It is extremely easy to write.
You can crank out a 500-word article under an hour.
You can write as many as you want in a day.
But the question is, does it still work?
I remember in the earlier days, 200-500 words article really worked. It ranked in Google and brought in targeted traffic.
Things have changed.
Short form content does not have much impact as it used to.
The painful thing is, most business owners and marketers have refused to change.
Come to think of it, it is difficult to create long form content.
Oh yes, I know.
Creating long form content is hard work. You will need a ton of research, statistics, images, texts, etc.
It takes hours to write it!.
But does it work?
Yes, it works!
Yet, many businesses are still creating 500-word articles that cannot sustain their business, but rather cut it short in the long run.
Am I saying short form content is not effective?. No, not at all.
In fact, according to Forbes, content writers should “write short, pitchy posts. After 750 words or sometimes after only half that – you risk losing your reader’s attention“.
Is this assertion true?
Attention spans of humans are decreasing. It is said that you have 8 seconds to capture the attention of your readers, after which you can lose them if you fail.
Are there writers or business owner who are making big impact writing short form content?
Yes, there are.
One of them is Seth Godin. He writes daily blog posts that are very short, usually between 57 -100 words.
Is Seth successful?
Yes, he is.
One of his posts titled “But what will I tell others” got re-tweeted 32 times and liked 50 times on Twitter. It had 199 likes on Google plus and Facebook and 206 shares on LinkedIn. The post also sits at the first page of the search result for the query “but what will I tell others“.
That is not a bad result for a short, but punchy content!
The truth is, you are not Seth Godin.
You are you!
So, the question now is, why will short form content cut short my business? Find the answers below:
1. Google is allergic to short form content (unless you have an authoritative domain)
Google loves content that is relevant and useful for their users. All their algorithm is built around this premise. This is why Google loves long-form content.
A research carried out by SerpIQ on content that ranked high in search engine results revealed that higher ranked blogs contain more content.
You can see in the graph above that content having 2,500 words ranked higher than content with fewer words.
Ranking high in a search engine result page is essential to any business success. Search engines bring in targeted traffic that you can convert to lead and customers in the long run. This is why you should not joke with quality content writing.
2. Visitors will not spend much time on your website (High bounce rate)
According to Google “Bounce rate is the percentage of visits on a single page (that means sessions), in which the user left your website on the landing page without interaction with the site”
When you have a bounce rate of 80 percent, it means that 80% of visitors who come to your blog viewed a single page after which they leave to somewhere else.
One of the factors that cause high bounce rate is short form content or thin content. When you create content that lacks sufficient information, your visitors will leave faster than when they came.
Whenever I research for facts, statistics and content for my articles, I love reading blog posts that have enough content to answer all my questions on a particular topic. It is not good to search for a particular information on 10 or more websites, simply because the articles are too short and they do not cover much about the topic.
For example, if I want to purchase a blender, I will look for a website where I can find a thorough and detail review on the type of blender I want to buy, not a 500-word post that is not fulfilling.
This is why most businesses lose customers.
If you have a comprehensive guide of your product on your blog, they will spend more time to look at it and read it. This will mean they can even check out your product and the price and decide to buy. They will stay longer and they can easily be converted to lead and customers.
A research carried out by medium revealed the ideal length of a blog post to be 1,600 words. The study focuses on the attention of readers i.e. how long do readers stick with an article? The ideal blog post would be a post that people reads. In this case, it is a post that takes seven minutes long as shown in the pic below.
3. Short form content receives less social engagement and backlinks
A large percentage of short form content do not receive as much engagement as the long form articles. Most people that read it, do not find it worthy of sharing with friends. A research carried out by Buzzsumo and Okdock on over 1 million articles revealed this fact. The analysis showed that short form content of fewer than 1000 words was shared 16 times, while long-form articles of 3,000 – 10,000 received 8859 shares.
HubSpot also carried out similar analysis on 6,192 articles and found out that 2000+ words got more social shares as shown in the pic below:
Also, the same research by HubSpot revealed that long form articles receive more backlinks.
What do shares and links have to do with your blog or business?
When people share your content on the social media, it makes it easier for your customers to find and connect with you. This will lead to an increase in customer retention and brand loyalty.
It generates higher converting leads. According to the state of social selling, nearly 75 percent of businesses that engaged in selling on social media reported an increase in sales within 12 months.
What about backlinks?
When you have backlinks (other websites linking to your blog), it improves your organic ranking on search engines. It makes it easier and faster for search bots to index your blog and lastly, it brings referral traffic with a low bounce rate to your blog.
So, you see where you are cutting short your business with short form content?
But you know, the fact still remains that it is difficult to create long form content.
Yes, it is.
Are there companies that are creating long form content and being successful at it?
Yes, there are.
Let’s look at a few examples below:
1. Quicksprout is Neil Patel’s blog, a top marketing guru. He analyzed 327 blog post on the blog and discovered that post of 1500+ got 293.5 tweets and 72.7 likes. Shorter articles generated 174.6 tweets and 59.3 likes.
2. The Pioneer woman, is a blog run by Ree Drummond. She writes long form posts of step by step directions for cooking different foods. She wrote 1,407 words and added 25 photos to a post on how to make delicious looking grilled tenderloin. This post generated 30,000 likes, 12,000 shares, 670 comments on Facebook and another 476 comments on her site.
Now that you know the disadvantages of creating short form content on your blog, how do you go about creating long form content?.
How to create long form content
1. Search for evergreen content ideas.
It is good for you to create content on topics that does not change often. To make it worthwhile, ensure that it is on a topic that is always relevant. This will help the content to keep generating traffic, shares and links overtime.
Evergreen contents include How-to guides and tutorials, resource lists, industry definitions, frequently asked questions and unchanging stances on industry issues.
2. Create it yourself or hire good writers
The next thing is to write the content. You have two options – write it by yourself or hire a writer to do it for you. If you choose to write it by yourself you will need to:
a. Do adequate research to gather facts, statistics etc
b. Create a structure for the article
c. Create a draft of the article
d. Edit the article and make it search engine friendly
e. Add photos and videos
f. Check your grammar and spelling
h. Publish the article
If you choose the second option, which is much easier and faster i.e. hiring good writers to create the content for you, you will need to provide a clear topic and outline for them. Some of my clients have given me outlines of the content they want me to create for them in time past. It makes my work easier and faster. But, if you don’t have the time, it can be done for you.
3. Add the necessary ingredient that will make it convert
Long-form content is good and it converts very well. To ensure that you get a good ROI from the content, add email sign up buttons, links to other content on your website, social sharing buttons for twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
4. Promote the content
Creating a long form content is half the battle, the remaining half is in promoting it. You need to create a concrete promotion strategy for it. You can send it to your email subscribers, promote it on your social media networks, use paid ads, etc.
There you have it! Stop creating short form content if you don’t want to cut short your business. Start creating long form content today and watch your business grow.
I will like to close with this quote from Neil Patel:
I know this is a hot topic and I will want to read your opinions about it in the comment section.