Before we figure out how many words you should be writing, let’s take a minute to look over your last 5 bookmarks (articles preferably). Use this tool and take note of the word count of the content you bookmarked.
Why did you bookmark these pages, and what was the word count for each piece of content?
SumAll and Buffer did some research on the length of content and saw that 94% of completely read blog posts are read under 6 minutes.
We looked into word count and blog posts, and determined why your content strategy may change.
What your audience wants
As marketers, we can all agree that creating content is all about providing the audience with what they want. No brainer, right? Well, this principle translates into finding the ideal length of your blog posts. You might be hard pressed to create content that goes upwards of 4,000 words, but what does your audience want?
Remember when we told you to audit your bookmarks? You’re in the same boat as your audience. You and your audience will make time to read lengthy blog posts. Provide a solution to a problem, and you’ll keep your audience engaged.
People read about the things they find interesting. They could be reading for learning or entertainment. Your audience can be entertained with 50 words, or even 5,000 words. You would probably read content with more words for as long as it gives you a reason to. We read about content marketing a lot and have read content that consists of more than 10,000 words. You read about your industry because of how important it is to stay knowledgeable.
Finding the “best” length for your audience is pretty simple. Although there isn’t a golden number, you’ll know once you’ve found what works for your audience. Run some tests and produce content varying in length. Content marketing will require you to keep learning. Your audience will change, your business will change, and the market will change. Strive to give the world useful information, and you’ll find a length that works.
What search engines want
Search engines make things kind of weird. We create content for our audience, but we need to make sure search engines like our stuff too!
The funny thing is that search engines see content in a different perspective. In the eyes of Google, content is measured as the navigation, page content, and other page elements of a site. Pages with more content can easily tell Google how relevant they are to a search term. More content can also be accompanied by more links, which attracts higher ranking on search engines. What does this mean for you?
Longer blog posts = More love from search engines
Now the length of content is only a small part of search engines. There isn’t any solid proof that says more content would get you a better ranking all the time. If you really want to rank higher on Google for example, you’ll have to figure out the algorithms they use to rank websites. That’s a whole different topic, but a simplified version of everyone’s best guess at Google’s algorithm can be found here.
The bottom line
You most likely started reading this post in search of a word count. Snap Agency predicted that the optimal word count of blog posts is slowly climbing. Here’s their prediction for 2016 and on wards:
Whoa! That’s around the length of a 5 page Microsoft Word document. Yeah, you don’t have time to post 15 pages worth of content on a weekly basis do you? Well if you’re going to remain competitive, you have to start creating lengthier, in-depth content.
You have to prove that you’re an enthusiast to your audience. The only way to do this is to invest the time to research and produce content that will help them out. Writers are solving more and more problems with solid research – which also helps with length. Longer posts still need to be useful – fluff doesn’t get you rated higher up on search engines.
HubSpot found that their ideal length of blog posts was 1,600 words – which take 7 minutes to read. They also found that posts with over 2,500 words actually got the most social shares and most inbound links.
Your audience does have time to read all that.
More words = probably better
You determined what your audience wants, and what the search engines want. Your content might be perfect, or it might be a little short in depth. If your content isn’t getting a lot of traction despite your distribution and promotion, you probably need to spend more time to try writing a little more. It wouldn’t hurt you to use more words to make content more a little more detailed.
Everything revolves around the needs of your audience, so use as many words as it takes to help them out!