By now, we all understand that “content is king,” but what differentiates compelling and subpar content?
As content creators, there’s always a question of whether to create long-form or short-form content. Both types of content have their place in a successful content marketing plan and may be extremely effective marketing strategies.
To determine the right length for your content, we’ll walk through the benefits and drawbacks of both short-form and long-form content, allowing you to decide how to mix the two.
Some people consider articles longer than 700 words to be long form, while others believe articles must be longer than 1,800 words.
We can consider long-form content to be more than 1,200 words in length, such as blog posts, tutorials, whitepapers, e-books, and longer films. This allows you to provide your readers with high-quality content backed by research and data when necessary.
One of Backlinko’s studies found that the average first page result on Google consists of 1,447 words. Most marketers find that long-form content performs better for a variety of reasons. For one, targeting and optimizing for a broader set of keywords is simpler, which can help search engines understand and index site content for relevant searches.
You can also increase website traffic and overall time on the page, both of which are favorable factors for search engine ranking. A Content Marketing Institute survey from 2022 revealed that 43% of B2B content marketers said long articles/posts stood out as an area where those most successful reported better results overall.
While length is not always synonymous with knowledge, longer content is often more trustworthy and authoritative. Furthermore, it provides readers with more in-depth information to engage with, which can help demonstrate expertise on a given topic or within a specific industry.
Short-form content is quick, “snackable” content of around 700 words. Ideally, you want to make it basic and memorable, with a single principle that swiftly explains stories.
We know this type of content is significantly easier to create and takes much less time to develop, allowing you to share and publish more often. According to HubSpot, blogs that publish more frequently receive more traffic, boosting engagement and clicks.
Readers are also more likely to share shorter content: Intero Digital’s “2023 State of Contributed Content Report” found that the average length of the most-shared content in 2022 was 792 words, well below the 1,200 words that we consider the minimum for long-form content.
Moreover, most people are busy; they are continuously on the go and don’t have time to read an in-depth overview of a topic. Short-form content is the most effective technique to give them bits and pieces of essential information while maintaining their interest.
To address the needs and desires of an audience, any successful content marketing plan must balance both short-form and long-form content. This is especially important if you want to see crystal trophies for your award-winning strategies on your shelf.
You can determine the right content to create if you take the time to study your audience and how they interact with your product or service. Let’s look at what you can do to incorporate both in your content marketing strategy:
• Focus on laying the groundwork with your long-form content while incorporating the social components of short-form content into your marketing strategy. Make your long-form material, such as blog posts, e-books, or whitepapers, and turn some of the content into snippets to share on social media regularly.
• Set your content goals straight by deciding what you want to achieve. If you want to increase visits from organic searches, long-form content is the way to go. If your following is well-established and your material is compelling enough for people to share, short-form content will help you stay top of mind with prospective consumers.
• Consider combining long- and short-form content depending on your reader’s pain points. Long-form material can provide detailed information, tell a story, or establish authority in a certain area. Conversely, short-form material can be utilized for quick updates, summarizing vital information, and increasing engagement.
Finally, the decision should be based on what will successfully communicate the content, reach your target audience, and connect with the purpose and goals of your website or brand.
It takes time to develop, test, and optimize any kind of content. Still, you will better engage readers by addressing their concerns and establishing more meaningful connections with real and captivating material that offers many benefits to your company and your customers.
If you develop a piece that doesn’t do well, study the available data, determine why, make modifications, and work on revisions. Companies that listen to and analyze their data can create personalized content that resonates with customers, building a relationship between their content strategy and the customer experience.
Content quality is more important than length. Whatever you publish on your website should be well-researched and professionally written. Use the insights gained from your data and third-party technology to guide your approach — and remember that there is no set length for your content.
The greatest digital marketing approach combines short-form and long-form content, utilizing each format to create a holistic strategy that helps increase your audience while keeping readers interested and returning for more. So, focus your efforts on developing content with the proper length to fulfill the purpose you need and want to serve.
Mike Szczesny is the owner and vice president of EDCO Awards & Specialties, a dedicated supplier of employee recognition awards, athletic awards and other branded merchandise. Szczesny takes pride in EDCO's ability to help companies go the extra mile in expressing gratitude and appreciation to their employees. He resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.