Are longer posts better? It depends.

I may be a writer who specializes in biometrics, but I write about other things also.

Perhaps you didn’t know this, but my favorite record album of all time is The Beatles, more commonly known as The White Album. Side 3 of that album concludes with a George Harrison song, “Long, Long, Long.”

Harrison was NOT talking about blogging when he wrote “Long, Long, Long.” Heck, we didn’t even have Usenet back in 1968. But if “Long, Long, Long” had been about blogging, most people would think that Harrison lived in a crackerbox palace.

Ain’t She Sweet, when sweet is a blog post?

For years, I’ve subscribed to the theory that blog posts need to be short and sweet, and have corrected myself when I thought that my blog posts were getting too long. After all, my first blog post in October 2003 was only two paragraphs long. My second consisted of a single sentence.

However, the vast majority of my subsequent posts were much longer, which finally led me to try to embrace succinct writing. Or try to, anyway.

Even Bredemarket’s business tactics are geared toward shorter blog posts. The reason that Bredemarket 400 is called Bredemarket 400 is because the target minimum length is 400 words. I’d certainly be open to writing a 2800 word blog post—after all, it provides me with more revenue—but so far my blog post customers have preferred the shorter length.

And the shorter length seems to fit the consumption preferences of some people. When seeking information, many people prefer a few minutes of reading to an hour of reading. Even if something is broken up into a series of posts, do you really want to read a 27-part series?

But what if posts aren’t read by people?

Which brings me to a comment that I made toward the end of a recent, short blog post.

Perhaps you’ve seen my post “Rhonda Salvestrini and her secret salesperson.” As I concluded that post, I inserted the following:

And yes, Rhonda, this blog post has far fewer than 3,000 words…

Most of the people who read the post may not have had any idea why I said that. But Rhonda certainly knew, because in the interview that formed the basis for my post, Salvestrini briefly referred to a preferred blog post length of 3,000 words or more. She didn’t really go into detail about WHY longer blog posts are better, since this was outside of the scope of the interview.

So I looked up the topic.

One of the items that came up in my search was a Neil Patel post entitled “Why 3,000+ Word Blog Posts Get More Traffic (A Data-Driven Answer).”

Yes, friends, the reason that longer blog posts are better is derived from…science. (No, I won’t post the song. You can find it yourself.)

By dm4244 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63061280

You see, short blog posts can be great if a human is reading them. (Or perhaps not. We’ll come back to this later, when I give you 70 reasons why longer posts can be better in some cases.)

But in many cases, HUMANS AREN’T THE ONES READING BLOG POSTS. At least not directly.

Perhaps I’m going out on a limb here, but I suspect that most of you don’t wake up every morning and say to yourselves, “I’d better go check the Bredemarket web site and see if there’s a new blog post.” That’s NOT how this website, or many websites, get the majority of their traffic. In many cases, people visit a particular blog post because they’re searching for an answer to a question.

A question that they asked a search engine.

As a result, the people aren’t reading the blog posts. THE SEARCH ENGINE is reading them.

And how do search engines find content? Patel’s post links to another post that discusses long-tail search engine optimization. In brief, this post asserts (and Patel agrees) that more descriptive phrases are more beneficial than single words.

Let’s use an example, and say that you’re looking for a writer who specializes in biometrics. If you search for “biometrics,” you will get a lot of results that don’t really pertain to what you’re seeking. Perhaps “biometric writing” might be better, but, as I found out (iguana food, you know), that presented a number of results about a particular biometric modality. “A writer who specializes in biometrics,” while not yielding perfect results (yet), appears to provide results that are much closer to what you’re seeking.

Back to Neil Patel. His post includes a graphic (I don’t have permission to reproduce it here, so you’ll have to find it) that asserts that 70% of search traffic is long-tail traffic. And it stands to reason that longer posts will tend to have more of those longer phrases that are search engine gold. (Don’t try shorter posts that use keyword stuffing; Google’s on to that.)

In summary, posts often AREN’T read by people, but by search engines that are seeking the phrases for which searchers desire the answers to questions.

Why not go to seventy different sites to answer your question?

But Patel asserts that there are other advantages to longer posts. One of these is the fact that a comprehensive post on a particular topic will serve the reader better, since it can answer all of his or her questions.

How many of you groaned when you saw my question above about visiting seventy different sites? If you want a comprehensive answer to your question, I’m sure that most people would prefer to read one comprehensive well-written post instead of reading seventy different posts.

Here’s part of what Patel said on this particular topic:

You’re perceived as an authority in your industry. Your audience appreciates comprehensive posts that delve into intricacies of their pain points. They won’t need to jump on 10 different websites to get the same information.

