One of my long-time clients asked me the other day, “Are Short Blog Posts Okay?” She wasn’t sure if it was even worth anything to post her short articles. And my quick response was, “Of course!” But then I remembered how many gurus recommend long posts. I see why she wasn’t sure about what she should post.
Why would you want to write short blog articles?
If you’re reading this when I’m first writing it, we’re right in the heart of virtual school due to the Covid virus. Business-owning moms are overwhelmed most of the time as a matter of course. Throwing virtual school into the mix means we have to shift around priorities. Blogging, or creating content of any kind feels a bazillion times harder than it already was.
But we don’t stop having something to say just because time is short. And our audience still needs more information, no matter how crazy it is at home. If you think about it, your audience needs to hear from you more than ever. New solutions are needed!
Even though I’m writing this during the Covid pandemic, my position is that no matter what the giant time sucking monster is (and there will ALWAYS be one), this information is valid.
Why do we think we need to write long articles?
Search engine rankings
We produce longer content because it appears that right now, search engines reward us for doing so. And search engines include more than just Google. You have Bing and Yahoo to consider, but also YouTube and Pinterest. It goes a bit like this: Search engines want to sell ads. If they reliably show the most relevant and complete results, more people will use their services. If more people use their search, then they get to sell more ads.
Longer content tends to be more complete, and contain more searchable data (words, images, etc.), and is often the more valuable content to show to searchers.
Content producers want to be found by more people, so they produce content that fits the search engines’ ideals.
The gurus tell us to create long-form content
Some marketers study the optimum length of content types and work to produce exact length matching content to improve their rankings in the search engines. Lately this has been in the neighborhood of 2000 words for blog posts, though it varies by researcher and sites researched. So they declare that all posts must be long posts and that’s it.
To make sure we cover as much as we can
Of course we want to be thorough, and the more we think about our topic, the more we have to write. We feel the need to cover everything.
Our mistaken belief that people want to read/consume a lot at one time
Although people do want comprehensive information, they don’t always want to have to consume it all at once. Actual humans like to skim and skip and pick out the bits of info that are most relevant to them in the moment.
How many times have you learned something new each time you re-read a book? We can’t help it, we retain what’s useful or helpful in the moment. So people don’t always need a book’s worth of content, even if a search engine prefers it. In fact, you can see the search engines catching on to this idea in the Google Quick Answers on their results pages.
Frankly, just too wordy!
And yes, it’s much harder to write or speak concisely, and much easier to ramble along toward your point. Editing is time-consuming and not easy to do well. Many times, we just take too long to get to the point! And yes, I include myself.
Short blog post (and other content) pros
Short content can be really valuable in many ways, even preferable for some media, like video. And if the alternative is to publish nothing, short content will always be the better choice.
Short content is:
- easy for an audience to consume,
- forces the creator to make their point quickly,
- takes less time to produce,
- and most of all, it’s less intimidating to create, which means it’s more likely to get done.
More important than content length
While content length might be important to search engines, additional factors are more important overall.
Speaking to the right audience
Directing your content to your audience is more important than post length. Knowing what your audience likes and needs and also knowing how they like to consume information will be more beneficial to your business than following search engine optimization tactics.
If your audience doesn’t like to read, 2000+ word blog posts won’t help you or your audience. And, if the search engines see that an audience isn’t clicking on your content, it will fall in search rankings.
You have to not only speak to your audience, but you really need to provide some kind of value as well. Otherwise, it’s not worth your time to produce. If you’re in the habit of giving lots of value and your audience knows it, the length of your content hardly matters.
Regularity & frequency
Both real people and search engines reward regular and frequent content production. And if a short blog post helps you achieve those, then a short blog post is definitely okay!
Strategies for content creation
Content creation isn’t always easy. But really, it’s not too hard. The hard part is the regular and frequent creation part!
And within your content creation plan, there’s definitely room for short blog posts. Sometimes though, even a short post feels impossible to create. Here are some strategies to help you out.
Keep a list of topics you want to write about
I keep a running list and update it frequently. It’s amazing how I have all these ideas, but then if I don’t write them down, I forget. I use a Google Docs spreadsheet, but you can use a notebook or planning software too.
I find the longer the list, the better. I’m excited to write about a topic when I write it down, but when I sit down to write, many of them don’t appeal to me in the moment. If I have a long list, at least one will be inspiring!
On this list, be sure to write down the questions you get from readers and clients. You know what they say – if one person is brave enough to ask the question, lots more want to know too!
Build up a Topic
If you really don’t have much time for content creation, stick with shorter blog posts or videos. You can break a large topic into bite sizes and publish a short post on each of those smaller sub-topics. Then, when you’ve exhausted the topic, consolidate the small posts into one large post. In this way, you can publish regularly, help your audience, and still have long-form articles on your website.
Create a little each day
Set aside a small amount of time each day to dedicate to content creation. I know that for me, it’s the only way I could ever get posts written. There will always be more urgent things that come up, and you’ll be tempted to put off content creation. But if you do a little work each day, you’ll be able to produce so much more than you realized was possible.
Don’t let your worries about not being able to write 2000 word posts stop you from publishing content. Go right ahead and publish that short blog post and feel good about it.