Long blog posts, articles, and emails, or short?

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How long should an article or blog post be? Right, long enough to say what you have to say. If you can communicate your information or message in three well written paragraphs, great. That’s what it should be. If you need 2500 words to get the job done, that’s what you should do.

But there are other considerations.

It is well known that long blog posts (articles), I’m talking 2000 words, or more, tend to get more search engine traffic and incoming links. Longer posts tend to be perceived as authoritative and rank well with search engines and human beings (social media sharing).

On the other hand, the objective isn’t just traffic. It’s clients and sign-ups for your email list. To accomplish that, visitors have to read your content and see how smart you are and what you have to offer. If your content is long, they may save it “for later”. I don’t know about you but I’ve got gigabytes of saved articles (and pdfs) that I’ll probably never get around to reading.

Also, if you write to your email list frequently, as I suggest you do, you may overwhelm them with too much content. They either won’t read it or they will unsubscribe from your list.

How frequently you post or write, and how long individual posts should be, does depend on context. Are you writing for consumers or business people? If you’re writing to professionals and providing valuable and relevant content, they will probably make the effort to stay with you. Consumers may not, but if are writing about the very problem that currently plagues them they’ll read every word.

So, the answer to the question of “long or short” is a very lawyer-like, “it depends”. The best course is to have a mix of both.

Write longer, authoritative articles and posts for search engine traffic and to address issues prospective clients want to know about. Write shorter posts to engage your readers and allow you to contact them more frequently.

One thing you can do with longer material is to break it up into segments. Three 700 word posts instead of one with 2000 words. In addition to giving readers the impression that there’s not “too much to read so I’ll save it for later,” it gives search engines three opportunities to find you. (Make sure each of the three parts is optimized for different keywords).

So, this post is around 400 words. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

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