If someone asks you, to choose between long form content vs short form content in 2020 what would you choose?
I’ve been asked this question a lot of times and what most bloggers usually expect is to tell them to go for the longer blog posts or the short ones right away.
Truth is, there’s no such straight forward answer.
Firstly, a long form content is a post between 2000 words and above while a short form content is an article between 500-1500 words.
Both a short and long blog post can be very useful for your blog and your users.
In fact, Content Marketers like Seth Godin have been created a highly performing website with shorter articles.
Just as marketers like Neil Patel have excelled with longer and more in-depth blog posts.
Considering such indices, it might get a bit difficult to decide whether to create shorter or longer posts…
As a matter of fact, a short and straight to the point blog post is useful because your readers’ attention span is getting lower than it used t be.
In fact, according to a research by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds…
For this reason, to get better engagement and to avoid wasting your readers’ time, you have to write shorter and straight to the point pieces of content that will be valuable to them.
On the other hand, according to a study by backlinko, long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles.
A longer and more detailed blog post of about 2000+ words will be very useful for your search engine optimization.
It helps you utilize as much keywords as you can in a blog post thus helping your blog rank faster for the right keywords.
A shorter post of about 500 words on the other hand won’t give you much of that chance.
So should you write a longer blog post or a shorter one?
Quick answer, Yes. And No!
Longer answer; Don’t make your blog post longer than it should be.
I mean, do not use too many phrases in a blog post because you want to reach a certain number of words.
You want to focus on writing a good post that has enough value for your readers. That’s what you want to do.
Instead of writing short or long blog posts, do the following:
1. Write both. Make short and long form posts at intervals.
Some blog topics need simple and straight forward content while some need a more detailed blog post
For topics that are short and straight to the point, focus on making your articles brief and within the length that can pass adequate value to your readers.
Some topics will need a well researched and detailed post before it can be covered completely.
For such posts like this, focus on making your content as detailed as possible.
At the end of the day, the high point of every blog post is to get your blog a better ranking on the search engine, create value for your readers, keep them coming to your blog again and possibly, turn them into paying clients.
This should be your focus with every single post you make.
How to know the length of post to write.
1. Do a keyword research
Usually, as a professional content marketer, you’re not supposed to decide the length of a post by guess work.
You need to research other posts ranking well for that keyword and figure out a way to out rank them.
You can get this done with a free content analysis tool like buzzsumo. With Buzzsumo, you get to see the top ranking websites for any keyword, number of shares and other analytics that will help you work on creating a better content.
With this knowledge and a basic keyword research, you can create a compelling post that is richer and more in-depth than the top ranking posts then.
2. Understand the purpose of the blog post clearly.
Like i mentioned earlier, the purpose of every blog post is to get readers to your blog, create engagement and possibly convert your readers to buyers.
To be able to do this successfully, you’ll need to have certain things in place like backlinks, a decent number of visitors, high quality content etc.
Now, you can’t do all these things at the same time that’s why you need to have a strategic approach towards creating specific goals for your content.
If your goal is to create backlinks then you’ll definitely want to target a longer and more detailed posts.
If it’s all about keeping your readers engaged or coming back to your blog on a daily basis, then you want to write shorter articles as those ones won’t take more of your time.
3. Understand the competition.
You want to understand the competition behind the keyword you’re targeting and the length of the top ranking content for the keyword.
Knowing the length of the top ranking blog posts in your niche or keyword will help in getting the blog posts you’re planning to write, a better ranking.
Where the top ranking post for a keyword you’re targeting is 1000 words for instance, to get a better ranking for your content, you can work on writing a 2000 words well researched and more valuable content then promote it.
Doing this will get your post to rank faster on the front page. Compared to where you write a post with the same length or even shorter number of words.
On the other hand, where you observe that the top performing posts for a particular niche keyword are shorter content, to improve your performance you’ll want to align your posts with such post length.
4. Understand what works for your audience.
Depending on your niche, your audience might prefer a longer and well detailed content or shorter articles.
Before you can decide on making any changes to the length of your content, you have to consider what works best for your audience.
with your analytics tool, study the length of posts that gets better results like shares, views etc and then create more of such posts.
4 Reasons to Create Long Form Content
Backlinking is one of SEO’s best practices to improve your rankings in Google
A blog in need of audience and back links needs repeated clusters of pillar posts/long form content.
These are content other websites will easily link to because of the depth, accuracy and detail involved in writing it.
A back-link from a high authoritative website is like a thumbs up on your post. Besides earning you improved rankings for the web page, it will expose your content to a new audience.
Although Short Form Content still attracts shares on social media, according to research, longer form content are more shareable.
In a recent study by Brian Dean, long form content generates 72 percent more back links than short articles.
With more back links and social media shares, your content becomes visible to even more usera.
This in turn will improve your brand visibility while exposing your website to a new audience.
A well written and indepth long form content is a powerful tool that can be used boost brand credibility, earn customer’s respect and improve social social media shares.
Creating a comprehensive post like white papers, case studies, ebooks etc on a subject matter will project your brand as highly knowledgeable and credible in the niche.
Considering that a brand’s credibility will always have an impact on client’s perception of the brand, a good number of indepth long form content, will go a long way in giving your brand a major boost.
Improves Your Authority
Creating compelling and highly informative contents like e-books, case studies, white papers demonstrates your grasp and in-depth understanding of the subject matter.
Instead of coming off as more profit-focused, long form content provides a great deal of value to your audience, and this in turn projects your brand as a thought leader in your niche.
The more your clients see you as an expert in your niche, the more they believe in your capacity to provide the solutions they need.
In the long run, such brand positioning drives improved returns on your inbound marketing efforts and overall conversion rates.
4 Reasons to Create Short Form Content
1. People’s attention span is getting very low.
Searchers now need content they can scan easily and move on. With shorter content you get this more easily.
2. Some readers prefer bite sized form content.
If you can get high quality content summed up in a few readable words then why use elaborate words?
3. Necessity to create posts often
Depending on your niche, it may be necessary to write more often, like on a daily basis.
Some niches need lots of bite sized content that would be updated on a daily basis hence you may have to write more shorter content because of your niche
In conclusion, for your own benefit, it would be best you don’t rely on a short or long form content only.
To get better result for your blog and content marketing effort, work on mixing up the two as part of your content strategy.
Write short and bite sized content to save time then mix it up with clusters of pillar content to get the traffic benefits.
There you have it. What’s the best content length for your audience?