacher isn’t counting your word count as part of your grade.

In addition to search engine benefits, let’s look at other reasons a longer post can be good for your blog.  A longer post can show that you are established, that you truly know and can speak in depth about your subject.    Long posts are good for getting more discussion and can be more thought provoking.  And sometimes long format articles are necessary to impart information to your audience.

Speaking of audiences, what are the drawbacks of long format posts or blogs?   Well, they won’t get fully read on mobile phones.  Short blogs do better on mobile.    Those who want the main points and not the meat also will not read 2000 words.   And longer blogs get less shares.

So the inverse is also true.  A shorter post, around the 500 mark, will get better shares.  It takes less time for everyone to read, so you may see more traffic, especially on mobile phones.   And it follows that if you have more readers, you will get more shares.

And while a shorter blog won’t do as well in search engine ranking, it won’t hurt.  ANY new content will help raise your ranking.

Short blogs are also easier to write, take less time and can be more entertaining.  This appeals to many businesses but especially to self employed and start ups.  These are businesses that may not have the time or resources to produce long format blog posts.

Two main categories will help you decide.  Audience and Goals.

Audience:  You should take into consideration first and foremost, what does your audience want to see?   Are they executives and business owners who have little time to read your posts?  Are they the general public needing information or is your goal to entertain them?  How does your audience consume blogs?  Are they desktop, tablet or phone users?  Or all three?

Goal:  What is your goal in writing your post?   If your goal is to educate, how long will that post need to be to ensure someone has a good comprehension of the topic?  Goals will be different based on the type of business you are, as well.  A comedian might have a very different goal from a doctor or a mechanic.

For some industries, only long form blog posts may work.  Maybe you’re a doctor or scientist working on a new technique.   For others, only short blogs may work.  Maybe you’re a comedian and want to be known as the one liner king.

For example, I have chosen short blogs for you, my audience.  Here are my goals.  I want to be known for describing online marketing in plain English.  I want to have an audience of small and medium business owners.  I want them to be able to digest the information quickly and have it relate to them easily.   And because they are busy,  I’m sure they use smart phones.  Most of my blogs sit around the 500 word count.  I rarely write one that goes up to 1,0000 words.

Most businesses will find that a mix between the two will work best for you.   As promised, below you will find an infographic, sourced from Search Engine Watch, that will help you decide what length to chose for your blog posts.  If choosing a mix, I think this will also help you decide how many long and short blogs you will need.

long-form-vs-short-form-content-table

I hope this post has reached my goals.  I hope you’ve had an easy time reading and digesting it.  And I hope the content is pertinent to you.   If you are a business owner and need some help, I’d be happy to offer my services.

 

 

 

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