Short Vs. Long Form Content – A Guide for Content Writers
Most content writers and publishers have heard that any article or piece of content under, say, 2,000 words is a waste of time. It won't generate the traffic you want, it won't rank high in search engines, and it will have a low conversion rate. Therefore, all content should be long, detailed, and informative.
My goal here is to dissect this preconception and examine the merits and drawbacks of different types of content. Once we understand the individual strengths of both long and short-form content, we'll discover that they are both powerful tools in the world of professional content writing.
But first, let's take a moment to define long and short-form content.
Long-Form Content: The Basics
The exact dimensions of long-form content vary from source to source. But in general, we can pin the long-form name to any content over 1,000 to 1,500 words.
What you do with those 1,000 plus words is up to you. Long-form content could be an informative piece describing a product or place. It could be an interview. It could be a story. Or it can take any number of other forms. For example, our post discussing the merits of working with a professional writing service is long-form content.
Regardless of the subject, long-form content should be designed to be engaging, educational, valuable, or all three. After all, we want to offer enough information and appeal for our readers to wade through all that content!
Short-Form Content: The Basics
As you no doubt guessed, short-form content typically refers to any piece of digital content under about 1,000 words.
Whereas long-form content is deep and informative, short-form content is more skimmable, easy to digest, and quick to read. Think social media posts, email campaigns, trim blog posts, and graphics-heavy publications. In this case, our 'Why I Write' blog series is short-form content – quick and easy stories.
Now that we know the difference between short and long-form content let's take a look at their strengths and in what circumstances they're appropriate.
Long-Form Content Strengths
Long-form content is your heavy haymaker swing for digital marketing. It typically attracts more readers, get's better search engine rankings, and results in more conversions for your brand.
All these benefits assume you put in the work. This means proper SEO research, in-depth subject research to make your article as informative and useful as possible, and plenty of polishing and editing to make sure the article is easy and fun to read. This extra work and effort encapsulate the drawbacks to long-form content – it simply takes a lot more time and energy to produce.
Put in this effort, and you'll reap the benefits. In short, you can expect:
More backlinking to your content – which also improves your search engine rankings
Short-Form Content Strengths
While short-form content won't do much to boost your site's overall search engine presence, it can still play a pivotal role in your digital content.
Staying with our boxing analogy – where long-form content is the heavy haymaker – your short-form content represents the quick jabs to soften up your audience. Have a piece of news you want to send out to your readers? Short 250-500 word social or blog post. It takes almost no time, minimal editing, and maybe one picture. Boom, done.
And there's its strength. Short-form content takes minimal time and effort but still transmits easy-to-digest information out to your readers. It's the quick connection for news, company updates, and straightforward information that doesn't tax your time and energy.
While it may be tempting to utilize short-form content all the time for these reasons, remember that it adds minimal value to your site's rankings. It also tends to have significantly lower conversions and backlinking.
However, short-form content can still be an essential asset to your digital marketing strategy despite these drawbacks. It offers:
An easy method to transmit information
Minimal time and effort required to produce content
Easier for your audience to read or skim
Putting it Together
As with most aspects of professional content writing, your content length is all about balance.
Too much long-form content and your website will be full of very dense topics and articles that may turn off some readers. Additionally, every piece of content on your website will take a lot of time and effort to produce.
Conversely, too much short-form content will prevent your website from improving its search engine rankings. It will also limit backlinking and cause you to miss out on essential conversions.
Therefore, I recommend a healthy mix – tempered by your long-term marketing plans for your website. Think about what you want your website to grow into and the niche you want it to occupy. This information will play a huge role as you find the right balance between short and long-form content.
As you craft your digital content plan, always remember that our team at BestDraft LLC. is composed of professional content writers who are more than happy to tackle both short and long-form content. Simply contact us, and we'll work with you from brainstorming to publishing to make sure you have the absolute best content possible.