Creating a blog for a business has become one of the most adopted marketing strategies of the past decade. This increased consumption of digital information has become easier as people now have the whole online world in their pocket thanks to their smartphone.
Internet users are now more likely to connect online via their mobile phone than via the desktop. They’re reading articles shared by friends via social media networks at an astonishing rate and reading rates are even higher amongst those who have long commutes.
Blogs of every niche are filling those gaps in time with short and long-form articles that entertain and inform the reader. The key is creating content of the right length that engages the reader enough to start following the brand and — potentially — lead into a sale.
Knowing which length of content works best takes research, analysis, and regular review. Both have their benefits to the reader, and also to the content creator.
One is easily consumed by the reader, quickly created, but less likely to be favoured by Google.
The other takes time for the reader to digest, takes much longer for the creator to write, but is preferred by Google.
In 2012 serpIQ research showed the Top 10 Google search results on a query had more than 2000 words per page, with the word total decreasing as the rank position decreased.
Benefits of Short Form Content
Shorter content such as photo-based articles, short videos, and written pieces of 1,000 words or less are easy to consume. They can be read or watched in just a few minutes time before the reader gets swept away by another link to different page or site.
The benefits of shorter content to a business blog are wide, with brand awareness as the largest significant factor. Businesses can promote their brand identity, their product, or bring awareness to a new advertising campaign; all in a few words crafted in just a few short hours.
With shorter creation times it’s also much easier to distribute new content over several days and pull in new readers every day of the week, whilst with long form the content may take several hours to create and may only result in one or two new posts a week.
Due to the quick assimilation of the information in short content pieces they’re also generally well received and re-shared by the reader, leading to much stronger social shares than their longer counterparts. With greater sharing comes a wider reach for the message, and through it an increased chance of generating new sales leads.
BuzzFeed in particular are great at creating short form content:
Benefits of Long Form Content
Not only is long form content more likely to be ranked higher in Google searches, in one study it was found to be 7x more likely to convert into quality leads than short-form posts.
Long form content also provides an opportunity for a business to showcase their vast knowledge in their selected industry.
Through a diverse collection ‘How To’ articles, product reviews, and competitor comparisons there’s an increased chance to generate brand awareness without mentioning the brand or product at all.
The business blog of the social scheduling tool Buffer has found great success over 2014-15 in building brand awareness through posts that don’t mention their service at all, instead letting the virality of the article (14,000 shares and counting) bring in the high traffic and leads that come with it.
In some cases readers have been found to prefer long content over shorter pieces — countering the idea that consumers prefer short content — as marketer Neil Patel found in 2012 when he found that his long-form content performed 7.6% better than the short form articles he replaced it with during a redesign.The blogging platform Medium is filled with incredible long-form content:
Why You Need Both Forms of Content
People aren’t consistent. One day they want to read everything, the next they’re either too disinterested or rushed and want something quick to absorb.
Other times they want to find the best in-depth ultimate guide that will solve their problem and they’re prepared to spend fifteen minutes reading about it if the solution works.
Producing only one type of content may be easier in the long run as it’s easier to stick to a routine of researching, producing, sharing, and repeating in time for the next deadline; but when the goal is new leads and sales conversions it’s best to put quality ahead of quantity.
By mixing the two forms of content, there’s a greater opportunity to spend time catering to every type of reader that reads the blog. The entertainers will be entertained, and the information addicts will find enough definitive information to get their teeth into.
Creating a publishing calendar of one long from article and two shorter form pieces per week or fortnight is accomplishable for most business owners. If not, experienced content creators are now easily found and affordable.
No two readers are the same. Producing a range of content that satisfies both of them is something that every business can achieve.
With sharing high for short form content and lead generation higher on long-form content, creating and distributing both as part of a blog publishing calendar is a must for every online business presence today.
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