That 3,000 word blog post you spent hours researching, writing, editing, and polishing?
Yeah, I’m going to need you to go ahead and delete that.
Why? Because no one’s going to read it.
Think about it, unless you’re a big fan of #longreads or ESPN’s long-form sports writing site, Grantland, very few people want to read 3,000 word blog posts, no matter how good they are.
A lot of bloggers try to cover everything they can in a single post, thinking they only have one shot with their readers to show as much knowledge as possible.
Don’t do this.
If you want your content marketing efforts to be effective, don’t try to cover everything at once.
600 Words Max. Seriously.
Last week, I wrote a blog post, Five True Gems of Blogging Advice, where one of my tips was “don’t plumb the depths of your knowledge in a single blog post.”
That is, don’t explore everything you know about a single blog topic in one post. Break it up into little bitty, bite-sized chunks, and explore each tiny facet of the issue in an individual post.
For example, one of my keynote talks, Ten Secrets I Learned In 24 Years of Writing would make a great blog post. And to keep from boring the reader with a massive crush of words, I could write 2 – 4 sentences about each point. But that wouldn’t give me time to fully explain what each secret means, how you can apply it, or why it’s even important.
What would make it better is to break it up and explore each secret further, and more in-depth, spending 400 – 500 words on a single secret — 600 words maximum, and that’s pushing it — finally resulting in ten separate blog posts.
Splitting up your blog posts into smaller chunks will do a number of things for you:
- You have more to write about. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Google AuthorRank and how to take advantage of it. I could have written one long blog post about what it was and how to use it. And the whole thing would have been a few thousand words long. Instead, I was able to turn it into several posts, and I could spend more time on each facet.
- It establishes your credibility. Who do you perceive as being more knowledgeable about a topic? Someone who did a one-off, or someone who writes about it frequently. The multi-post writer is going to have the advantage, because they can share new knowledge as new developments arise. The one-off writer has written the “definitive” work, making it harder to revisit.
- It boosts your SEO. Google wants to see a lot of content about a single issue. It helps them understand what your site is about. Talk about a topic often enough, do some internal linking, and Google will associate your blog with that topic and keyword. Soon, you can outrank the bloggers who only did a single post on that same topic.
- It brings readers back. If you can write several posts about a single topic, you become the go-to authority on that topic, and as people discover one post, they’ll check out your site to find more knowledge. That’s why it helps to have a “Related Content” plugin (like at the bottom of this post). And as people visit that related content, that also boosts your SEO.
Remember, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re not going to win anything by churning out epic posts that should be ebooks. We’re a society of skimmers and fast readers now. You need to match your readers’ reading style, not force them to adapt to your writing preference.
Photo credit: whateyesee13 (Flickr, Creative Commons)