Should You Actually Write Shorter Content? - Carney
The Daily Carnage

Should You Actually Write Shorter Content?

There’s plenty of evidence out there that shows that longer content performs better. But, does it actually? Maybe not…

We’re always preaching about the importance of long-form content. There’s plenty of evidence out there that shows that longer content performs better. But, does it actually? Maybe not…

In the spirit of being unbiased, we’re serving up a counterpoint to the long-form content argument today.

Digital Marketing Strategist, Ronell Smith, says to forget about always trying to write a 1,700-word blog post. Rather, “The length of your online content should initially be determined by the needs of the audience members you expect to consume the information.” Sage advice right there.

He also developed a framework to help his content succeed, called the 3 I’s of Content Success. Notice that none of them have anything to do with length…

  1. Immediacy: Offer three takeaways readers can put to immediate use.
  2. Inspiration: Motivate readers to improve their careers or personal lives.
  3. Indispensability: Create content that readers would regret skipping.

If you can pull off all three of those in a 500-word blog post, do it.

The reason we all think longer content performs better is because the data is skewed by crappy short-form posts. The Head of BuzzSumo explains it like this:

“The average shares for long-form content are only higher because there is so much poor quality short-form content, and this drags the average for short-form content down,”

Still not convinced? IFLScience is a brand who absolutely dominates social and organic with short-form content. For example, this post is only 259 words long but it has over 49,000 shares. Their content follows a simple script that you can copy to try out for yourself:

  1. Imminently shareable (e.g., novel, counter-intuitive, entertaining, educational, informative, newsy, etc.)
  2. Focused on a single topic
  3. Contains an amazing graphic/visual
  4. Features an enticing headline

Basically, we all need to stop asking, “How long should my content be?” Instead, we should be asking, “What will a reader learn from this, and how can I exceed their expectations?”

We’ll leave you with a quote from Stone Temple Consulting’s Mark Traphagen:

“Content should be long enough to be helpful, meet marketing goals, and provide a unique take…and no longer.” [Tweet This]

Get the whole picture on short-form content →


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