Blogging is central to content marketing. But if choosing how long your blogs should be is not an exact science, nor is it a matter of pure guesswork.
When producing blogs for a content marketing campaign, a wide array of issues will need to be considered. With careful planning, a dedication to the best search engine optimisation (SEO) practice and skilled writing, blogs can help attract plenty of reader attention, generating lots of awareness of the products and services on offer.
However, while SEO, tone, the use of good images, the selection of the right topics and even details like the kind of font used are all important.
Why does size matter?
However, the length is also very important too. It should not be too short, nor too long. Yet there is not a single standard length that a blog should be. There are many shortcomings for a blog that is short, but also a very long one.
The problems created by short blogs are:
- Likely to lack important detail,
- Some may avoid reading it on the (not unreasonable) assumption that a short blog will not have much useful content,
- Tends to be penalised by search engines.
However, lengthy blogs can have a number of shortcomings too:
- Many people will not have time to read a long blog,
- Some blogs can meander and stray off topic,
- If a writer is required to produce a lot of words, they may end up including a lot of low-value content just to fill a quota.
The first of these issues is a real one for many people and it means the audience needs to be considered. Given this is a key part of your marketing strategy. It is important that it is given due consideration anyway as the buyer persona is central to who you are pitching your message to. But if your persona is of someone who is ‘time poor’, writing very long blogs is not always a great idea.
In the case of the other shortcomings, the key is to ensure that the message and purpose of the blog is clear before writing it. But at the same time, there is no point setting out to write more than is really necessary.
What does research reveal about blog lengths?
BeUniqueness has carried out its own research into the length of blogs used, with a comparative study used in the legal sector. A similar study could be applied to any sector, be it for financial firms, ecommerce or any other sector that produces online marketing blogs.
The study compared law marketing blog lengths across six different areas of law. In each case, a trio of different law firm websites was chosen and three blogs randomly selected from each.
The main findings were as follows:
- In some firms, the blogs were all of fairly similar lengths, suggesting a clear strategy.
- In other cases, there were substantial differences, suggesting a more ad hoc approach.
- For most topics, word lengths were around 400-600 words on average.
- Two other areas, immigration, and commercial law, the average was 900-1,000.
However, the last of these required more analysis. The immigration law average was increased by one firm producing blogs that were typically over 2,000 words long. This case was exceptional. Of the other 51 blogs studied, none were as long as 1,500 words.
If that single case was taken out of the equation, the average length of immigration law blogs based on the remaining two sample firms returned to the normal 400-600 range.
That, however, left commercial law blogs standing out as consistently longer. All three firms producing them would produce content that was invariably longer than most of the other blogs. Moreover, a comparison of the blog lengths produced by one firm on commercial law topics and their articles on wills and probate found that the pieces produced for the latter category were over 100 words shorter.
Why might commercial blogs be longer?
As a result, it was clear to conclude that commercial law is an exception. The logical explanation for this is that when carrying out business transactions, the range of variables and the number of different legal stipulations is greater than cases in other areas of law, which means greater complexity. This, in turn, requires more explanation.
This conclusion can be advanced as a general principle when producing blogs. If the blog topic is more complex, the need for detailed explanation acute and the range of issues that need to be addressed numerous, then a longer blog is absolutely justified.
When considering the audience and issues of attention spans and time poverty, it should be factored in that in such circumstances. It is unavoidable that at some point anyone with an interest in a matter that is complex will by definition has to give substantial time and attention to it.
Where does SEO fit in with long blogs?
Finally, it is important to think more about the SEO implications of longer blogs. A 1,000 word blog, provided it can be relevant, readable and optimised in all the usual ways – with keywords and images – will attract a greater ranking than a shorter one.
Quite simply, the key is to balance the benefits of SEO with the need to write a blog of appropriate length. If this can be justified, then the blog should indeed be long. If writing a long blog becomes an exercise in churning out volumes of words to tick a box, think again and focus on producing something more relevant and interesting instead.
How we approach the question of blog length
At BeUniqueness, we seek to tailor our blogs to the topic in hand; that is true for style and the audience, but also for the appropriate length. While around 600 words can be a good length for a blog, very often something substantially larger is required. This enables us to offer our clients a service that is tailored to their needs, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.