Within the dynamic landscape of content creation, the long-standing debate over long-form vs. short-form content continues to influence strategies across platforms. Wading through the infinite stream of snappy tweets, quippy blog posts and attention-grabbing micro-videos, it’s easy to get swept up in the appeal of short-form content. But while the bite-sized morsels are undeniably attractive and trendy — and sometimes totally scrumptious — it’s essential not to overlook the power of short-form’s worthy counterpart: long-form content.
In fact, often long-form content proves to be a superior choice. Long-form articles, guides, scripts, books and other assets present opportunities to dive deep into topics, foster meaningful engagement, and showcase an organization’s industry leadership and expertise. With it, you offer your audience a more substantial, enriching experience with lasting impact.
Here we’ll explore how creating content within these two formats differs, including when and how long-form content can give you the competitive advantage in your market.
What is long-form content?
Written, long-form content typically exceeds an average word count of 1,000 to 1,200 but is shorter than 10,000 words. In any medium, long-form content can provide detailed, well-researched, in-depth analysis and insights on topics when the author or presenter aims to give the audience something more. Examples include:
- Detailed and lengthy blog posts.
- Evergreen informational pages.
- Gated premium content.
- Pillar pages.
- Guides and tutorials.
- Webinars and virtual events.
Long-form content is the gold standard when it comes to visibility on search engines and higher conversion rates.
What is short-form content?
Short-form content is brief and concise in nature. It’s typically written in fewer than 1,000 words. The goal of short-form content is to convey information quickly and effectively to capture the attention of the audience and encourage engagement. It can be more mobile-friendly and is particularly effective when used strategically on social media platforms. Short promotional blurbs are one great example. Others include:
- Short blog posts.
- Short videos.
- Standard-length news articles.
- Social content.
- Sales and marketing emails.
Short-form content certainly has its place in marketing, especially when it comes to storytelling, promotion, and brand awareness. Some markets or specific sects also may be a better fit for short-form content; think gaming, entertainment and news.
Long-form vs. short-form: Does the length of your content matter?
While the simple answer is yes, it warrants a closer look into the broader context. Focusing solely on short-form vs. long misses the point. Your decisions about content length should always align with your individual marketing objectives. Ultimately it should all drive you closer to your goals.
Content length should match the audience’s desired intent and engagement preferences. Use a content length and type that will win your audience. Long-form content generally performs well in SEO, but providing the right and “best” answer on a topic will be a better choice than merely focusing on length.
Why you should focus on long-form content
When it comes to longevity and versatility, long-form content is an excellent asset. It’s fuller, richer and more generous than “thinner” versions could possibly be. And it’s wise to understand the long-term benefits and value of rich vs. thin content as you develop your content marketing strategies.
Long-form content typically ranks better on search engines, assuming that the search query demands detailed results. You can use search intent to your advantage, understanding who is searching and what their exact intentions were. This type of content also typically ranks for a higher number of keywords due to covering more depth and breadth of a topic.
Long-form content typically earns more backlinks than shorter pieces of content. Building quality backlinks to your web pages can boost your site’s domain authority, SERP rankings and traffic and, in turn, generate more leads. Be selective about your backlinks, though. Poor-quality external links or irrelevant backlinks generally won’t help and may even hurt search rankings. Strategic use of high-quality links from credible websites will help develop trust. You’ll see increased traffic from both search engine bots and humans.
In the current digital era, where the competition is fierce, long-form content can make a significant difference in your content marketing strategy. Long-form content can help position you as a thought leader in your space and a strong voice in your industry. Your target audience will naturally see you as a market leader if you regularly produce written content that educates, informs, and helps them make good decisions.
The conversion rate of long-form content is typically higher than that of short-form, largely due to the attention given by a reader and the intent of their visit. When you provide comprehensive and insightful information, your readers perceive you as an authoritative source of knowledge. This can lead to increased engagement, social shares and ultimate conversions.
Once you have a piece of long-form content, it can be repurposed into various formats, giving you more bang for your buck. For example, an e-book can be broken down into several blog posts, infographics, podcasts or even videos. A 1,200-word article can be summarized and repurposed into infographic posts across social media. This process not only saves time and resources in content creation but also ensures consistency in your messaging across multiple channels.
The enduring value of long-form content
In the tug-of-war between long-form vs. short-form content, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Different companies have different business goals, and any given goal can involve multiple approaches. At the end of the day, a balance of both forms can effectively flesh out a winning marketing strategy. Developed and used right, they’re complementary sides of the same coin. So we urge you to never underestimate the compelling advantages of long-form pieces. Investing in long-form content development is wise for those aiming to have a more significant, lasting imprint with the ever-changing content landscape.
That said, we know the landscape isn’t always easy to navigate. The evolutions we’re experiencing in the content marketing world are historically unprecedented. And the more time passes, the newer and truer that statement rings.
We know it because we’re in it with you. That’s also why the content marketing experts at rellify™ develop and use the most comprehensive AI-supported content-development solution available. We call it “Content Intelligence.” And from start to finish, from industry-specific topic ideation to content strategy, writing, editing, optimization, management, publishing, analytics and so much more, it makes our jobs exponentially faster, easier, more efficient and more effective.
It’s also how we help organizations and creative teams of all types and sizes produce their own high-quality, results-oriented content. Chances are, you know their brands. Do they know yours yet?
Let us know if we can help. With professional services to fill the gaps, a free 30-day trial of the rellify™ Article Intelligence Application, or a custom combination, we’re built to suit your content development needs, goals and budget.