Content marketing is a great way to increase your credibility as a business and cultivate brand awareness. By offering consumers information and insight on relative topics, you’re positioning yourself as an expert in your industry while building trust from your audience.
There are many forms of content marketing today, from social media to blogs. If you’re interested in starting a business blog for your company, you’ll want to understand the best practices to drive the results you’re aiming for. One major factor to consider is your word count.
You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much text or filler words, but you don’t want to skimp on important information, either. To help you, we did some research on the ideal blog post length for certain business goals. Here’s what we found.
Factors to consider for your blog post length
The average blog post length in 2021 was 1,416 words, with word count slowly increasing each year. But a higher word count doesn’t automatically mean your blog post will be successful or well-read.
Before you can determine your ideal word count, consider your goals for your blog. What do you hope it helps you achieve? Maybe you want to rank high on search engines to widen your reach, or perhaps you’d like to increase your brand awareness or engagement levels. Whatever your goal or objective for your blog is, there are several general factors to consider when determining blog post length.
Even though the global attention span continues to narrow, long-form content still performs exceptionally well. However, the length of content needs to consider the searcher’s intent to satisfy both search engines and, most importantly, the reader.
For topics such as, “the history of ice cream,” or “how to warm up a baby’s bottle,” the searcher’s intent is clear. Though both intents are clear, the expected length of content for each will be very different.
Someone researching the “history of ice cream” expects a long article, with H2s and H3s breaking up the text and perhaps some old photos to illustrate old ice cream machiens. They’re ready to read 1500+ words of content to get the comprehensive answer to their curiosity.
For the person who searched “how to warm up a baby’s bottle,” they probably want their answer in 100 words or less. Most likely, this person needs to know the answer immediately, and the only extra content on the page they’d be interested in — apart from the steps — are concerns or things to avoid when heating up a baby bottle.
It’s important to note that while the second query can be satisfied in many fewer words, the blog post doesn’t have to be super short. Instead, the writer of that piece can place the information the searcher is looking for at the top, followed by additional information sorted by importance. After detailing the “steps to heat up a bottle,” the writer can include “mistakes to avoid when heating up a baby bottle,” “common questions about heating up a baby’s bottle,” and other interesting — but not pertinent — information.
Based on research from Neil Patel, industry often dictates successful blog posts length. As such, it’s imperative for content strategists to research and become familiar with their competition’s content and analyze the length of their top ranking pieces. By establishing an average among competitors of what brings them success, you can guide your own strategy to surpass them.
Based on this research, average industry word count ranges are as follows:
- Fashion: 800 – 950 words. Similar to tech and gadgets, there’s usually not a ton to say and it’s important to work in visual assets as well.
- Film: 1,500 – 1,700 words. This industry has steep, high-authority competition and begs for longer pieces filled with meat instead of fluff.
- Financial Technology (FinTech): 2,000 – 2,150 words. Graphs and charts to accompany hard data perform well.
- Food: 1,400 – 1,900 words. Life backstories aren’t going away anytime soon when it comes to recipes.
- Gadgets: 300 – 500 words. For reviews and opinion pieces, 500 words and some pictures seem to be a winning formula.
- General Finance: 2,100 – 2,500 words. Exhaustive pieces, especially for features and interviews, will rank well.
- Healthcare: 2,000 – 2,150 words. Make sure to include valuable data points.
- Home and garden: 1,100 – 1,200 words. Like retail, opt for visual-centric pieces over an insanely-high word count for the most engagement.
- Marketing/advertising: 2,500 – 3,000 words. Because the industry is rife with big and small players all engaging in in-depth content marketing, creating valuable higher-than-average word count pieces will serve you well.
- Sales: 2,500 – 2,700 words (there’s a high proportion of whitepapers and in-depth PDFs in this high-ranking category).
- Retail: 1,500 – 1,700 words. Images are especially important for online retail content creation.
- Real estate: 1,800 – 1,900 words. Local SEO and niche marketing is key to this sector.
- Technology: 800 – 1,000 words. These pieces tend to have AMP pages to remain digestible and accessible.
- Travel: 1,500 – 1,850 words. Comprehensive content in these pieces, including tips and useful resources like gadgets and gear, help these pieces stand out from the crowd.
Similar to searcher intent, it’s important to understand the needs and habits of your target audience. Not only should you understand it, but constantly monitor and analyze the performance metrics on your blog to see what performs best.
