Content is the future. Research shows that compared to paid search and advertising, content marketing drives 3X more value for brands. While organizations around the world concur on the importance of content, there still remains one unanswered question – are long-form blog posts better for marketing or does short-form content win?
The battle of the word counts
Most marketers struggle with the question of word counts when creating content. While it’s true that long-form blog posts generate 9X more leads than bite-sized reads, it’s also true that an average reader’s attention span is only 37 seconds and short content is better placed to leverage this attention. So, what should marketers choose?
Experienced blog writing service providers and content marketing agencies are capable of generating both long form and short form content. However, it’s marketers who need to commission content and they can do so wisely once they understand the benefits each type of content offers.
Advantages of long-form blog posts
Long form content refers to anything above the standard 1000 words copy. Long-form content is great because:
- It is rich with statistics and data
- It offers writers great flexibility to be creative
- It generates more social shares
- It can increase conversions by 37%
- It generates more organic traffic
- It is great for SEO
When to use:
- Your brand is new to the market and you wish to give a detailed introduction of your product or service
- The topic is highly technical or talks of a task that requires great investment from the readers
- You are a B2B company and you are publishing important product/process information
- You wish to create great SEO value and improve page ranking
Advantages of short-form blog posts
Bite-sized content can be anything from small 200 word blurbs to 500-600 word articles. They can extend up to 1000 words. Short form content is perfect because:
- It is extremely mobile-friendly and perfect for readers who scan articles
- It helps retain reader attention
- It gives a precise and focused explanation of the topic
- It is highly data-backed and replete with important facts and figures
- It can act as teasers and intros to long-form content
- It allows content writers to focus on visuals
When to use:
- Your brand/product/service is well-known by readers and you merely wish to bring it to the audiences’ attention
- You’re targeting readers who belong to a niche market and they respond well to jargons and concise writing
- You’re writing for social media or a platform that requires less word count
- You wish to use more visual content than words
Getting the best out of your long form and short form content
Research by Demand Metric shows that content marketing generates 3X more leads for brands while costing 62% lesser than other forms of marketing. Both long-form blog posts and bite-sized reads play a vital role in the success of content marketing. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to generate more leads from both types of content:
Long form blog posts
- Capture reader attention with case studies
Studies show that more than 78% of B2B customers use case studies when making a purchase decision. This makes long case studies the perfect marketing tool in the B2B industry.
Case studies cover vital theoretical points with examples of real-life situations and practical operations. They help buyers evaluate whether a product, technology or process will truly be helpful to their organization or not.
One of the best places to publish case studies is LinkedIn, where senior management can have the most access to it. Take a look at this study on the Canadian city of Mississauga.
- Publish your findings in an eBook
Some of the most popular and most engaging pieces of long content are eBooks. They cover various topics from science to art and religion to commerce. A lot of researchers and Ph.D. graduates are choosing to publish their findings not as papers, but as eBooks.
They are extremely easy-to-read, contain data-backed information, and cover an extensive range of sub-topics. Often, eBooks are also excellent as marketing materials which can be used to supplement a service such as medicine or architecture, explaining the industry, topic and the firm’s offerings.
Flywheel uses a fresh template backed by color psychology to promote their eBook. It’s attractive, descriptive, and engaging.
- Data-packed whitepapers rock
Whitepapers make for very compelling marketing material and approximately 76% of marketers and B2B buyers refer to whitepapers when making purchase decisions. Whitepapers are excellent tools to promote new products and services. It is a long form content that is used to provide an actionable solution to a problem commonly experienced by readers.
If you’re interested in promoting your product as the solution for a particular problem, writing a whitepaper with information about how to use your product and the benefits it will offer users in light of the problem is a great way to market your brand.
Take a look at this whitepaper (visit source) by Qompass Blockchain on cryptocurrency. It’s really interesting.
- Update old posts
Have a short content that you’d love to share again? Why not update it and republish it as a new post? Research shows that Google ranks blog posts that are above 2400 words very high on its list, as longer posts give greater scope for more, high-quality backlinks.
If you have evergreen content that your readers will really benefit from, pack it in with more relevant data, updated statistics, and colorful stories and share. Social media influencer Neil Patel recommends that writers re-structure their updated posts to give it a fresh look and new feel.
Entrepreneur Timothy Skyes often updates and publishes superior-quality content on his website.
- Make lists and how-to posts
Research shows that 36% of readers prefer short list-based posts compared to traditional long blog posts. Create odd-numbered listicles (this will increase post popularity by 20%) and publish it for your readers.
How-to posts are also excellent ways to provide easy-to-follow instructions in a concise format. Both of these articles will be appreciated by your readers. This listicle entitled ‘Race Day Tips: 10 Ways To Manage Race Day Panic’ is a great example.
- Memes are your means towards glory
One of the most viral pieces of bite-sized content is the meme. Memes have revolutionized the world of content marketing, with brands choosing to go the meme-way in their marketing efforts.
When creating memes, remember to never take yourself too seriously and always piggyback on the latest social media trends. If a famous celebrity has been in the news for a hilarious reason, use them as the background to get your point across.
Memes are short, spunky, savage, and super-effective. Just like this one by Mexican beer manufacturer Dos Equis.
- Go short with social
Short form content and social media posts are synonymous with each other. With average attention spans reducing and people’s desires for bite-sized content increasing, short social media posts are highly-lucrative for brands and writers alike.
A lot of research has been conducted to know what the ideal post length is on social media. Based on collective evidence by various parties, here are the results for average word count on social media platforms:
- Facebook – 80-120 words
- Instagram – 30-40 characters
- Pinterest – 150-300 words
- Twitter – 70-100 characters
Take this Twitter post by the Tata Group for example. It’s short, simple, and makes use of really nice hashtags to get noticed by leads.
Walmart’s Facebook post is another great example of how brands can create amazing bite-sized content with a combination of words and visuals.
- Create beautiful infographics
Studies show that colored visuals increase a person’s desire to read by 80%. Infographics with their bold colors, funky designs, and engaging symbols have all the elements necessary to make short content quirky and exciting.
It’s also been observed that while 70% readers understand labels and texts, a whopping 95% understand the focus of a post by its images. This makes infographics extremely useful and highly-impactful. This infographic by USC Marshall is a great example of a brilliant infographic. Follow the source for the complete infographic.
If you’re planning to write about a topic that’s dull and dry, choose to create a colorful infographic in place of a wordy content. This will draw leads in like fish to water.
Nisha Prakash is a blogger specializing in social media marketing and content management. She is an avid runner and a bibliophile.