A 2015 Pew Study results contradict the present popular notion that people do not bother reading long-form web content anymore.
People are spending more time reading long-form news articles on their mobile.
Pew Research conducted a study in September 2015 and found that consumer engagement on 1000 words or longer news articles was more than short news articles.
On average people spend 123 seconds on a long form content in comparison to 57 seconds on short form content.
I believe it’s not possible to provide in-depth information and critical analysis in a very conservative number of words.
So this post of mine takes a multifaceted angle of discussion to analyze the importance of long blog posts in the age of content overload, and how they can help businesses, starters and solopreneurs earn trust and build followers.
What is a Long Blog Post?
Some people say a post containing more than 1000 words is a long-form blog post.
Some people say it is a long one if the post has more than 700 words.
Digital marketing expert Neil Patel often talks about writing long-form blog posts containing 2000 or 3000 words.
In a data and evidence-based post, he explained how long a blog post should be in general.
For me, a long post should have 1000 words or more. So it depends on individuals’ perspectives.
But the question is, why so many people working in the digital space think writing long-form web content is meaningless nowadays?
Why Do Some People Believe That We Don’t Need Long Blog Posts Anymore?
Reason # Content Abundance
Many people say that we already have access to a volume of material online which is more than we need.
We are in the age of content abundance.
Blogger, keynote speaker, and digital marketing expert Mark Schaefer believes that this is an age of Content Shock.
Guides, Ebooks, blurbs, blog posts, reports, videos – endless types of free web content is out there.
For example, the stats below show how much content the internet has –
- In 2015, researchers calculated that it would take 2 percent of the Amazon rainforest to make the paper to print the entire web content.
- According to same the source, approximately 1 billion websites existed on the internet in 2014.
- Nearly 40,000 queries are searched on Google every second.
- WordPress activity page tells that the number of blog posts published as of Dec 2016 was 73 million.
The screenshot and numbers below show a rough estimate of content internet users post and share on social media every day –
The above screenshot shows how industries, influencers, and general members are using LinkedIn for publishing and sharing content online.
Users share almost 6000 Tweets per second.
Facebook users share almost 1.3 million pieces of content on the platform every day.
So, we deal with a huge volume of content every day.
Naturally, one might tend to think that long form content is not digestible anymore.
But this point of view may not be necessarily right.
This post analyzes the importance of long blog posts based on three factors:
- Stats and fact
- Findings from latest research and studies
- Industry thought leaders’ recommendations
1. Stats and Facts
The infographic indicates that blog posts which are longer than 1500 words receive 68 percent more tweets and 28 percent more Facebook likes than shorter length posts.
Orbit Media Co-founder Andy Crestodina wrote a blog post highlighting the latest content creation approach of bloggers.
They conducted a survey to study last three years’ blogging trend. 1000+ bloggers participated in that study.
One of their key survey findings is that blog posts are getting longer and more visual.
When tracking last three years blogging trend, they found that length of blog posts increased in 2016.
Also, they found that bloggers who wrote long posts reported better results.
The WordStream post made a deliberate attempt to help readers understand how long blog posts increased user engagement on the website.
Their content strategy team observed that long blog posts which provided tons of value to their readers increased the average time on their site from 1:33 to 4:35.
Although this post is a bit old (2013), it offers valuable insights.
The content team from Medium decided to dig deep into their data to find out which type of posts people like to read generally.
Their overall observation and calculation concluded that 7 minutes posts (which are roughly 1,600 words or less) usually get the most attention.
However, they want bloggers and writers to emphasize on value addition, not length.
If you can offer a tremendous amount of value in a short post, do that.
- Longer posts, which offer excellent value to the readers, create inspiring user engagement.
- Long blog posts generate more social media engagement.
- People like to read, share and comment on long and valuable blog posts.
- Long meaty blog posts can increase your blog/website visibility as they become the center point of discussion.
2. Findings From New Pew Study
Incredible Findings on Reader Behavior
Pew Research Center conducted a study in September 2015. For the study, they used audience behavior metrics recommended by Parse.ly.
They monitored how 71 million unique visitors interacted with 74,840 articles on their mobile.
After months of supervision and analysis, they found that long-form news article created more reader engagement than a short-form news article.
You will find more information on their research and findings here.
- People are reading long-form content on their mobile.
- Content with more number of words may generate higher level engagement on mobile.
- Besides expecting latest news fast, people are also looking for quality and in-depth information on the internet.
- Pew study found that the level of user engagement with long-form content was high throughout the day.
3. Industry Thought Leaders’ Recommendations
As industry experts and thought leaders bring years of experience in a niche, I like to listen to their opinion, critical thoughts and recommendations prior taking business decisions.
So let’s see what they think about the importance of writing long blog posts in 2017.
Neil Patel’s Thoughts on Length of Blog Posts
Neil Patel advocates creating long blog posts. One of the big reasons for that is that search engines like Google favor long-form valuable content.
He wrote a blog post on this. In the post, he explained why blog posts, which contain 3000 words or more, get more traffic.
Rand FishKin’s Thoughts on Length of Blog Posts
The founder of Moz does not believe in the concept of long-form content.
He thinks it’s too typical to think that long form content always earns higher engagement.
He believes in developing right content. According to him, content should directly address audience needs and relate to organization’s goal. The length does not matter.
Joanna Wiebe’s Thoughts on Length of Blog Posts
Joanna Wiebe is the creator of Copy Hackers. She thinks content creators should stop worrying about content length and start thinking about quality.
But she believes that long blog posts can be an indication of value and quality.
She also points out that quality is the reason top bloggers are focusing less on frequent publishing and more on creating meatier blog posts.
You go to Copy Hackers site, and you will see how long their blog posts are.
Most of their content is 10 minutes or 15 minutes read. But most of them are super amazing and insightful. See the number of social shares their posts get.
It is clear that their primary objective is to publish detailed and helpful content for their target audience.
So if the posts get a bit longer for that reason, let them be.
- You can offer lots of helpful information through long-form content. So create long posts if your intention is to deliver value.
- Create long posts if your industry and niche demand.
- Longer blog posts rank higher in the SERPs.
- Long form blog posts often perform great as a quality reading resource.
- Before you invest time and efforts in a long post, understand your objective. What do you want to achieve through your content?
Well researched long blog posts can help readers with authentic and in-depth information, multifaceted analysis and industry overview.
Long and highly informative posts make the decision-making process easier for the audience.
Therefore, people love your hard work. Your blog post becomes a reliable source of good education.
So, writing long blog posts to meet your audiences’ need is a perfect thing to do if your primary objective is to earn trust, respect, authority and loyal followers.
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