The Length of Content Marketing – how long should your blogs be?

Tape measure

You know you need content.

You know it must be genuine, interesting and relevant to your audience.

You know it takes time to create.

But do you know how long your blogs and articles should be?

If you do could you let me know?

There is no definitive right or wrong answer (there’s a surprise) and the decision about how long your article or post will be will depend on your subject matter and audience.

Short vs long

In the world of marketing, long copy has always out performed short. But does the same go for blogging?

If you opt for a long article you must make sure your message remains strong throughout, draws your reader in and keeps their attention and that it’s subject matter is relevant.

If you fail on any of these counts people won’t read your stuff.

But there is something else that should be added to that list and that’s the reader’s attention span.

Personally speaking, I prefer short posts and articles.

Why?

Simply because I get bored easily.

It’s rare for me to find a blog that’s over 600 words that I will actually read through from start to finish. I prefer my information in short, entertaining chunks that I can read quickly.

I guess that’s why most of my blog posts are short.

By my reckoning I can’t be the only person in the world that thinks this way, so what I write should appeal to a fairly large audience.

Long blogs attract more comments

Do they? Not sure, that’s just a guess.

Mind you, if you think about it, long articles probably do attract more comments.

If you’re writing 700+ words you can formulate arguments for or against a particular question. This kind of writing will evoke an emotional response in the reader – who will either be in your camp or behind enemy lines.

Therefore, if written well, your readers will be more inclined to comment and put their own viewpoint forward.

But if you write a short post that concentrates on a particular feature (so in my line it could be about website copywriting, email content, newsletters, SEO etc.), the reader will take that information away with them and use it and may be less inclined to comment (unless of course they disagree with you).

I guess what it comes down to is:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What do you want to get out of your blogging?

A good idea to make sure you cover all bases is to mix up your posts – have some long, some short, infographics, videos etc., so you provide something for everyone.

It’s not enough just to churn out the same old, same old week after week. A bit of variety will keep your audience entertained and help attract a wide spectrum of readers.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on this?

Are you a long or short fan?

Leave a comment below.

Copywriting Lessons from Jonas Jonasson

I love reading.

When I’m not working, cycling or doing family stuff I usually have my nose firmly planted in a good book.

At the moment I’m reading “The Girl who Saved the Kind of Sweden” by Jonas Jonasson, his follow up to his best selling debut novel “The Hundred-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared.”

I love Jonas’s style.

His writing is simple, honest and unpretentious.

His characters are well rounded and have a depth that makes them come to life.

As for the story line, it simply draws you in and compels you to keep reading.

What has any of that got to do with copywriting?

Quite a lot as it happens.

Simple, honest, unpretentious

Jonas’s novel is a work of fiction. Your marketing copy must be fact, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

I’ve written many times in the past about companies demanding jargon-filled copy that’s crammed with hyperbole because they think it makes them look impressive.

The most impressive copy is that which simply tells the reader about the benefits they’ll enjoy.

You see the most effective copy is that which taps into the mind of the reader. They are your customers and therefore you should understand what makes them tick.

  • What challenges are they facing?
  • How will your product solve them?
  • How will you help them?

If you use simple language your message comes across clearly. Customers aren’t impressed by how many syllables you can cram on to a page, they just want straight-forward talking that’ll tell them what you’re going to do for them – i.e. what makes you different.

Now, in trying to uncover their USP, many companies claim all sorts of things, but never actually follow through. Granted, your promises might draw in customers, but once they realise they are empty they’ll head for the hills, but not before they’ve told all their friends on social media about you, potentially losing you even more custom.

If you’re going to make claims about great customer service, money back guarantees or incredible offers, make sure you follow through and don’t hide a myriad of terms and conditions in the small print.

In simple terms, always use this formula if you want your copy to be a success:

Simple language + benefits + honesty = compelling copy

  • Don’t try to be clever
  • Tell them how you’ll help them
  • Focus on your customers not your company
  • Be honest
  • Use simple language

 

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

 

 

Social Sharing Myths – Infographic

Do you think you understand the mechanics of social sharing?

Well, you probably don’t. A recent article in The Drum caught my eye as it contained a very interesting infographic that takes a look at the myths of social sharing.

Rather than boring you with a round-up of what the research by RadiumOne found, here’s the infographic – you may find it surprising.

Myths of social sharing

SMEs and Copywriting

Writing phobia

Do you have a fear of public speaking?