Yeah, Patel referenced ten sites while I referenced seventy. My pain points are truly painful.

A few moments ago, I made the statement that “short blog posts can be great if a human is reading them.” This is sometimes true, and sometimes not true, depending upon what the human wants to know.

  • If the human’s question is fairly simple—for example, “When did the Cuban Missile Crisis occur?”—then a short post with a single sentence may be sufficient.
  • But what if the human asks a more complex question—for example, “WHY did the Cuban Missile Crisis occur?”—many people aren’t going to be satisfied with a one-sentence answer. This article devotes over 2,500 words to the topic.

So, who’s right on blog post length?

If you’ve come to this post to find the definitive answer on blog post length, I’m going to have to disappoint you.

Blog posts are designed to do one of the following three things:

Regardless of attention span, SEO, or anything else, a blog post will be as long as it needs to be to satisfy its purpose. (Yes, I’m channeling Abraham Lincoln here.)

This particular post is roughly 1,200 words long, which is too long for a “succinct” blog post and too short for a Patel-optimized blog post. But I don’t feel like padding it to get to an optimum word length, and I don’t feel like cutting anything.

I especially don’t want to cut the George Harrison song.

Rhonda Salvestrini and her secret salesperson

I just listened to an interview of Rhonda Salvestrini, conducted by Sumair Abro. During the interview, Salvestrini made the following point:

Content for your business is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic. It’s your secret salesperson because it’s out there working for you 24/7. And it’s evergreen, so not only is it working…day in and day out…it’s available years down the road.

Rhonda Salvestrini
By Luke Rauscher – James Bond (Daniel Craig) figure at Madame Tussauds London, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86705881

Excellent point. In my 17 years of online writing, I’m consistently surprised when someone contacts me about something that I wrote years ago. The Internet, for better or worse, never forgets.

So if you’re reading this quote in 2029, and the quote inspires you, let Rhonda know.

And if you’re reading this in 2020 or 2021 and are looking for a writing coach to give your enterprise a voice, Rhonda is available to assist you.

(If you’d prefer to outsource the writing rather than doing it yourself, Bredemarket can help.)

Finally, if you want to hear the rest of the conversation between Salvestrini and Abro, here it is. Both the interviewee and the interviewer share many other insights on content creation.

And yes, Rhonda, this blog post has far fewer than 3,000 words, which kinda sorta limits its repurposing.

Or maybe not.

What type of content? As Nathan Ellering notes, you have choices.

There is one similarity between Bredemarket’s clients (and potential clients) and Bredemarket itself.

  • My clients and potential clients need to generate content to increase the visibility of their firms.
  • I need to generate content to increase the visibility of Bredemarket.

Once a content creator has determined its strategy, the creator then needs to decide upon the type of content to execute that strategy. While the answer is sometimes blindingly obvious, sometimes the content creator ends up staring at the wall, wondering what to do next.

Today I found a way to jump-start that thinking process, when I ran across Nathan Ellering’s article entitled “105 Types of Content to Fill Up Your Editorial Calendar.”

Yes, 105 types. Even Buzzfeed couldn’t handle a listicle that long.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/listicle – Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

But if you don’t have the time to read all 105 of Ellering’s suggestions (I confess I haven’t read them all myself), how about just looking at one of the 105 types? For purposes of this post, I decided to choose one at random by selecting a number between 1 and 105. Thinking of ketchup, I figured I’d see what Ellering’s type 57 was.

It turns out it was “News Releases and Pitches,” with the goal of using the news release “to get coverage in influential publications.” I’ve actually pitched my freelancing experience and been quoted in an article, and now may be one of the best-known freelancers in Austria.

Or possibly not.

But I’m sure that there are a ton of the 105 types of content that I haven’t created. At present I have no use for type 10, for example. But I plan to review Ellering’s article the next time that I’m stuck for ideas.

And perhaps you’ll find it helpful yourself.

(For those following along at home, this post itself is type 11, where the “product” is Ellering’s post itself.)

You go back, Jack, do it again

Creating content can sometimes be hard.

Repurposing content, however, is usually easier.

Your basic message has already been created, and the only additional effort that is required is formatting. For example, if you decide to turn a textual list post into an infographic, the primary task would be the graphic formatting. The content is already there.

Why repurpose content?

To reach audiences that you didn’t reach with your original content, and thus amplify your message. (There’s data behind this.)

Let me provide an example.

Repurposing example

While researching a potential client, I found an informational webinar that the client was promoting. Without giving anything away, let me just say that the webinar was outstanding, and that the primary speaker effectively addressed many of the questions and concerns about the client’s offering.

