How to Optimize Content Length for Maximum Engagement

Blog Posts

One thing bloggers are often conflicted about is this: How long should my blog posts be? The answer is: It depends. The blogging community is divided on the issue and with good reason. At the end of the day, it depends on what you hope to accomplish through your blog.


The Case for Short Blog Posts

Short blog posts (posts with 200-400 words) have many supporters. In truth, these are perfectly acceptable for a blog aimed at selling a particular product or service. These short blog posts are effective because you get straight to the point with a clear call to action. And because people tend to have short attention spans, you want to get to the point before they forget why they are on your blog.

If you need inspiration on how to properly construct a short blog post, the flawless approach of Seth Godin and David Vandagriff might be of great help. Conveying high quality and valuable information that will inspire interest and trust in 300 words or less can be deceptively challenging.

The Case for Long Blog Posts

In contrast to people who endorse short blog posts and make them work are those who are of the opinion that longer blog posts are meatier. We’re talking about 1,000 words or more here.

The question is: If short posts work, why would anyone sit down and write content with 1,000 words and above?

The answer is simple: It’s good for search engine optimization.

According to a research by serpIQ, for most SERPs, at least 1500 words for blog posts is a good target.

The reasoning: For some years now, Google has been trying to favor fully fleshed out site with a lot of quality content. With longer posts, you have more flexibility with keywords. So in a typical 1,500-word blog post, it’s highly likely that you’ll include a lot of keywords that may not be specific but still related to the theme of your post as compared to limiting yourself to one or two specific keywords. To Google, this will qualify as content designed to provide valuable information to users rather than please bots.

In Summary…

If you’re looking to provide high quality and valuable content to your readers and improve your rankings up the SERPs, long posts are preferred. But if you can convey your brand messages with fewer words but just as effectively, then by all means, follow the lead of Seth Godin and David Vandagriff.

The Perfect Length for Facebook and Twitter Posts

People on Facebook are bombarded with chatter and news from their friends, acquaintances and favorite brands. They don’t have more than a few seconds to give to a particular post on their news feed before mentally shrugging it off and moving on.

As a brand, you need to get your social messages out in short and punchy statements. As far as possible, stay below 100 characters and let images do the talking.

Long posts don’t tend to do well on Facebook, and very short posts are too common on Twitter. As a general rule, keep Facebook posts short and try to max out Twitter’s character limit (100 characters seem to produce the best results).

The Optimal Length for Video Content

According to an analytics report by Wistia, shorter videos are better for getting people to watch the whole thing. So shorter videos are more engaging. For longer videos, the drop-off at the beginning is extremely steep. This is because viewers tend to decide very quickly whether or not to watch a video and there is not much difference then between a 4-minute and a 10-minute video: A major chunk of your audience won’t make it to the end of the video anyway.

In general:

  • Tutorials should be 45-90 seconds long
  • Creative commercials are best limited at 15-59 seconds
  • Crowd funding videos should inspire credibility so an average of 2.5 minutes is good
  • Testimonials can be 60-119 seconds

The Best Length for a Podcast

A lot of marketers may wonder: Just what do people expect when it comes to podcast length? Is it true that people today are unwilling to engage with lengthier pieces of content? Do they really only want 10-minute podcasts?

According to a survey carried out on Reddit between October 11, 2013 and November 03 2013:

  • 46-60 minutes appears to be the preferred podcast length for both listeners and podcasters
  • The second sweet spot is between 31 and 45 minutes
  • There is a market for podcasts over 90 minutes but short podcasts of 20 minutes or less were definitely the least preferred ones among listeners

Related Post:

4-step Strategy to Improve Your Facebook Engagement

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