Various forms of short-form content, including Twitter and LinkedIn posts, have become very popular. But for any B2B company, the data says that long-form (more than 1,500 words) is as important as ever. In fact, it’s much more effective for getting the attention of the type of reader B2B companies want. Here are five ways long-form content outperforms short-form in the digital world:
- More sharing: The 2020 State of Content Marketing Study found that articles of 3,000+ words get 24% more shares than those of average length (900-1,200 words), and articles 7,000 words or longer get 43% more shares.
- More backlinks: A recent study by Blacklinko and BuzzSumo found that content longer than 3,000 words gets an average of 77% more backlinks than content shorter than 1,000 words.
- Longer engagement: A recent study by Pew Research found that consumers spend more time with long-form news articles than with short-form despite the small screens on mobile phones. Indeed, the total engaged time with articles 1,000 words or longer averages about twice the engaged time with short-form stories.
- Higher search engine rankings: A study from serpIQ found that the average length of the top 10 results in a Google search was more than 2,000 words. As Marcus Sheridan, the pool-guy-turned-inbound-marketing-expert, puts it, if Google has a choice to show two articles for the same keyword, which will it choose: The one on which readers average 45 seconds or the one where they average 4.5 minutes?
- More long-tail search engine traffic: In-depth content draws search engine traffic for longer than short-form content for two reasons. First, it has more two-or-more word search terms. Second, those articles are often just as relevant today as when they were written. Few short-form articles have that kind of shelf life.
Short-form content has a role in B2B. Through a Tweet or a LinkedIn post, it can draw attention to a longer article or report. And it can serve to address an issue a company has a point of view on that doesn’t warrant in-depth research or analysis. Short is quicker and easier to produce than long. And, for that reason, there is a lot more of it.
BuzzSumo found there is 16 times more content online with less than 1,000 words than with 2,000-plus words. But a lot of that is me-too material that will not stand out or differentiate its authors. So, if all other things are equal, cutting through the clutter is more challenging with short-form content.
To impress their customers and attract new ones, B2B businesses need to inform, demonstrate expertise, stimulate discussion, and appear to be established. That’s very hard to do in 500 words.