One question that stays consistent across all industries when discussing content is the question “How long should my blog articles be?”
Prior to 2018 experts focused on average word count suggestions:
1. Search Engine Journal ~ 1,900 Words
2. WesFed ~ 1,600 Words
3. Satish Gonesh ~ 1,000 ~ 1,500 Words
4. Buffer ~ 1,600 Words
5. BuzzSumo – 3,000 ~ 10,000 words received the most shares on social media
6. HubSpot – 2,250 ~ 2,500 words earned the most organic search traffic, and content over 2,500 words earned the most backlinks.
In 2019 as Google search updates improved semantic search, we’ve focused more on understanding why search engines reward longer blog content. Neil Patel points out that depending on your industry the most successful blog post word count for blogs varies.
However, Patel also points out that longer content will always have better analytic results than shorter content because readers will stay on the web page longer and there are more details in the article for web bots to search for engine results. This is likely why the Hook Agency is predicting that “2,450 words is the absolute ideal blog length for SEO in 2020.”
Analytics for SEO may prefer longer posts, but humans overwhelmingly report they prefer shorter content. In the same article Hook Agency states longer blog articles are best for SEO they also state that 70% of people polled report they believe the ideal length for a blog post on their website is 200-700 words per post. With this in mind, it’s worth considering incorporating short-form blogging into your content strategy if you aren’t leveraging this content option yet, and look if you are, I encourage you to look for new ways to expand your opportunities in 2020.
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Short Form Blogging
The most commonly mentioned short-form blogger is Seth Godin. Seth posts something every day on his blog, but many posts are two paragraphs or less. Some are a few sentences, but this isn’t the only platform Seth uses to communicate. He has written 18 bestseller books. There are many reasons people choose to embrace short-form blogging. A quick Google search pulled up articles arguing that shorter blog posts are better for SEO, that they have more potential to be read all the way through, and that social is replacing the blogging platform.
Short-form blogging is something you should consider when choosing your average blog content length, but you should remember that for a web page of any kind such as a Landing Page or it’s recommended that you have at least 350-400 words.
If you can get your point across with a bullet list rather than lengthy paragraph take the shorter path. As long as each point is clear your reader will appreciate the actionable steps. Besides your blog articles, there are many other spaces you can implement short-form blogging to attract and engage your ideal buyer persona.
Ways to Leverage Short-Form Blogging:
Many industries assume that Facebook is the best social media space to leverage content. However, it’s important to research your buyer persona and make sure you meet your ideal customers where they are already hanging out online.
Instagram is a platform Pew Research reveals is gaining popularity every year while Facebook’s growth is stagnant. As generations are measured in segments research reveals younger groups are engaging on YouTube (85%) and Instagram (72%) over Facebook (51%).
I frequently come across short form blogging on Instagram. A beautiful picture catches my eye. It’s followed by a post that’s interesting or inspiring or makes me laugh. This is an excellent example of short-form blogging that catches my eye because as a writer, I am the ideal persona or target audience for certain styles of posts. Because I follow specific hashtags it’s common for these short-form blogs to show up in my Instagram feed.
Short-form blogging on Instagram is automatically created by the platforms’ character limits. This is a great way to leverage brand marketing, to introduce a long form of content, or to feature your company values and beliefs to introduce your the why behind your products and services to your buyer persona.
Video content is another way of leveraging short form content. Sometimes you have creative ideas to express or explain that require visual aids. Rand Fishkin’s White Board Fridays are a good example of this, as is the SMA Marketing channel where Ryan posts a video every Monday.
When you can take a video and walk someone through setting up their software analytics or how to set up program filters rather than writing out the instructions you reduce the time they spend trying to figure out if they understand your instructions accurately.
Short-form blogging on LinkedIn is a great way to engage potential and current customers and clients. There are two ways most people leverage short form blogging on LinkedIn. Traditionally formatted blog articles on LinkedIn are informative and written for your target audience, however they shouldn’t be more than 500-700 words according to Inc.com
A newer way that short-form blogging is standing out on LinkedIn looks similar to PowerPoint slides. By uploading a PDF file you can have your content stand out by featuring quotes and images on slides that resemble Instagram images or PowerPoint slides. Check out this example from HubSpot.
This post, LinkedIn’s new Skills Assessment, is a great post for HubSpot to highlight as many of their followers are looking to build their resumes. Using this short-form blogging format HubSpot is drawing attention to important information their buyer persona will want to know about as soon as possible.
Repurposing Long-Form Content
The easiest way to keep fresh short-form blog content in front of your readers is by utilizing repurposing strategies. By taking a longer blog post and pulling out the main ideas, you have the opportunity to catch the eye of new readers. At the same time, the post will catch the eye of those who have previously read the blog article and will remind them of the content and where they first read your insightful and well-crafted article. By pulling out a specific section to highlight, you also help your reader quickly find the main points you’ve made.
- Create an Infographic
- Create a Video using Lumen5 or Animoto
- Create a video expounding on the blog article
- Pull out a quote or paragraph to share on social
- Create graphics with main points to share on social
- Update an old post and re-share
- Send a marketing email highlighting the blog post’s main points
- Highlight a post in a “Best of List” or “Round Up” Blog Article
It’s unlikely you will find it useful to implement all these strategies on the same long-form blog article, but by varying the type of short-form content you create you now have endless opportunities to repurpose your best content more than once.
Are you ready to give short-form blogging a try? We’ve our content calendar worksheet includes a space where you can develop your short-form blogging strategy. By taking the time to make a few notes about your blog articles as they post you will reduce the time spend hunting through your blog archives and deciding on the sections to highlight later in featured sections. Download our updated content calendar below.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March 2018, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and completeness.