In the world of digital business there has been a growing push for long-form content, and I do understand the social media, authority, SEO reasons why people are swinging this way. But here is a piece of not-so-long form content, from a content writer, giving you my nutshell reasons why you should instead offer readers what I think of as ‘smart-form content’.
- Not every thought you want to share justifies 2000-4000 words. Really. If you cannot explain a simple concept or a piece of news in 600 words, then you haven’t yet mastered how to speak to your audience.
- Of course, complex topics require more explanation, background, and discussion of any research that proves a point. So when the need arises, invest well in your topic, and deliver as much information as it warrants. However, if you find that you are rehashing points already covered in order to reach a word count or taking a tangent away from your main topic, then you are wasting your, and your readers’, time.
- If you are creating a report, case study, short ebook, then of course detail is important. These are documents that people will put time aside to read, digest, comment on, and share when appropriate.
- Are you writing for the search engines or for your readers? If the reasons you are writing long form content or requesting this from your writer is for SEO, then consider one of the key indicators that the search engines look for when assessing the merits of your content: engagement. If you have created a long-winded article that your readers abandon part way through, I fail to see how this is good SEO.
- Smart aggregation: We all know that if you do a search for a particular topic you will likely get a lot of similar results returned. Unless you have something unique to contribute to the discussion, why not take a different approach: Write an intro, briefly summarise what others have written on the topic – a type of aggregation – add your opinion/view, and then an outro. Don’t just rehash what’s already out there just for the sake of putting out long form content, but instead give your readers easy access to a variety of opinions, including yours. The aggregated content will attest to your industry knowledge and provide a broad perspective, without the need for the reader to plough through different versions of similar content – and chances are they won’t need to look any further.
Giving your readers light and shade in your blog posts will keep them engaged. They will learn that if you write at length on a topic, then that topic warranted it. And if you are sharing a tip, advice, or recommendation in a short post, then they will appreciate your brevity.
How Do You Gain This Flexibility With Your Content Writer?
I have quite a few clients retaining me on a minimum word count for content, say 8 x 800 word articles per month. If, in the course of research, I find a topic requires say 2000 words, then I invoice them for the difference each month. They recognise and acknowledge my over 11 years in this business (and my dislike of padding content in order to reach a word count), so this approach works well for us all.
They get smart-form content, and I don’t have to waste time looking for more ways to say the same thing! Now that’s a Win/Win in anyone’s book. I invite you to contact me to discuss your written content requirements today.