Are you worried about the length of your content?
I hear this a lot.
“No one will read it”.
“Everyone has a short attention span these days”
“Just give the headlines, no one will read anything long”
Because the evidence says different.
There’s a place for all sorts of content, from short and punchy to long and insightful. Everyone consumes content differently and will of course have different preferences.
But for the purposes of marketing, showing thought leadership through longer form content can be highly effective. In fact, research and analysis of articles compiled by Medium showed the ideal blog post to take seven minutes to read and be around 1,600 words long.
Of course, churning out high quality content regularly at this level will take a lot of work and/or investment.
But don’t reject it entirely.
Then there’s no reason people won’t read it. And it will be the right audience, the engaged ones, who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. The question is, how do you keep the reader’s attention, all the way to the very end?
Here’s some hints and tips from someone who has written a lot of long articles for all sorts of different businesses and sectors.
- Have a strong structure. You know, a beginning, middle and an end. But also tell a story, so that they want to get to the end. So introduce the topic, give a hint of what the reader will learn and make sure there’s a strong and punchy conclusion to make it worth that investment of time.
- Do your research first so you know what’s on the mind of your audience, and that your content is needed. Ask your clients. Do a survey on LinkedIn. Search on Google.
- Use as many relevant and up to date interesting and insightful stats, quotes, stories and survey results that you can lay your hands on. Did you know, x % of people think y, is much more powerful than just giving your opinion, however well-informed.
- Break it up with headlines and subheadings and vary your content with bullets, boxes and stand out quotes.
- Leave white space in and around your paragraphs, to make it easier to scan or read on a mobile.
- Try to find a slightly different spin on a topic so you provoke the thoughts of the reader. Leave them seeing you as an authority and wanting to come back more of your content, so that they can be more knowledgeable and enlightened about the subject.
So don’t be scared of length.
Focus on the quality of the content.
Answer the questions your audience are asking.
And they’ll read to the end. Like you have.