Much has been written in praise of meaty, 2,000-word posts. In my view, these monstrosities only make sense in the context of groundbreaking research, a novel compilation, and stunning graphics, as with a white paper.
I understand the SEO and shareability value of these lengthy posts. But short blog entries can be just as beneficial—to readers and to the author—when the content is relevant, useful, and focused.
In Defense of Brevity
Many writers work toward a specific length for their blog posts, which is fine. But maybe you don’t always have that much to say. Brief posts allow you to convey all of the important information—without fluff. By eliminating arbitrary minimum standards, you lower your risk of pontificating.
Written crisply, shorter posts are even more effective than their longwinded counterparts. You can communicate the same message in less time! Your readers’ time is valuable, so you don’t want them to be bogged down in a rambling behemoth.
And even if you do have a lot to say, the discipline of writing crisply makes it easier—and more meaningful to read. You’ve got to organize your thoughts, trace them through to their most powerful point of impact, then winnow them down for what you’d like the reader to know.
Your time is valuable, too! Aside from being more focused, brief blog posts take less time to create. When you spend half the time writing a piece, you’ll be able to write twice as many posts—which is essential if you have quantified content goals.
The Benefits of Long-Form
In his book Ogilvy on Advertising, ad icon David Ogilvy writes:
“All my experience says that for a great many products, long copy sells more than short… Advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy or not.”
When you apply this principle to blog posts, long-form content’s SEO benefits make sense. Lengthier posts often earn more shares on social, more backlinks, and higher conversion rates. These factors, combined with complex search engine algorithms, help longer posts achieve top ranks on Google.
But these posts create more page views only because their authors take time to identify impactful topics. Readers aren’t going to click on something that’s not interesting or relevant. So, once you’ve decided on a topic to dive into, a lengthy post allows you to explore without limitation.
Long-form content tends to be more effective for establishing yourself as a go-to resource for information because it gives you the chance to assemble a full argument, discussion, or step-by-step guide.
Debunking Myths About Post Length
Both short and long blog posts have their upsides, with plenty of data to support each claim. But there are still two major myths floating around, many featuring sweeping generalizations about the meatiness—and effectiveness—of your writing.
Myth #1: Long posts are more beneficial to the author.
Not every long post benefits its writer. Some people spend hours on hours—maybe even days—writing and fine-tuning a 2,000-word piece, only to receive a couple of spam comments and a handful of Twitter shares. If your topic doesn’t resonate or make waves, your time would be better spent elsewhere.
Myth #2: Readers prefer brief content because of short attention spans.
While many people may be more likely to read through short posts, they often won’t know how long a piece is until they click. The topic—and often the headline/title—is what draws readers in. The focus and message of the post, and how crisply it’s written, keeps them engaged until the end (which is normally where you’d include your call to action!).
The goal of any blog post is to engage your readers and make yourself a resource by providing value. Content drives traffic to your site, and more traffic will hopefully lead to an uptick in conversions. If your topic captivates readers, your writing flows, and your message resonates, your CTA will be effective regardless of how long your piece is.
When it comes to your blog posts, it really isn’t the size that matters—it’s how you use it. And if you want to learn how to use it efficiently, please reach out and introduce yourself. We’d be happy to help.