Have you noticed that content marketing is currently trending toward long-form content? By that, I mean the following types of content:
- 2,000-word plus blog posts
- White papers
- Books and e-books
- Long articles, such as what you’ll find at Medium and Longreads
The question is, why is online current trending toward the long form?
Marketers Destroyed the Short Form
The Search Engine Journal recently ran a blog post that tells readers why long-form content can benefit their businesses. I encourage you to read it, but to fully understand why we’ve come to the place where everyone is trending toward the long form, it’s important to understand what happened to the short form.
In 2011, most blog marketers were encouraging their clients to post frequently with short-form content. They were saying to post 3-5 times a week, or more, with posts in the range of 300-500 words. Then, everyone started doing it. But a lot of those posts were really bad posts, even spammy. By 2012, top bloggers were saying to write longer posts less often. What changed?
There are a couple of things that changed that caused professional bloggers to realize that short blog posts every day is not necessarily the best marketing strategy.
- Most bloggers writing short-form content were doing a poor job of it. One reason is because content mills were churning out low-quality content at bargain basement discount prices, and it ruined the search results. Google responded with a few algorithmic changes designed to knock those content pieces out of the search results. It worked.
- Another thing that happened is online marketers realized that steady audience-focused promotion was more important than churning out endless content.
So, bloggers began to plan their content marketing strategies more effectively. They started writing fewer posts with greater depth. The long-form blog post was born.
Short-Form Content Still Isn’t Dead
If you read blogs like Kissmetrics and Quicksprout, they routinely publish long blog posts. In fact, Neil Patel at Quicksprout conducted a study of his own blogging habits and discovered that long-form blog posts performed better overall. However, he also says that long-form blogging is not the only way. You can still be effective with short-form blog posts. The key is not in how long your blog posts are, but in how effective they are.
An effective blog content strategy includes the following characteristics:
- Posting frequency
- Content substance
- Writer style
- Blog post formatting (subheads, images, etc.)
- Audience engagement
- Diversity of media (video, images, infographics, slide shows, etc.)
Essentially, long-form content is in because it’s the current trend. People writing long-form content just because that’s what everyone else is doing is likely to fall into the same trap as those bloggers who wrote short-form content too often a few years ago. Just write for your audience.