When it comes to trends in marketing, nothing remains the same for long. For example, as content marketing and blogging became more and more popular, there were varying schools of thought respecting the length and size of blog posts and content. Some people speculated that long blog posts were ineffective because readers did not have the time to read so much content, so blog posts should be short. Others surmised that videos over 3 minutes were too long, so they should always be kept below that time. Industry experts, however, have maintained that long content blog posts are better in comparison to short content posts.
What is true, though, is that both the long and short versions are workable. For instance, posts written by Seth Godin are 200 words on average while posts on the Social Media Examiner average 1500 words. Despite the disparity in blog post content length, both websites are very successful.
When you consider all the changes that are taking place in content marketing now and look at its future, you may conclude that blogs which contain longer posts will become even more relevant as time goes by. Consider 5 reasons below as to why this is so:
Big Weapons are Favored by the Content Arms Race
After writing on the topic of the “content arms race” a little over 12 months ago, I have seen where many large and small industries and companies have begun competing against each other by saturating their niche markets with vast amounts of content. The one thing that differentiates the average new eBooks, videos, and articles from the extraordinary ones that these companies produce is quality. In addition to longer post content being seen as of a better quality, it is generally believed that the longer the content is the deeper the writer can delve into the subject at hand.
Consider this: Would you prefer having 100 missiles or 100 grenades in your arsenal of weapons if you were literally in an arms race? The answer is as obvious as daylight – the bigger the weapons, the better!
The Focal Point of Return on Investment (ROI)
Over time, marketers have come to realize that larger quality content impacts dramatically on consumers and their potential clients. This is as a result of their gaining a better understanding as to how powerful content as a sales tool is. For example, take a look at the eBook called The Sales Lion. Many people say that this 250-page eBook is too long and will turn off the majority of readers. The interesting thing is that is the intention of the author. It is written specifically for companies that are determined to have a dominant online presence using content marketing. With that goal in mind, such companies will dedicate the time needed to learn the strategies presented in the eBook.
My clients are required to read the eBook, making it my best single filter, qualifier, and sales tool. The filtering that it provides enables me to work with the best companies at all times. I am sure you will agree with me that this is precisely what businesses want.
Visual Capability Increase
One presently accepted fact is that articles are more likely to attract attention and improve readership whenever there exists a high level of visual components. Reflecting on the Social Media Examiner(SME) mentioned earlier, in addition to averaging 1500 words per post, they have roughly 5 posts and/or videos in each article.This additional SME editorial rule is beneficial for content writers since it allows textual and visual learners to see information in the manner that they prefer. The effectiveness of this approach is highlighted in the fact that SME enjoys a following of 200 thousand subscribers even though they are a little more than 3 years old.
When you think of it, short content posts prevent lots of videos and photos from being added to a post. A ratio of 1 main idea to 1 main image is the general rule of thumb for blog posts. You will see this practically demonstrated below the main ideas of this particular article. I decided to use that pattern after I guest posted on SME and realized how much of a great difference it made in the visual appeal of the article.
Google’s Panda and Penguin Like Large Content Blogs
Following Google’s 2012 Panda and Penguin algorithm update, the Internet has never been the same. Many companies that practiced black hat SEO tactics now had to face the music for their underhanded schemes with the advent of this new age of “content quality.”As the operations of search engines become more evident, you will realize that important factors relevant to the success of SEO include the amount of social shares a site receives and actual “time [spent] on [the] site.”
Let us consider an example. Let’s say Google had to choose between showing 2 articles whose keyword is the same. One article had readers who averaged 45 seconds on the page while readers of the other article averaged 4.5 minutes on the page. Which one would Google choose?
Even though “time on site” is only one factor that aids in calculating rankings on search engines, I am sure that you comprehend what I am saying.
It is Google’s objective to deliver useful and relevant content to its users. As such, longer content posts that have more substance have a greater chance of fulfilling Google’s goal. Of course, there will always be exceptions to their rule.
If you would like to learn more about Panda, Penguin, and what this will all lead to, watch the video below from Matt Cutts of Google:
Increased Social Shares for Longer Content Posts
I am sure that you have taken a quick glance at a very long post because you did not have the time to actually read it, and then shared it with your friends because you had a “feeling” that it was valuable. I have done it too. What happens here is that people think the author wasted no time creating a valuable article, making the possibility of them sharing it greater than they would if the article was smaller, even if the “quality” of both articles is the same.
It is interesting to note that my posts on The Sales Lion with more than 1200 words actually account for 90% of the majority of posts that are shared, all this despite the fact that roughly half of my articles contain no more than 1200 words. As much as I would like to believe that my shorter articles are just as good as the long ones, I cannot deny the fact that there is a direct link between social sharing and content length. Many bloggers and businesses are taking careful note of this fact.
Since search engines like Google have begun using social media as a constituent of their algorithm as alluded to in the 4th point above, which in my opinion is really foolish idea, a lot more companies will try various avenues to boost their search engine rankings, even utilizing social media to meet that objective from this point on.
Share Your Thoughts
As was previously stated, short content is not necessarily bad because there are important factors like results and quality that influence how well they fare in search engine rankings. In addition, a lot of industries that have a low content saturation index will do anything to boost their rankings. So, here are my questions to you: Would you agree that longer content blog posts are becoming the norm in content marketing? Can you think of any more reasons to add to the ones presented in this article? Please share your thoughts below.
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