Short Form Vs. Long Form Content and Why You Need Both 

Content is the bread and butter of digital marketing and you need both long and short-form content to be successful. While long-form content is great for establishing your brand and providing valuable information to your target audience, you also need short form-content to reel them in and keep them engaged when they don’t have time to read a 2,000 word article. 

With the right mix of both long and short-form content, you can keep your audience interested in what you have to say, but how do you decide when to use each type? In this article, I’ll discuss when to use each type, the benefits of both, and some best practises when creating short and long form content. 

What is Short-Form Content?

Short-form content refers to written content of less than 1,200 words. It includes short blog posts, social content, emails and infographics. There is also short-form video – any video under 10 minutes in length.  

Your audience can quickly digest this type of content and it’s a great way to share news and any other important information that your audience should remember.  

Short-form content creation is all about curating the best of the best content on your chosen topic and packaging it into bite-sized segments. This can be a great way to help your target audience engage with your brand while also positioning yourself as an industry expert.  

A great example of a short-form content piece is a listicle, for example, “Top 10 Ways to Increase Sales” or “The Best Resources for Small Businesses.”

Why You Need It

Short form content is great for drawing in new visitors and keeping your existing audience members engaged. In a short message, you can highlight your brand’s identity so that viewers know straight away what you’re about and why they should follow you. It also appeals to audience members with shorter attention spans or busy schedules.  

Short form content is a great way to provide quick answers to your audience’s questions. People are often pushed for time these days, so providing a way for them to get the precise information they need without having to scroll through a longer article is a great way to provide value.  

Another benefit is that it takes less time and money to create, making it easy to publish a consistent flow of content. Consistency is another important factor in keeping your audience engaged.  

What is Long-Form Content?

Long form content is any written content longer than 1,200 words, including blog posts, tutorials, white papers and e-books, as well as longer videos. It allows you to discuss a topic in much greater depth than you’re able to in a piece of short-form content so that readers/viewers can come away from it with a thorough understanding. You’re providing your readers with high-quality information that is supported by research and data where appropriate.  

Long form content is suitable for readers who have more time on their hands and want more detail than what a quick listicle can provide. It engages audiences in a different way compared to short form content – for example, short form is a great opportunity to use humour – funny posts will get your audience’s attention and engage them due to the entertainment value. Long form content, on the other hand, engages audience through providing valuable, detailed information that they can really get their teeth into and use for their own business or personal objectives.

Why You Need It

  • Increased website traffic: Long-form content is more likely to be shared on social media, which means more people will find their way to your site. 
  • Better for SEO: Google favours long form content. Its algorithm rewards high-quality long- form content by ranking it higher in search results. In addition, you get the opportunity to target a larger number of keywords throughout your content, especially question-based keywords.  
  • More backlinks: Research has shown that long-form content gets 77.2% more links than short articles. 
  • Evergreen content: Long-form content is more suitable for evergreen content that continues to perform well over time.  
  • Variety: Long-form content allows you to include different assets such as infographics. This is important for breaking up long articles and keeping readers engaged.  
  • Authority: Long-form content gives you the scope to provide a well-researched piece that covers each key point in depth using relevant statistics and insights from other professionals in the field. This in turn increases your chances of earning backlinks.  
  • Genuine audience engagement: People who read long-form content are more likely to stay on your site longer and engage with your brand, which can lead to increased sales and loyalty. 

When to Use Long vs. Short Form

There are a few things to consider when deciding what type of content to create in what context:   

  • Goals: Do you want to increase brand awareness through viral TikTok videos or are backlinks your priority? Consider the outcome you want from each piece of content to decide whether short or long-form is more suitable. 
  • Platform: Social media is suited to short posts while your company website is the place for long-form blogs (short blogs are suitable as well in some situations). When it comes to video content, the platform makes a big difference – TikTok is the place for short and concise video content while YouTube viewers are more willing to watch longer videos.  
  • Search intent: Are your audience looking for education or entertainment?  
  • Competitor analysis: What types of content are working well for your competitors in different contexts? If you find out what is working for them, you can create better-quality content of the same form and out-perform them. Check what type of content is coming up in the search results for your chosen keywords to get some insights.  

