With the growth of e-commerce and social media marketing, content development has become more versatile and is in high demand. There is, undoubtedly, a great need for a wide range of content beyond blog posts and articles. This is due to the emergence of new-age content formats like videos, vlogs, social media posts, stories, reels, audio posts, and the like.
Such a constantly evolving content landscape has created a demand for skilled content developers who can create engaging and informative content for brands worldwide.
But a popular question that frequently pops up in a content creator’s mind is regarding the format and length of such content. The crux lies in choosing between long-form & short-form content.
Let us answer this question for you as you do your research and sit to generate content for your website.
What is Long-Form Content?
It is typically longer and provides more in-depth information on a particular topic. Long-form content examples are:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Case studies
- Long-form videos
Long-form content is typically used to provide a comprehensive overview of a subject and can be used to educate, inform, or persuade an audience. It’s often used to showcase expertise, build trust, and establish authority on a topic. It can also be used to tell a story or to provide a detailed analysis of a particular subject.
The length of long-form content can vary, but it’s typically over 1,500 words. Some long-form content can be as long as 20,000 words or more.
What is Short Form Content?
It is typically shorter in length and attempts to summarise a particular topic. Short-form content examples are:
- Social media posts
- News Headlines
- Short videos
Short-form content is typically used to provide a quick overview or update on a subject and can be used to entertain, inform, or engage an audience. It’s often used to capture attention and generate interest in a topic and can be used to promote or summarise longer-form content.
The length of short-form content is considered to be under 1,500 words. Some short-form content can be as short as a single sentence or image.
Short-form content is often favoured by platforms such as social media, where users are bombarded with a lot of information and have a short attention span. It’s also a great way to provide quick and easy access to information and can be a great way to get a message across in a simple and to-the-point manner.
Long Form Vs. Short Form
When choosing between long-form and short-form content for your website, consider the following factors:
Who is your target audience, and what are their preferences for consuming content? Research your audience’s interests, pain points, and preferred formats.
What is the purpose of your website, and what type of content best aligns with that purpose? For example, if your website is focused on educating customers about your products or services, long-form content writing may be more appropriate. Another example, social media platforms may favour shorter, more visually appealing content.
What is the subject matter and how much detail is necessary to effectively convey the information? This will easily help you decide if briefing about the topic requires more content or if it can be wrapped up in fewer words.
Long-form content is more SEO friendly as it typically offers more opportunities for keywords and can help to boost search engine rankings. The goal of a long-form content SEO strategy is to establish the website as a credible and authoritative source of information on a particular topic. However, the goal of a short-form content SEO strategy is to increase website traffic and engagement through social media shares and other forms of viral content.
Consider the resources you have available for creating content. Long-form content requires more time and effort to produce, whereas short-form content can be created more quickly.
Mix it up
Consider a mix of both long and short-form content. Long-form content can be used for in-depth information, to narrate a story or to establish authority in a specific niche. In contrast, short-form content can be used for quick updates, summarising key information, and creating engagement.
Ultimately, the decision should be based on what will effectively communicate the information, reach your target audience, and align with your website’s purpose and goals.
Importance of the Length of the Content
The length of content can matter depending on the context and purpose of the content.
Usually well written long-form content captures more detail and more number of long-tailed keywords. As a result they end up ranking higher when compared to shorter forms of content on the same topic.
In-depth content which meets the search intent of several search topics usually gets sited as a reference and gets more links organically over a period of time.
The same can be found in the graph generated by Ahrefs which depicts the correlation between word count and referring domains.
Image source: https://ahrefs.com/blog/blog-post-length/
Long pieces of content can be more effective in providing in-depth information, analysis, and storytelling. It’s often used to showcase expertise, build trust, and establish authority on a topic.
Long-form content is a great way to provide comprehensive information on a subject and can be more engaging for readers who are looking for more detailed information. The foundation of your SEO strategy is also frequently dependent on long-form content, with a focus on quality content.
For long-form content, it needs to be structured in an organized manner with a table of contents so that the audience can navigate through it via multiple reads. It is also a wise idea to break them down into short paragraphs of 1-3 sentences depending on how long they are and the complexity of the sentence.
A set of well-structured SEO content will have a significant impact on the website and help generate traffic and leads.
On the other hand, short-form content may be more effective in capturing attention and conveying a message quickly and efficiently. Short-form content such as social media posts, headlines, and infographics can effectively generate interest, provide quick updates or summarise key information. They may also accompany a video on a specific webpage to summarise the video in a few sentences.
In conclusion, the ideal length of content depends on the purpose and audience. It’s important to consider the context and goals of the content when determining its length. It’s also important to ensure that the content is engaging and provides value to the audience, regardless of the length.
About the author
Shantanu is the SEO expert and founder of Page Potato, a SEO agency in Melbourne. He helps small and medium sized businesses with lead generation solutions tailor-made for their specific business needs. Beyond work, Shantanu also loves trying new recipes and spending evenings with cat, Smokey and kitten, Iris.