Marketers are spending an increasing amount of time creating content. and there is an ongoing debate over short vs long content. According to a study by Seismic and Gatepoint Research, just one in five B2B marketers are satisfied with their content management. The primary obstacles to success appear to be requests for updated collateral and content (that sales personnel don’t actually use) and an inability to track the success of content.
Content is important, that goes without saying. But when considering how to get your marketing message across, should your content be short or long? The competition to produce compelling content is getting stiffer. Marketers are producing reams of the stuff. Where do you sit in the short vs long content debate and how do you get yours to stand out?
Personalized messaging and marketing automation means your communications can get to the right people at the right time. Isn’t it time to up your content marketing game to make the most of your data and systems?
Up Your Content Marketing Game
So, you want to improve your content. The question is, do you go short or long? Which, if either, is better? Neither format is necessarily better than the other.
Marketers should choose which to use based on each campaign, specific situations, or particular objectives. It’s helpful to try to understand which gets the most interactions, builds the best relationships, and gets the most shares or backlinks?
Short and Sweet
Let’s consider short form content. Utilising short form content allows you to crank out more content more regularly. With this approach, you can keep your audience engaged with snippets and easy to digest information.
Short form content is also ideal for the mobile world. Today’s Internet users are an impatient bunch. They want the very best CX; content needs to be concise and relevant and available on mobile devices. Many prefer to read shorter posts and such content can really help a business connect and engage with its audience.
The Nemo Factor – we might not like to admit it but we have a lot in common with goldfish. Our average attention span is about eight seconds. 38% of readers don’t get past the first paragraph when reading online content and this is where short form content comes into its own. Brief and concise content enables brands to deliver strong messages quickly and effectively.
Now might be a good time to point out that you’ve read 398 words so far …
The Long Game
Longer pieces of content provide high value to your audience. Posts of 1000 words or more and intensive content such as client stories or white papers, that can be downloaded as PDFs, give intensive value to prospects and customers alike. You can even gate these downloads to capture email address and build your database. This approach is particularly useful in getting explicit consent to market in the light of the impending UK Data Protection Bill.
Customer experience (CX) is paramount. Slapdash content hidden behind pushy forms or pop-ups, leads to a frustrating customer brand loyalty and a poor reputation. Remember your customers aren’t just one-off customers. In this age of immediacy and social media, they are brand advocates and hold your reputation in their hands.
Longer content can be readily repurposed into other formats. Social posts, infographics, videos, and podcasts can all stem from white papers or longer than average posts. Consequently, your content becomes evergreen and has better longevity. What is more, this reduces the amount of time and resource spent on content creation and results in your content being seen by a wider and more diverse audience over a longer period.
So, with long form content you can develop your topics more deeply and build more search authority. Also experience better SEO results.
Just so you know, you’ve now read 632 words …
Long vs Short; The Battle Continues
The pros of short form content
- It takes less time to write
- Readers can absorb it quickly
- An entire post can be devoted to one keyword for better SEO
- You have more to share on social media and your website
- It is more mobile friendly
- It doesn’t cost as much to outsource
The cons of short form content
- It doesn’t allow for much detail
- You typically need to post something new daily
- It’s not attractive for backlinking
- It might not rank as high on Google
The pros of long form content
- You can use more keywords within the content to improve organic search rankings
- You appear as more authoritative
- You’re more likely to obtain backlinks
- Readers stay engaged longer
- You can provide more coverage
- Content is perceived as more valuable
- You enjoy greater credibility
The cons of long form content
- It’s harder to write, edit, and prepare
- It takes more time to write
- It costs more to outsource
- It may challenge your readers’ attention span
Top Tips for Compelling Content
Content is important but it’s context that really matters. It’s not just what you are saying but how this fits into the wider picture. When writing content, consider the following:
- Make it helpful, interesting, and useful to your target audience. Ensure it meets their needs.
- Ensure it fits with your strategic marketing goals and activities. Does it help build brand loyalty, improve the customer experience, and align with wider marketing objectives?
- Is it unique enough to stand out above the competition?
If you are using these three criteria for developing your compelling content, does the length of content matter? Arguably not. Instead, why not focus on fulfilling these goals and letting that drive the length of content?
Earlier in this post we asked the question ‘Should your Marketing Content be Short or Long?’. The real answer depends on your objectives and will be different for each campaign, brand, and company.
What is clear is that your content should be long enough to give a unique and helpful perspective to your target audience and to fulfil your strategic marketing goals. That’s it. Whether that means it is 400 words or over 1,000 we’ll leave that up to you!
P.S. In case you’re wondering, this blog post is 1,095 words 😊