Long-form vs Short-form Content

Long-form vs Short-form Content: Which One to Use?

November 02, 2021

You will be able to address important points such as the length and type of content you should publish based on this information. Using tools such as Surfer, you can also determine the ideal length of your posts based on the length of the top-ranking posts for similar keywords. The debate over short-form and long-form content are one of the most significant dilemmas for content creators.

Credibility and search engine rankings are highly dependent on long-form content. Short form content, on the other hand, might seem like a better option due to audiences’ dwindling attention spans.

Marketing/entrepreneurs spend a lot of time planning, writing, and publishing content to grow audiences, drive new prospects into their company pipeline, and build subscribers. However, the buying cycle is becoming more complex with decision-makers having less time to read through massive amounts of content. For many buyers and subscribers, the rising volume of marketing messages is not empowering-it is overwhelming.

This leads many people to believe that short content wins in the engagement competition, but it’s more complex than that. Depending on your intended audience, the length of your content should be determined by the level of interest, education, and value it brings. Consumers who are proactively investigating potential purchases and services are looking for answers to their questions. It’s a constant question we ask ourselves as content creators: “How long should our content be?” The short answer: Long enough.

In the end, you’ll need to create both short-form and long-form content to engage your audiences. The benefits of each are different.

Having said that, neither of these strategies will help your company (or the reader) if they aren’t planned and executed properly or if they feel like they are wasting a reader’s time. To earn and re-earn customer loyalty, a brand must stay relentlessly relevant throughout the buying journey.

Below is a brief explanation of when to use short-form vs long-form and the reasons for doing so.

Long-Form Content
Long-Form Content

Short-Form Content 

A short-form article is one that is relatively short, can be consumed in a few minutes, and is generally fewer than 200 words. In addition to providing readers with information about your company, products, and services, it helps build trust between them. Status updates, tweets, event reminders, short videos, infographics, blog posts, and “bite-sized” e-books are all examples.

It is best to have a single idea that explains stories quickly while keeping it simple and memorable. When your content is good, you do not have to have a larger story since audiences often only need a few elements and their brain will be able to fill in the story-making gaps on its own.

Creating short-form content is easy and inexpensive, but the downside is that audiences don’t need to invest a lot of time or energy into it. A HubSpot study demonstrated that blogs that publish more frequently tend to get more traffic, which can drive engagement and clicks, but they may also be short-lived with a high turnover rate.

Short-Form Content 
Short-Form Content

Long-Form Content

A longer piece of content is generally regarded as more trustworthy and authoritative. Audiences who are highly invested in your company seek comprehensive, in-depth content that covers everything they need to know about it.

The term “long-form content” refers to any content longer than 1,000 words. Why should you use long-form content in your content marketing strategies? As a result of research by BuzzSumo, long-form content gets more shares, which indicates that people find value in well-researched articles packed with insights.

Long-form content is essential for content entrepreneurs who have embraced inbound marketing. A white paper, webinar, or comprehensive e-book offers more insight and can help to develop long-term customer relationships. Content of this type is often used in the early stages of a marketing cycle when the audience is not familiar with the company’s products or services.

In addition to case studies and executive summaries, buyers can use them to benchmark their own experiences against others’. Content of this type offers examples of challenges customers have faced, explains solutions, and helps those seeking to purchase to see and learn from an experience similar to their own.

Creating long-form content requires more research, planning, and forethought, so make sure it is justified. An “ultimate guide to” is unnecessary when a simple summary or infographic will communicate the same message.

In addition, big chunks of text can be distracting. Where possible, the bulleted text should be used to break up long sentences. Include images, infographics, and embedded videos. Make it easy to digest and include actionable tips that generate value. Your customers will appreciate it!

Backed by Science

Are you having trouble deciding whether to produce, optimize, and distribute short or long-form meaningful content? Each type of content has its merits, but just choosing one is not enough. You won’t be as effective in making decisions based on pure instinct as you will if you use data-backed evidence.

Think “smart-form” content — which relies on using the right data and insights about your audience to inform editorial strategies. Utilizing data and research, you can go beyond “just what’s trending” and get data-driven insight into how an audience or segment talks about any subject area. By using it, the right topics can be discovered and opportunities presented to create audience-driven, contextually relevant content. Companies that listen to and then analyze their unstructured data (pictures, videos, and text) can create personalized content that resonates with their customers, connecting their content strategy with the customer experience.

The Long and Short of It

The benefits of using a combination of the two are the most beneficial. You should use short-form content to promote your long-form content while focusing on building your foundation for long-form content. Long-form content requires critical thinking intended to educate and inform, while short-form content helps engage and connect with your audience.

However, don’t expect it to be easy or quick. Content that is smart-form takes time to customize, test, and optimize, but you will be better able to serve visitors by answering their questions and delivering more meaningful connections with authentic and compelling content that offers multiple benefits for both your business and your customers.

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