Perhaps you’re none to keen on clowns, buttons or flying.

Whatever your fear, you’re not alone.

The funny thing is that if your fear is one of the above you’re quite happy to talk about it. But there’s one fear many SMEs and small business owners don’t like to talk about – the fear of writing.

Are you bothered about how your customers see you?

Everything you write reflects on your business.

Your customers will get their first impression about your company from your website, emails, newsletters, press releases, articles…I could go on forever.

What impression are they getting?

The words you use will influence their opinion of you so it’s essential you get it right first time.

Feeling the pressure now?

One of the main objections SMEs have about using the services of a professional copywriter is that the writer doesn’t know their business as well as they do.

That’s true, but that’s not why you hire a copywriter.

You need one because they know what words to use to reach out to your customers, engage with them and convince them to buy from you.

Through their expertise your company looks professional, caring and focused on your customers’ needs.

What a copywriter can do for you

The main task that many companies are happy to outsource is the writing of their web copy. After all, not only does that have to engage the reader it also has to work well in the search engines, so you have to know what you’re doing to get the results you want.

But other than website copywriting, a copywriter will also create:

  • eBooks – to build your reputation
  • Press releases – to boost your exposure
  • Blogs posts and articles – to bolster your online marketing
  • Landing pages – to give weight to your offers
  • Sales letters – to make sure they don’t get binned
  • Ads and product descriptions – to make sure they sell the benefits
  • Taglines – to get you remembered
  • Emails – to boost your sales and build customer relationships
  • Brochures – to make sure they sell and not just inform
  • Speeches and presentations – to drive your message home
  • Profiles and bios – to tell the world what you do and how you can help
  • Video scripts – to engage your audience
  • Re-purposing content – to reach all your customers
  • SEO copy – to boost your visibility in the search results
  • How to guides and tutorials – to help your customers’ understanding

How many of those could you do with to strengthen your marketing efforts?

The greatest strength you have is to know your weaknesses. Your business and your customers deserve the best. Finding a copywriter that you can work with will result in an exponential growth of your business and happy customers that will return time and time again (and bring their friends).

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

 

This is Why Your Brochure Tanked

Is there really a place for brochures in today’s online world? Brochure copy

Of course there is.

Whether you have them printed as a hand-out for exhibitions or conferences, or as a PDF download from your website, brochures remain a valid form of marketing collateral.

So, if that’s the case, why did your last one tank?

Why did no one read it?

Your brochure is only as good as the images and words it contains and brochure copywriting isn’t as easy to write as you may think.

Here are some of the main reasons why your brochure failed.

#1 Re-using existing copy

Before I begin, if you think all you have to do is copy the content from your website and paste it into your brochure, think again.

You are creating your brochure for a specific purpose, so it’s important the information it contains is relevant.

#2 Relevancy

Normally, your brochure exits to promote a new product or service (occasionally a range of services).

If that’s the case don’t fill the pages with stuff about everything else you do. Granted, you can have a page at the back that gives an overview of that stuff, but the main focus should be on the product you’re promoting.

#3 Going all literary

You already know that your website copy should be chatty, informal and interesting, so why have you just filled your brochure with mind numbing hyperbole?

Just because you’re writing for something that’s (potentially) going to be published doesn’t mean you’re writing a classic work of fiction.

You’re writing for the same audience so keep your language simple and your style the same as your web copy. Remember, it should look as though it’s come from the same company.

#4 Naff images

Why use stock images that have no relevancy to your business when you can get your own graphics created and photos taken?

This brochure is supposed to represent your business, so make sure your imagery is personal to you.

#5 Talk to the reader

Don’t write your brochure in the third person.

It’s there to convince the person reading it to buy from you, make contact or book an appointment. Use the second person (i.e.’you’) to talk to them directly and tell them how buying from you will benefit them.

#6 Tell them what they need to know not what you want to talk about

As a business owner, it’s tempting to tell the world how great your company is and how hard you’ve worked to get where you are today.

The problem is your customers really don’t care.

They want to know how you’re going to help them, why their lives will be better as a result and how to get in touch. It’s as simple as that.

Keep your content focused on your customer not on your business.

How many of those are you guilty of?

Brochures can be powerful tools when written correctly.

Writing for your own company can be tough, which is why it is a good idea to bring in an external copywriter with no knowledge of your company who can look at what you do from a customers’ perspective.

 

Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

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