In today’s increasingly connected world, the content is king. We have an astronomical amount of information at our fingertips. It has changed the way we view everything, including healthcare (hint: WebMD). When you throw in the different means of access, such as the number of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, we find that there is a lot of people consuming a massive amount of content. Luckily, for businesses, this means that there is a variety of opportunities to engage their audience and garner a larger customer base.
So, if you’re looking to create impactful content, how do you go about doing it? Is long form content better than short form content? Is there, perhaps, some magic number in between long-form content and short-form content? To get your post or page indexed by Google, all you’ll really need to write is a quick 400 words. But that’s not necessarily impactful content! So, let’s break down the benefits and cons of both long form and short form content.
To maximise your content, and not just settle for the bare minimum, you’ll need to hit more than 400 words. Your content should not only build a relationship with your customers, it should be informative, have sufficient SEO content and give your company tangible authority.
But let’s define long form and short form content first. Long form content is typically any post that exceeds 2,000 words. On the other hand, short-form content is half of that at 1,000 words or less. If you’re very concise, you could write an impactful brief in just 500 words.
Long Form Content
Blog posts and other articles ranging between 1,200 and 2,000 words currently dominate the long form content cache. However, with the new standard long-form content, these numbers are slowly increasing to over 3,000 words. In fact, some articles can clock in at 10,000 words!
So, why do we need long-form content? Firstly, we need to look at the almighty Google. It will rank long-form content over short form if they have the same keywords because readers will average a longer time on those pages. The other benefit to long-form content is its ability to convey information. Blog posts or articles that are in-depth, informative and demonstrate skilled knowledge about specific topics perform the best. This is because this type of long-form content provides valuable information to an interested audience who is searching for that specific information.
Here are some quick facts about long-form content!
1. Long-form gets more shares.
2. Due to its length, it provides better opportunities for SEO.
3. With this type of content, you can position your brand as an authority on the subject.
4. It’s better for content conversion and generating leads.
So, when do you use long-form?
- If you are trying to introduce a brand-new product or service. In this instance, you’ll need to explain what you are offering and why people need its value.
- When you want to sell a high-end product with a heavy price tag or if you want to sell something with a long-term commitment period. You’ll need to convince your buyers of the investment before they make their purchase and long-form gives you the space to do so.
- If your product is technical or complex in nature, long-form is useful in adequately discussing the product and marketing it.
Short form content is often the favourite of marketing staff because of its ease of use. If you can get the most with minimal effort, wouldn’t you jump on that boat? There are excellent examples of short-form content such as vine videos, infographics, pins on Pinterest and the ever-popular listicles you might find on Buzzfeed.
This form of content has been holding its own because there is a proportion of online readers who prefer to scan through content instead of reading every word. To target this audience, a concise message can be a strong form of communication between a brand and their consumers. It is possible that this audience is generally those always on the go, who read articles on their phones as the short-form content is more mobile-friendly.
When does short-form content win?
- If you have a product that’s ubiquitous or that the audience is familiar with, they won’t want to read a long article introducing it. In these instances, brands will win with short impactful content.
- A simple product or service is another area in which short form content is useful.
- If your target source is tailored for short-form content. For example, an email newsletter, an ad or twitter.
In short, how long your article will be dependent on how much your audience knows about your product. Long form can be great in the sense that you introduce your product to your base and lead them through from start to end. But short form can deliver information quickly!
So here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding on long- or short-form.
- How much does your audience need to be educated?
- How interested are your readers in your service?
- Do you need to create interest?
- What are your basic marketing objectives for your content?
While there are benefits to writing the long form and short form, there are a couple of downsides to both forms that you’ll need to look for. For example, short-form content can be superficial or has the ability to quickly become a hard sell. On the other hand, long-form content needs to be intriguing enough to keep their audience’s attention. Ultimately, if you use either or both forms of content, it’ll need to be executed properly.
Mixing It Up
The strategy is the key to writing the successful long form and short form content. In the end, though, the stats don’t lie! Long-form content has been proven to perform better in search engines, garners more shares on social media and increases the time people spend on a page. For emerging brands, this could be the time to invest in long-form content, whilst experimenting with short-form content or employing it at crucial moments to enhance your long form content.