For example, Google Analytics and further research may have shown Company A, a content marketing company, that the demographics of people who spend the most time on their blog are 40 – 54-year-old females whose highest affinity category is “movie lovers.” As such, they write two blog posts titled “What Popular Movies Teach You About Content Marketing,” and “How Businesses Can Apply Popular Film Storytelling To Their Own Messaging.” While both blogs satisfy the target market’s affinity category, the latter will most likely perform better because it speaks directly to the audience’s problem and provides a solution. Conversely, the former is an opinion piece that doesn’t offer a real-life application to the target audience.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
We’ve discussed search intent, competition, and target audience, but one of the top questions on Google, as it pertains to blog length, is “What is the best blog length for SEO?”
Neil Patel’s research above alluded to it slightly, but the answer varies widely by industry and isn’t an exact word count. Instead, content strategists need to focus on satisfying SEO best practices, like proper backlinking strategies, comprehensive topic coverage, including key terms, incorporating media-rich content into the piece, and more to achieve the “best” blog length for SEO.
Still, long-form content tends to rank higher in search engines when the content is unique, comprehensive, and answers the question put forth by the searcher.
Related article: What is SEO and Why Does it Matter?
Benefits of long-form blog content
Long-form blog content, or an article/blog post ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 words, provides valuable in-depth information to searchers looking for an answer. While publishing long-form content sounds counterintuitive to some, it has many benefits.
Improve website traffic
Long-form blog content offers other websites and blogs more comprehensive content to share and backlink to. Articles that focus on the best blog length for SEO have the chance to rank higher in search engines, which in turn improves website traffic.
Increase time on page
Longer pieces with valuable, thought-provoking content begets users spending more time on that page. Most of the battle is getting the person to your site. Once they’re on your site, if the content satisfies or exceeds their expectations, they will most likely stay to read more.
Achieve higher conversion rates
Consumers who feel your blog is not only helpful and educational but a thought leader in your space are more likely to be interested in converting in some way on your site. Depending on the conversions you have set up, long-form content can nurture customers into converting better than quick, noncomprehensive blogs would.
Establish brand credibility
Creating long-form pieces of content with unique viewpoints and in-depth background information establishes your website in a position of authority and builds trust, especially if the advice or information you give in the blog post brings something positive to the reader. For example, giving advice that helps someone close a sale or gather new leads will solidify you as a credible, trustworthy source of information that person will look forward to hearing from again.
Quality vs. quantity
It’s imperative for content strategists to remember that the best length for a blog post should be driven by quality, not quantity. While the best length for blog posts is trending toward long-form content, writers should never sacrifice quality or context for quantity. Meaty, helpful guides and listicles will outperform fluff pieces at nearly every turn.
Focus on following a specific structure with subheadings, bullet points, lists, and keywords, as well as including links to sources and relative stats. Back your claims with research, but also speak from your own experience in a professional yet conversational tone.
Additionally, make sure you’re answering any questions your readers might have and hitting all the points associated with the topic. You can do this by reading similar articles on the subject and doing SEO research to better target your audience.
Related article: Good Reasons to Publish More Content on Your Website
Best practices for your business blog
Now that you’ve mapped out your priorities and assessed your goals, you can consider the general best practices of business blogging. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Break up your content. Use subheadings, lists, bullet points, etc. This will help keep your readers’ attention. They’re more likely to lose focus if they’re reading chunks of long-form writing than if they’re consuming short, digestible bits at a time.
- Include keywords. Your readers won’t find your posts if you don’t include important keywords. Do your research to learn which keywords are best in relation to your topic.
- Focus on your readers. While SEO is important, you should never lose sight of your audience. Keep their needs in mind while you’re writing, and cater your posts to them. What do they want to know? What is something only you can offer them? Don’t be afraid to ask them directly before writing your post, and try to allow comments on your blog to encourage feedback/further engagement.
- Experiment with different lengths. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different post lengths. See what works best for your company and its objectives, and take note of the specific benefits each mark has.
- Be consistent with your posting schedule. Don’t just post whenever you have a new idea; make sure you’re consistent. You can achieve this by creating a content calendar that manages your blog posts’ topics/posting schedules, as well as its respective social posts for increased engagement.
- Outsource your blog to experts. Company blogs have the potential to really ramp up your marketing strategy; but as a business owner, it can be difficult to give yours the attention it needs. If you’re unable to dedicate the right amount of time and effort to your blog, look to an agency that offers its expert services, so you can focus on the work you’re best at — without missing out on content marketing’s potential.
Need help creating great blog content for your audience? Lightning Media Partners offers custom content marketing packages to help businesses scale content strategy and meet their goals. Contact us for more information.
Sammi Caramela also contributed to this article.
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