Long form versus short form: The pro's and con's
A captive audience since the emergence of social media platforms, we, the followers, likers and consumers are constantly bombarded by shareable content and clickbait.
Editorial and advertorial content is mass-produced at a phenomenal rate every day, from wide-ranging sources to drive traffic to products and services. So amongst this cacophony of online chatter, how can one opinion author or smaller-sized commercial blog be heard? Whatever the goals for your content; to reach a new audience, create hype around a new launch or to go viral, the first and foremost consideration for your feature should be word count.
There are many for's and against's short form (anything under 200 words) versus Long-form (think pieces or editorials). The main debating issue here is what's the ideal length to maximise readability? Varying the length of content throughout posts allows readers to be engaged and their interest held.
The advantages of short form offer a quick, impactful and insightful snapshot into your product or service. You are summarising key points in concise language engineered to inspire your target audience. Short-form forces you to finitely consider what you want to say in a bitesize format. This content can even be classed as tweets, Facebook or Instagram posts, Snapchat or TikTok videos. At present attention spans are known to be six seconds maximum. Known as 'The Six' by marketing and advertising companies, anything over this time which is intended for rapid digest or stimuli is dead air. Google conducted a study into our engagement with online content and recently deciphered that 90% of people view videos or literature on numerous devices throughout a working day. This is known as omnichannel marketing. Short-form is ideal for omnichannel marketing, while the audience digests a post, article or blog, further devices are used to purchase or look over user reviews. Furthermore, short-form content is far easily digested from a mobile device, while a reader is on route or filling a brief amount of chill time.
With short-form content delivering a quick sharp message, it has a higher probability of going viral. The key to getting a piece rolling out viral is simplicity. Once shared, the user promoting the potentially viral content hopes for their audience to be engaged with the link instantly, so the popularity of the post is inferred back to them by association. So keep it snappy the key here is condense, condense, condense!
The level of engagement and shareability increases the lower and punchier the word count. However, the depth of emotion and personal identification is heightened in longer-form features. The opportunity for SEO keywords and hyperlinked references are further maximised with long-form literature. What comes as a more significant challenge with long form is the necessity to write more professionally, with considered structure and grammatical finesse. Search engines favour higher quality, intelligently worded articles which demonstrate talent, independent thought and thorough research. Therefore your piece is more googleable if comprehensively written through. Discussions online are more likely to be ignited by long-form pieces. Reaction pieces written in response to your articles are a particularly useful way to drive traffic to your feature. They will, in turn, whip up controversy on Twitter, Medium or if the comments section are enabled; all useful channels for increased visibility to your product or service. However, be sure to divide the text up with subheadings. Paragraph titles can also be an intelligent way of allowing your audience to skim read if they are less likely to read longer bodies of copy.
Long-form and short-form offer different opportunities for publishers. Be sure to effectively strategise the goals you want your post to achieve, pay attention to the language you use and the demographic you are appealing to. Then optimisation and seeding will more likely be smooth and successful.