Blogging on a Budget: Short, Quick Posts vs. Long, In-Depth Articles

Alex Sobal
Posted by Alex Sobal on March 9, 2016
Person sitting at a carved wood desk reading a paper. There is also a laptop on the desk.

Whenever we’re developing an inbound marketing strategy for one of our new clients, one of the first things we always figure out is the content calendar. After all, without good content, no one will want to visit—or stay on—your site in the first place, so it’s always important to figure out what you’re going to blog about, how often you’ll blog, and what style of blogs you’ll use before getting started.

That being said, while a lot of companies want to publish new content as often as possible with no limitations on the length or time spent writing it, in reality, most companies don’t have that luxury. A large portion of today’s marketing spend still goes towards traditional channels, and given the amount of “free” promotion companies can accomplish with a nice website and social media, it’s common for inbound budgets to be a bit smaller—especially for companies just getting started and testing the waters.

Working with a small budget or limited amount of time shouldn’t deter you, however, as you can still be effective in a limited role. Though we typically suggest publishing at least 2-4 blogs per month, some companies have had success publishing once a month or less; it’s usually just a matter of industry norms and making the most of the resources that you do have available. Of course, this begs the question: “how exactly do you make the most of those resources?” Most companies interpret this question one of two ways:

A. Publish several shorter posts a few times a month to maximize new content

B. Publish fewer, but longer, more in-depth posts once or twice a month to maximize content quality

Which is Better for Attracting Visitors?

Ah, the good ol’ debate between quantity and quality. On one hand, it’s been shown that companies that publish more blogs, get more leads, but on the other hand, if these blogs are sacrificing quality for quantity, having a bunch of useless, uninformative blogs won’t help you accomplish anything. In fact, it might even hurt your company’s reputation. At the end of the day, both are equally capable of generating good results. It all depends on what type of industry in and what your blog subject matter covers.

When deciding which is best for your company’s budget, make sure you consider these 2 factors to consider when determining the ideal blog length and frequency:

1. Industry Norms and Technicality

Before you write anything yourself, you should always evaluate what your competitors are doing to get a feel for how detailed you need to be, and see how often they’re sharing new posts. If they’ve been blogging for quite some time and have a lot of readers, they’ve probably perfected the right formula, and it’s worth noting. For example, if one of your competitors is sharing an in-depth, 1,500-word article once a week on highly nuanced topics within your industry, your short 400-word articles might not have enough substance to grab your prospects’ attention. Instead, you’d probably be better off writing longer, in-depth articles yourself, just with a reduced publishing frequency.

Similarly, some businesses are simply harder to write for than others, and need longer blog articles to clearly communicate what they need to say. For example, an article explaining the differences between industrial hydraulic fluid types will likely be much longer and more detailed than an article sharing tips for keeping your work desk organized. If you’re writing on a topic that requires an in-depth explanation, take all the space you need to explain it thoroughly. In the same sense, however, make sure you aren’t over-explaining something just to make your posts seem longer, as you’ll only make them less useful.

2. When Does the Writing Stop Feeling Natural, and Start Feeling Forced?

While the first factor is a little more tangible and something you could hypothetically gauge with data, this second factor is a little more instinctive. However, if you're able to notice when you're struggling to explain something and feel like you aren't providing enough information, you're usually able to tell when you've said everything you need to say and are grasping at straws to add more length. Though that tactic might have worked in school on essays with word count requirements, it isn't conducive to building your reputation or generating leads online. Time is a valuable commodity, and buyers don't want to waste it sifting through meaningless information. If you can effectively communicate everything that you need to in a short blog post, that's perfect. Don't worry about making them longer. If you need to be more in-depth to clearly explain something, that's great too—as long as you aren't wasting the readers time with fluff.

Long vs. Short: All Blog Articles Should Be Helpful

In our experience at Weidert Group, we've had success using both short and long blogging strategies for different clients. In more nuanced, technical industries, we often write longer, more detailed articles to cover all the bases and clearly address the pain points of our target audience. In industries that are less technical, we use shorter posts with more frequent publishing frequency to provide the necessary information our audience is looking for, but not overwhelm them. If you're using good SEO fundamentals and address topics your audience is searching for, both blog types should rank well in the search—as long as visitors aren't bouncing off your page. When it comes to blogging, whatever's most helpful for your audience is what's best, so find what works and go with it! Don't worry about word count.

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Topics: Content Marketing

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