Content Marketing Tip: Don’t Put Everything You Know Into One Blog Post

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.

Eggs in a basket

I’m sure there’s a clever metaphor in here somewhere.

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)

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    About Erik Deckers

    is the President of Professional Blog Service, a ghost blogging and social media marketing agency in Indianapolis, IN. He has been blogging since 1997, and has been a published writer for more than 26 years. He is a newspaper humor columnist, appearing in 10 papers around Indiana, and in The American Reporter. Erik co-authored No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (2nd ed., 2012; Que Biz-Tech). His latest co-authored effort, The Owned Media Doctrine, was released in 2013.

    Comments

    1. Not sure I agree. There are several bloggers I follow who have large audiences and write blogs the often require several scrolls down the page. When they’ve got something good, I read it. I’ve also found with some of my longer blogs, people would rather read it all at once than see it spread over several days.

      Check out Penelopetrunk.com

      anne r. allen is another one.

      Then again, I’m kind of old school (because I’m old) and would rather read something with some meat on it.

      –rr

      • Randy,

        It’s not that NO ONE reads long posts. It’s just that the vast majority of people won’t read the vast majority of long posts.
        Penelope Trunk is an awesome writer, and I read her stuff whenever I can. And the Grantland long reads are also very good. But the average blogger reaching the average reader — and especially if they’re in a crowded field trying to stand out — should have more shorter posts than long ones.

        I do like the pillar posts myself, mostly because I like to hear myself talk, but unless the topic is really compelling, I’ve found that shorter is usually better.

        Plus — and this is a big one — as more people read blogs on their mobile phones, the number of scrolls they’ll make is usually around 3, which is close to 200 words, depending on how big their screen is.

        You know what? That last sentence just raised an interesting question in my brain. I’m going to check it out and do something on the analytics of mobile vs. non-mobile traffic and longer posts. Thanks for the inspiration!

    2. Tony Martin says:

      I have to say i totally agree with this blog is was well writen and the content is very true, I think so many people over think the blogging and add to much information. I like to have short blogs that lead to other blogs.
      Keep up the good work!
      Thanks, Tony

    3. Nice post, Erik. I might argue that it’s not that black and white though. I think there is a lot of opportunity for pillar posts, but they have to REALLY good. A couple examples come to mind right away in Pat Flynn from http://www.SmartPassiveIncome.com and Glenn Allsopp from http://www.ViperChill.com who are famous for their thoroughness. One technique I like is to write in bite size form like you suggest and then later package the articles up into a guide or ebook to use as an incentive for signing up. Either way, I enjoyed the post and have subscribed. Cheers.