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July 16, 2019
If you’re a good content marketer and want the best for your clients, then you undoubtedly produce regular blog posts. I think we have moved way past “why blog?” territory and are now into the details of how to make the most of the posts you create.
And one of the most important and debated elements of any blog post is the word count. A quick online search will reveal a range of different answers that all seem logical, but they can’t all be right. Or can they?
Before you create an outline and get the ball rolling, take some time to figure out what your goal is for that particular piece of content. The ideal word count for a blog post can vary depending on what you want to accomplish, and it’s always wise to have a goal in mind anyway.
Some common goals for a blog post might include:
All content should provide value, but drilling down to a more specific goal before you start will help guide the way when it comes to word count.
According to current research from several different sources, longer blog posts appear to perform better when it comes to shares, backlinks and engagement. Not too long ago, shorter posts in the 500-word range were recommended as the sweet spot for SEO, but that total seems to have been stretched out.
Today, blog posts that are longer than 1,000 words tend to get the best results. Blog posts with word counts greater than 2,000 are ideal in many industries. When you take a look around, it’s easy to find blog posts that are in excess of 3,000 words and sometimes even longer. It’s almost like an ebook that has been placed on the company blog instead of being distributed as a pdf.
Why Is Long Form So Successful?
Your guess is as good as mine, but for shares and engagement, it is likely due to a couple of different reasons. One is that people like to skim rather than read entire article, so they aren’t actually reading the full 2,500 words. If we all had to read every word, then the results might be vastly different. Some estimates place the “actually read” percentage as low as 20…which means people are actually reading around 400 words of a 2,000 word blog post.
Another reason that long form blog posts do well is the perception of value when you get more of something. If you get more, it must be better. Obviously, that’s not always the case, but it doesn’t need to be if people perceive that it’s more valuable simply because it’s longer.
That being said, shit is still shit no matter how long it is. For every 2,500 word blog post, you see dominating the search rankings, there are plenty that are nowhere near the first page because the quality sucks.
A long blog post must have depth and give unique insight into the subject matter or it’s just filler. It is the marriage of word count and quality that create great blog posts, not just word count alone. If you are inclined to write a longer blog post, cover the topic from a variety of angles and provide information that your audience will find valuable and useful. Use your extra words wisely, or don’t bother!
Here is a strategy you can try to determine how long your blog posts should be. I believe I saw this in a Neil Patel blog post. What you do is figure out what your blog post is going to be about, then come up with your main keywords. There are several keyword tools out there and different ways to determine keywords, most of which have some merit.
After you have your keywords, type them into Google. Then, go through all of the entries on the first page of results and make note of the word counts. Next, take an average of all those word counts and use that number for your blog post. Some may be web pages or infographics, etc. which won’t apply, but you can get a good idea of what is working for your keywords by doing it this way.
Keep in mind when writing blog posts that length isn’t the only thing that matters. We have mentioned your goal, your keywords and the quality, but factors like the writing style, the format, platform, the audience and the medium also carry some weight.
If you are staying true to the art of communication, then you will use as many words as it takes to get your message across and no more. As a marketer, your content marketing goals may force you to adapt and add words where you may not have before, but you can find the right balance that works with a little bit of effort.
If you want to talk about the ideal word count for your blogs, if you have any content-related questions you’d like to ask, or if you’d like to save money with one of our convenient monthly plans, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
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