One of the most common concerns for new and experienced bloggers alike is the length of the post.
Finding the Right Length
Some folks will not read a blog post that is more than 500 words. That’s understandable, because many of them are puffed up pieces that dance around a topic and never clearly make a point.
Blogs where the posts are typically short, because they are racing to be first to report the news, also fall short of expectations. They only give you a taste, thereby sending you away hungry, and on a search for more.
Is this what you want for your audience?
In our post Panda and Penguin digital world, quality content that thoroughly covers a topic is highly valued by Google and your audience.
This is why lengthier magazine style articles, such as those published by Social Media Examiner and Copyblogger are well received and often highly ranked in search results. These longer posts are a complete meal – but you don’t have to consume it all.
When a topic is covered completely everyone feels satisfied, regardless of their appetite.
It’s the completeness of the message that matters – not its length. There are a few rare authors that have mastered the skill of accomplishing this in very few words, with Seth Godin being one of the more notable ones.
Choosing the Best Content
Authors like Seth Godin defy definition. Many of us have endeavored to imitate his style, but here’s the deal. Seth has practiced his craft like no other, having published over 10,000 blog posts in the past decade.
How about you?
By his own admission, he doesn’t just sit down and lay down those pearls of wisdom in a matter of minutes. He is “writing” them days in advance as he thoughtfully considers the topic, words, anecdotes, and stories that will capture it well.
This takes time – time to think, practice, learn, and express.
One of the most well received keynote speeches I’ve given in the last few years was one in which I had to cut my usual keynote in half to accommodate the allotted time – and on only two weeks notice.
The challenge is always what to leave in and what to leave out.
I consulted with a more experienced speaker who suggested cutting out my normal opening and close. What? That’s the cornerstone of any great speech.
Start in the middle, she said.
Think about it. If some bloggers are leaving you hungry for more, it’s usually because you are only getting an appetizer. In contrast, other bloggers leave you feeling bloated because you are overserved.
Isn’t it better to go to the middle and carefully carve out the most tender center cut and serve it up just right?
That’s not something you can just throw together. It takes patience and practice.
A great blog post is like a great meal that nobody would consider measuring by its volume.
It is a work of art that is admired and readily consumed, thereby leaving the patron with one feeling – completeness.
That’s what really matters. Completeness.
That’s the opportunity.
What’s your measure of the perfect blog post length?
Leave a comment below and share this with your community.
Until next time, Jeff