But all of this information was locked into a webinar. A one-hour plus webinar. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to take an hour out of my day to listen to a webinar unless the speakers or the topics are REALLY important to me.

The client realized this barrier, and has worked (and continues to work) on repurposing the main themes that the primary speaker addressed in the webinar. The content is now available in formats that don’t require you to sit and listen to something for a good chunk of your working day. You can now consume the information in much less time, and in a format that is more attuned to your needs of the moment.

Repurpose…or don’t

Now before I address the question of who can help you repurpose your existing content in textual form (you already know how THAT question will be answered), take a moment and start to think about some content that you may want to repurpose.

And perhaps you don’t want to pursue the all-out repurpose route. Perhaps you just want to reshare a link on another platform. For example, I usually reshare the links to my Bredemarket posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

But sometimes I actually go ahead and repurpose the content. Some of the informational brochures on my website are repurposed blog posts. The Facebook ad that I recently ran was a shortened version of a brochure that started as a blog post. (In retrospect, I didn’t shorten it enough.)

Let me go off on one little tangent

A few of you may have seen the title of this post, and now you have a particular song running through your head.

Well, you have the wrong song in your head.

You see, Steely Dan’s song has been covered by a number of artists, including Waylon Jennings.

Waylon Jennings promotional picture for RCA, circa 1974. By Waylon_Jennings_RCA.jpg: RCA Records derivative work: GDuwenTell me! – This file was derived from:  Waylon Jennings RCA.jpg:, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17091525

And Waylon’s version is outstanding, and is just as good as his covers of “Gold Dust Woman” and “MacArthur Park.” That growl on “ROUND and round” really gets me, along with the instrumental break.

OK, back on topic

By the way, that was an example of repurposing. If you’re not going to invest three-plus minutes of your time to click on the link and listen to the YouTube recording of the song, at least you know that the song contains a classic Waylon Jennings growl. The critical information has been imparted in your preferred medium.

But you’re not looking for someone to textually describe your songs. Well, maybe you are. But it’s much more likely that you’re looking for someone to convey critical marketing messages via text of short or medium length. Or, for that matter, long length.

If this post has inspired you to have Bredemarket help you repurpose your existing content in textual form:

By the way, while writing this post, I was inspired to pursue a repurposing project of my own, distinctly different from the repurposing that I mentioned earlier in this post. I’m not ready to announce anything yet, but stay tuned for (potentially) an announcement.

If your marketing channels lack content, your potential customers may not know that you exist

[Update, January 27, 2021: a July 2020 study from Demand Gen Report explains WHY up-to-date content is important. I addressed that study in this post.]

One of Bredemarket’s most popular services is the Short Writing Service. It can help small (or large) businesses solve the content problem.

You know what the content problem is. Your business has established one or more marketing channels: a website, blog, email list, Google My Business site, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter…or many others.

But the marketing channels are useless IF THEY HAVE NO CONTENT.

Or old content.

Or poorly-written content.

Maybe the information on the marketing channel is six months old, or a year old, or nine years old. (Trust me, this happens.) Or maybe there’s content on one marketing channel, but it’s never cross-posted to the other marketing channels for your business.

What are the ramifications of this? If your channels lack content, your potential customers may forget about you. And that’s NOT good for business.

I’ll use myself as a BAD example. In addition to my business blogs at Bredemarket (https://bredemarket.com/blog/) and JEBredCal (https://jebredcal.wordpress.com/blog/), I maintain several personal blogs. One of those personal blogs is Empoprise-NTN (https://empoprise-ntn.blogspot.com/), and that blog is obviously the ugly stepchild of the bunch. Between 2016 and 2019 I authored exactly ZERO posts on that blog. So if someone is looking for authoritative commentary on NTN Buzztime games, they’re obviously NOT going to look to me.

The obvious solution to the content problem is to CREATE CONTENT. Some people have no problem creating content, but others may need some help. They may not have the time (https://bredemarket.com/2020/09/25/when-you-dont-have-the-time-to-craft-your-own-text/), or they may need some help in selecting the right words to say.

Bredemarket can help you solve the content problem, one post at a time. The Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service (https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/) uses a collaborative process, in which you and Bredemarket agree on a topic, Bredemarket provides a draft of the text, and the text goes through two review cycles. At the end of the process, you have the text, you own the text (this is a “work for hire”), and you can post the text on your blog or Facebook or wherever you please. Your content problem is solved! And if the post includes a call for action, your potential customers can ACT, potentially providing you with new business.

Speaking of a call for action…

If you would like to talk to Bredemarket about ways to solve your business’ content problem, contact me!

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service

(new text of approximately 400 to 600 words)