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Short Form Content vs. Long Form Content – Which is Better?

Short Form Content vs. Long Form Content – Which is Better? post images

Written By : Georgia Gregory

Posted 25/11/2022

Deciding on the right word count for your content can often feel like an impossible challenge. Should you go into essay-like detail or keep it short and sweet?

When it comes to content, there are many formats to choose from. Our guide on the different types of content marketing will give you a better idea of what you should be including in your strategy. But another consideration is content length, and whether you want your content to be fully comprehensive or easily digestible. 

So which is better? Short-length copy that’s bitesize and perfect for a quick read? Or longer-length copy that’s great for people to get their teeth stuck into. Hint: there’s no right answer! 

Both short-form content and long-form content have their benefits, and deciding on the right one to use can help you engage effectively with your target audience. Here we deep dive into the pros and cons of each, and how to incorporate various content pieces into your digital marketing plan.

What are short and long content formats?

Length-wise, long-form content is typically anywhere between 1,000 and 7,500 words. Whereas shorter content pieces are usually 1,000 word or under. 

Types of Long-form Content

  • Long-form articles 
  • Guides (such as ‘how-to’ guides and ‘ultimate’ guides)
  • Whitepapers
  • Research reports
  • Industry reports 
  • Case studies 
  • eBooks 
  • Tutorials 

Types of Short-form Content

  • Blogs
  • Short articles 
  • News articles 
  • Social media posts (such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) 
  • Email newsletters  

The purpose of having shorter content is to engage with your audience quickly, giving time-poor individuals a quick and easy way to access information. While longer content pieces are there for those who have time to get deeper into a topic or subject.

Why short-form content rocks 

Deciding between short or long content will depend on a lot of things, including user intent. This is about understanding why someone is searching for something, and what they want to gain from their search.

Benefits of short-form content:

  • It’s easier to read and demands less time/effort from your audience
  • Connect with time-poor readers or those with a short attention span
  • Shorter pieces are easier to plan and have a faster turnaround time
  • You can save on resource (content teams can get more shorts blogs done in one day)
  • This content is ideal for getting a single message across quickly 

With short blogs and articles, your team will be able to generate content more frequently, keeping your website up to date for search engines (Google loves fresh content). This type of content can also be very reactive (such as news articles or short blogs discussing current issues), meaning you can create things on-demand and jump on trends pretty much instantly. 

However, short copy doesn’t provide as much information and may not be as valuable to the reader as long copy. This is where longer articles, guides, case studies and eBooks come in…

Why long-form content is awesome too

There’s actually a lot of talk about how businesses should be investing more time and effort into longer content formats. You may have heard that long-form content can perform better than short blogs, giving readers more bang for their buck. So is this true? Well, yes. And no. 

Benefits of long-form content:

  • Longer articles can be more helpful to a reader, providing added value
  • Long content formats can produce higher search rankings
  • Things like case studies, whitepapers and eBooks tend to have longevity
  • It’s possible to target multiple key phrases in one piece
  • This is considered high-value content, which can be great for gated content marketing in B2B
  • You could attract more backlinks or social shares with high-quality, information-rich content
  • There’s a chance to establish yourself as an expert and trusted resource in certain topics

One of the best things about long length copy is that it can leave a lasting impression on your target audience. Usually, these readers are in the research phase or are looking to delve deeper into an area of interest. 

Plus, with something like an eBook, you can repurpose the content and turn it into lots of short blogs, or even posts for your social media pages – giving you a good way to save time and resource while still generating great content for your customers! But getting stuck into long-form copy isn’t for everyone.

For instance, you may find that this works much better for a B2B audience, where in-deep research is vital to decision-making. Furthermore, not everyone has time or patience to read lots of paragraphs, and may prefer bitesize blogs so they can fit it into their day. 

There can be a lot of planning involved with this type of content too. This removes the ability to be instantly reactive, and may be better suited to evergreen topics. 

How to do both types of content well

There’s simply no right answer when it comes to choosing between long and short-form content types. This is because it will differ from business to business, and there may be times when one or the other is more appropriate. It all depends on your content goal, the message(s) you are trying to get across, and the search intent of your audience. 

We usually recommend combining different types of content in your content strategy to ensure all bases are covered. It’s also worth testing the performance of content to see what works best for you.

The key is to consider the context at all times. Some questions you should be asking during the planning phase include:

  1. How much does my audience know (and how much more will they need to know on this subject?)
  2. Does my audience have a high level of interest in this topic?
  3. What keywords do we want to optimise?
  4. What is the user intent? Why are people searching? What do they want to achieve?
  5. What is my overarching goal for this content? 
  6. How do I see this content being used in the future (if at all)? 
  7. What time/resource is available for conceptualisation, planning and production?

By asking these questions, you can decide on which type of content best suits the project at hand. If you don’t have the resource or expertise in-house for content production, working with a digital marketing and content agency can help – particularly with long-form articles, guides and case studies which require extensive planning. 

If you want to work with digital marketing and content marketing experts, get in touch with our friendly team for a chat.

At Identify Digital, we’re passionate about helping small businesses improve their online presence and accelerate their journey to transformation.

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