First, short content is best. Then, long content gains in popularity. So which is it? What makes each effective? Should you be writing quick, 300-word snippets or lengthy, 2,000-word posts?
It depends on who you ask and what you are trying to accomplish with your content strategy.
There are merits for both long and short pieces of content, picking the type that’s right for you will depend on a number of factors, which we will explore in the following paragraphs.
Short articles are often classified as articles that are less than 2,000 words, meaning that they aren’t exceptionally long. Others classify short articles as ones under 500 words, which seems a better definition of “short.” These are bite-sized articles, as opposed to the whole sandwich. The CEO of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, said that the average post length on the platform is 280 words. It seems that shorter content is trending.
Easier to Write
These articles are short, meaning they require less research to put out and, therefore, less time to put out. They are also jam-packed with information, though, sometimes making articles like these pretty dense.
Shorter posts mean that you can crank them out faster. Because they take less time to research and write, you can put out more of them than you would a longer post, simply because they use less of your bandwidth to create. They keep your audience engaged; they can’t just forget about it
Easier to Read
It also means that short posts are easier to read because it takes less time to go through them. Instead of skimming through a long post, your audience will read more of the words that you wrote.
Quality Over Quantity
The writing in short articles cannot be sloppy or anything less than perfectly precise. After all, you only have a short while to woo your audience. You have to ensure that every single word counts. A good rule for writing is one that was initially applied to clutter in a home. If you don’t love it or use it regularly, throw it out.
Attract an Audience
Short posts have the benefit of helping you to build huge audiences in a relatively short amount of time. And it’s fairly easy to keep them because your articles don’t require them to take anything longer than a bathroom break to read. That’s how people like Seth Godin or I F***ing Love Science have built such huge and loyal followings. I F***ing Love Science found that the vast majority of their content that does well is under 1,000 words in length. Short content is excellent for social media because it fits the on-the-go, bite-sized nature of platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
These are the monsters, the posts that are well over 2,000 words and are jam-packed with research (hopefully). It turns out that these posts have numbers on their side, often performing better than their shorter counterparts.
SEO and Ranking
Long blog posts are fantastic for SEO. The more content contained on the page, the more likely it will rank on Google and rank reasonably high.
It’s an older study, but one that is still relevant, that says that when SerpIQ analyzed high-ranking pages, they found that a larger amount of text correlates with high rankings.
The quick version of this is, the more content you have, the more of it that gets indexed. And the more that it gets indexed, the better it will perform in searches.
It seems to correlate pretty directly. The longer your post is, the more shares it seems to get. Once you hit around 1,500 words, you are in the prime sharing zone.
Maintain an Audience
If you already have an audience that loves you, long posts make them happy. If people wait with bated breath for your content every week, then they will gladly soak up a massive post that had lots of juicy, tantalizing facts.
Length does matter in some cases. It’s easy to get deep into a topic when you have 2,000 or more words. Not so much so when your post is only 500 words long. This becomes important when establishing your brand as a thought leader.
The reality is that you need to figure out what length works for you and your audience. Some groups like long posts, others like short. Don’t just post a piece of content and forget it. Check the metrics, see what’s performing best and why.
The really important thing to remember is to keep your content good. Take this advice from Copyblogger:
Write something interesting. Take out what’s not interesting. Then put out what you are left with. Long or short, if it’s interesting and people read it, then you have been successful.