How long a blog post should be, or why we’re all Jack Bauer


How long should a blog post be? Should it be long or short? Is there a minimum you should aim for? Emily looks at why post length should be the least of your concerns.

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I’ve been watching a lot of 24 lately, and in the past week I’ve read several posts looking at blog post length. Andrew Hutchinson, over on Social Media Today, said it was your intended audience’s preferences that should determine post length. Meanwhile,  on Entrepreneur.com, Neil Patel believes that longer is better.

We’re all Jack Bauer

But what if your target audience was like Jack Bauer (the main protagonist of 24)? Unlikely? Aside from disarming nuclear bombs, stopping apocalyptic pathogens and generally just saving the day,  your audience has a lot more in common with Jack Bauer than you may realise.

People’s days can vary. Often they can be short of time, but they can also suddenly find that they have a lot of time on their hands. Just like in an episode of 24: it’s not all action, there are downtimes too. Plus your audience and Jack both use mobile devices to access information.

You just don’t know what kind of day someone might be having when they reach your blog post.

Style over substance length

Fiona has previously discussed that what a blog post really needs is to be interesting. This doesn’t mean your blog posts need to be short, but they do need to be succinct. If you’ve managed to cover that aspect, you might think you’re ready to pop that post up on your company blog and be done.

But your reader is (like) Jack Bauer. He’s/she’s taken a moment away from surviving explosions/replying to e-mails to check out your blog post. Length is not what will limit the readability of your post: style is.

Here are five blog style fixes:

5. Ensure your blog is mobile friendly

Make sure your blog is easy to read on smartphones and tablets and not just desktops. The next few tips will help with that.

4. Use concise sentences

If you’re tripping over a sentence when you read it out loud, because it goes on and on, it needs rewriting. Try splitting it into two, easier-to-read sentences.

3. Get those paragraphs under control

The main cause of TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)? Long paragraphs that look like walls of text. Think like a tabloid newspaper and break your paragraphs up – even into single sentences, if need be.

2. Mind your language

Don’t use uncommon words or jargon where plain language will do. There’s no need to send your audience hunting around for definitions to words or abbreviations.

1. Use signposting

Break your post up with subtitles and bullet points that way your readers can easily scan through a post if they haven’t got the time to read it thoroughly.

Related

Radix Copycast episode 5 – is shorter always better in marketing copy?

We’ve been reading: five useful posts for marketing copywriters

Radix Copycast episode 2 – the jargon conundrum and making boring things interesting

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