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How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?

 

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What is an ideal blog post length? Seriously, if I could make money every time this question was asked to me, I wouldn’t be running this shindig anymore. I would be chilling on a beach in Karabi, sipping Mai Tais while getting my cankles massaged till I achieved nirvana.

But I get it, it is such a valid question and it often does feel like size matters a lot, when it comes to content. So what is the perfect blog post length?

blog post length

Ideal Blog Post Length

My short answer to the question is : Well, however many words it takes for your message and your purpose of the post to be communicated to your audience.

My long answer though, well it is a bit long. Around 1200 words long to be precise.

But it begins with, it depends.

Yes, it depends on what do you want your blog post to do. Why are you creating this content and what do you want to accomplish by writing this blog post?

Before I get into the details of what that means, the first thing you need to understand is that there are typically 2 types of bloggers.

Two types of bloggers

Blogger A

A professional blogger. Their blog is their main source of income. Whether it is running ads, selling digital products through their website or running e-courses. The blog is at the core of their income strategy. The spend almost all of their time publishing new blog posts (upto 7 per week or even more), creating content or even hiring team members to create content for them. Blogging is the #1 way they get traffic, leads and sales.

Blogger B
Blogging for business. These are business owners who have a business outside of their blog. They work with clients 1:1, run group programs, have in-person or online masterminds or retreats. The blog works as a content marketing strategy for their business.

They are not necessarily blogging to generate traffic but the blog is at the centre of their content strategy to get new leads and clients.

As the online marketing world evolves there are definitely overlaps between these 2 types of bloggers and the same goes for their content strategy objectives.

The next question then is, what on earth are content strategy objectives? Simply put, it is what are you trying to accomplish by creating this content?

There can be a lot of objectives for your blog but I have narrowed it down to these 4 and also a short description of what they mean for your blog post lengths.

4 Types Of Content Strategy Objectives

Do you want more engagement on your content?

Then short form content might be your jam. If you are focused on generating discussion and get the readers’ involved in talking about your topics then keep the blog posts short and engaging. Anything between 600-800 words will do. This works really well if you are writing opinionated pieces where you take a stand on something and then invite your readers to pitch in with their thoughts and opinions. This works exceptionally well for Seth Godin whose posts are remarkably short yet get a lot of engagement. This post is just 102 words and yet has more than a 1000 likes on Facebook.

Caveat : Don’t generate controversy where none exists. Don’t be ranty for the sake of being ranty. It can totally backfire. Be genuine and authentic when trying to create engagement with thought leadership or “taking a stand” posts.

Do you want more social media shares aka do you want to go viral?

Then anything between 800-1500 is a good length to aim for.

It is the Goldilocks effect, it is short enough to read, digest and engage with but also long enough to use one of the 5 types of viral content. Many studies after analysing thousands and thousands of articles, have found these 5 types of content to gain more virality than others.

1) Lists. They work. Period. People love seeing organised content that is also scannable. Buzzfeed and upworthy have taken listicles to a whole new level. Their list posts are catchy, quirky and quite funny. For example this one has more than 24K shares on Facebook

2) How-to posts.

Teach people how to do something, anything and they love to share it. We humans love learning about new things and sharing what we have learnt. For example this post has more than 700k shares and it also shows that you can create viral content however unique your niche.

Ideal length of a blog post

3) Well researched posts

A post that goes deep into a specific topic especially the ones that challenge perceived perceptions tend to go viral even more. Share trends, warnings, top products/services in your industry and really hone into the details of it and you will have a highly share worthy post. This in-depth post about graphic design trends from Canva is epic in terms of its length and also full of valuable content. No wonder it has more than 19k shares on Pinterest.

4) Behind the scenes posts. These kind of posts capitalise on our human curiosity. Someone is successful, we want to know how they did it. Someone had a breakdown, we want to know what caused it. It’s just human nature.

These posts can be on the longer side but because usually they are being written in a story format, they are highly engaging and thus share worthy.

5) Celebrity posts

There is a reason why celebrity posts work. People can’t enough of celebrities and mostly we want to see if they are like us. So use that by creating an equivalence in your posts. Here’s an example

Caveat : Having viral worthy content is not enough. You have to add compelling headlines and make people feel smart when they read the posts. Because as Jonah Berger says in his amazing book Contagious, people love to share content that portrays them as smart in front of their family and friends. Don’t agree? How many times have you shared a pinterest tutorial for a hack that you never ever tried? Yeah, thought so.

Do you want to attract search engine traffic?

Go all the way then my friend. Search engines LOVE long form content more than anything in the world. Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms to rank quality content higher and one parameter that they use is definitely the length of the content.
The highest ranking articles on google have around 2,450 words, if you want to rank on google and attract droves of new readers to your website then this is probably the best length to stick to. These posts might not get a lot of comments or even shares but they will act as a traffic machine for your website. This post about why 3000+ words blog posts get more traffic has approximately as many words and shows the power of long form content since it has

Caveat : Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is kind of a rabbit hole so focusing too much on it can be really overwhelming and often a huge waste of time and money. Do SEO by all means but don’t make it the the sole objective of your content.

Do you want to sell products/services?

Now if you are a business owner who is blogging to promote their business, this is crucial for your content strategy objective. I teach my clients to align their content to their sales map and drive their launches with content. If selling is an objective for you, then length is not your main focus, it is the purpose of the blog post.

For example if you are launching an ebook about breakfast smoothies then a blog post about why smoothies make an epic breakfast with a content upgrade of 5 recipes would be your blog post. Your purpose is to encourage people to opt-in to your content upgrade and then trigger an autoresponder email series which motivates them to buy your ebook.

So the length of the blog post is irrelevant, it needs to be as long or as short as it takes to make the readers want to download that content upgrade or click that sales page.

So what should you do?

All this information is useless if you can’t use it in your business right?

So here’s my suggestion. Create a mix of long form and short form content and see the results. If you are blogging for business as opposed to blogging professionally then you have a zillion other to-dos apart from blogging consistently.

This is why I keep on insisting that you should choose a blog frequency that you can manage, not one you want to have. Because it’s more important to be consistent than creating interesting or epic content once in a blue moon.

So even if you choose to blog just twice a month then you can choose your objective for those two. Think about what your objective is whether it is search engine traffic, engagement, social media shares or sales and then tailor your content length accordingly.

Final Words

Writing is about inspiration as much as preparation so when inspiration hits you can write long or short but the important thing is to communicate your message and have fun with it!

Want to have more fun with your content planning? Join me in my content planning party where we will plan content for the rest of the year while having a blast! Click here to join : CONTENT PARTY

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4 Comments
  1. Jean Drummond says:

    Great post! Very informative and helpful. Thanks!

    1. Swapna says:

      You are welcome Jean! 🙂

  2. Hilke says:

    Swapna, this is fantastic! Thank you so much – you’re awesome with amazeballs sauce! x

    1. Swapna says:

      Thank you Hilke! <3

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Jumpstart Your Business With Content Marketing : Grab the DIY Content Strategy toolkit now!

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