Long and Short Form Content – Best Practises

Blog Posts

Depending on the topic of your blog post, you have the opportunity to create something that is either long or short-form. A short blog post is perfect for:   

  • Quickly answering your readers’ most pressing questions 
  • Drawing attention to a specific product or service you offer 
  • Announcing an event your business will be running 
  • Promoting special offers and discounts you may be running 

In this way, blogs acts more as news pieces.   

If you want to create long-form content that your audience will love, you first need to understand what they want and need. Do some research to find out what topics they are searching for then create content to address those topics. You can also survey them to get feedback on what they’d like to see from you in the future. 

Make sure your blog answers all the questions your readers are likely to have on the topic and always address their pain points. This ensures they will walk away from article post feeling enlightened and that your brand has their best interests at heart. 

You also want to make sure your content is visually appealing and is not just a wall of text. Use images and headings to break up the text and keep your readers engaged. 

Interestingly, headlines that contain 14 words or longer have proven to get five times more backlinks that shorter articles. Using a longer article helps you clearly indicate what your article is about and may therefore increase overall readership. 

Infographics

Infographics are essentially visual representations of data or the key points on a specific topic. It may also summarise the steps in a process if you are instructing your readers on how to do something.

An important thing to remember when creating an infographic is that you need to have an eye-catching design – it needs to be visually appealing while also being highly readable. If you aren’t a designer yourself, make sure you hire someone with the skillset to create an attractive graphic that will stand out to your audience. 

Social Posts

When it comes to social content, understanding some important copywriting principles will help to give you the edge and make your posts grab readers’ attention. Make sure you think carefully about crafting your headlines to grab readers’ attention and start your post with a powerful hook. This is crucial on Twitter where you have so few words in which to convince your audience to pay attention and respond to your CTA. 

Posts with images get a much greater response than posts without any visual elements so make sure you always include them.   

Emails

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to build a relationship with your audience and keep them informed about what is happening at your brand.  

When creating email marketing campaigns, you have the opportunity to create both long-form and short-form content. You can create newsletters that dive into a topic in-depth or you can create quick emails that contain links to your latest blog posts or other important pieces of content. 

When deciding whether to create short or long-form email content, always keep in mind your audience. Are they the type of people to want detailed information before committing to any action such as in B2B sales or products requiring greater financial investment? Or will they respond to a few short paragraphs? How far along the funnel are they?  

Are they already well-educated on your product and almost ready to buy, needing one last push – or do they know next to nothing about you? Again, it all comes down to your goals in each scenario. 

Video 

Video is expected to be the default form of content in the years to come, as younger generations have gotten used to it and come to expect it. Videos bring your content to life and add a human element to it – they allow you to show that your business consists of real people that cares about your audience’s interests and who are knowledgeable about the products you sell.  

Short explainer videos, testimonials and product demonstrations should be no longer than three minutes. On the other hand, educational videos such as tutorials can be much longer – as long as they need to be for your audience to get the information they need from it. Another use of long-form video could be coverage from live events. 

Publishing a mixture of short and long-form videos is important on any platform. An easy way to add variety in this way is to break long videos up into smaller ones. Viewers that have more time can watch a longer video while those who prefer to watch shorter videos can watch the content in segments. 

Creating quality short and long-form content is essential if you want to succeed in your digital marketing strategy. Posting the right content – in the right context – is the key to building a relationship with your audience and inspiring them to take action. 

All types of content have their place in your strategy and each platform has different types of content that have high engagement rates. The key points to consider when deciding what length a piece should be include your goals, your audience’s search intent, and what’s already working for your competitors. Keeping these factors in mind while planning will help you to build a successful, comprehensive strategy. 

If you need advice on your marketing strategy – or simply don’t have time to plan it yourself – get in touch. My team and I will be glad to help.  

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