How long should a blog post be?

by Steve Seager

One of the most common tactical communications questions I’m asked is, “How long should a blog post be?” I recently mailed a client with this answer:

It’s really all about clarity and value to your target audience – not length.

However, as a general rule of thumb there are three types of posts:

1. Short insight or news item of a few hundred words – primarily to share something or point people towards some valuable information. General rule: get in, give the message and get out. You tend not to get many comments on these, but they are often shared quite a bit – when they’re valuable.

[This post you are reading is an example of that sort of post.]

2. Tactical ‘how to’ or ‘what is’ posts usually come in around 400-700 words. Best practice is the use of a great headline, the body text split into short paras with great sub headers that tell a story in themselves. These often get a few comments and shared a lot. Note: if you feel an article is too long, write an abstract of it as a blog post containing what the article is about and who it is for, plus the key points of the article, then turn the full post into a .pdf for download.

[What is on-page SEO is an example.]

3. ‘Cornerstone’ posts, as we call them, are those that impart a particularly important insight that takes some time to explain clearly. Clarity is still key. Great headlines and sub-headers too. Typically around 1000+ words. When these take off, they often get shared and commented on the most. Plus, when these are also published as .pdfs on slideshare or scribd, for example, you can get a lot of traffic over a longer period of time.

Web 3.0 is one step closer’ is an example of a cornerstone post.

And bear in mind, every blog post should work towards a specific business goal!


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