Published on February 4th, 2017
When I first started writing at IMPACT, every time I would be assigned something I’d ask, “How long do you want it to be?”
Maybe it’s a reflex after years and years of school essay writing requirements (XYZ must be 10 pages long, not double spaced), but I know for sure that I’m not alone in my confusion.
People love to be told what works best. It gives us a starting and an end point.
Recognizing this, SumAll and Buffer came together to answer this age old question to give us that starting point we crave. Their conclusion -- Every piece of content should be as long or short as it needs to be to convey the message, and no longer.
Okay, that was definitely not the answer I was hoping for.
But they anticipated that reaction and created the below infographic to show us some best practices when it comes to content length. Their only request, iterate off of the information you read because there really is no “ideal” length.
When it comes down to it, the content you’re sharing has to be worth your readers’ time and be long enough to do the topic justice.
As many greats have said, your article, post, guide, etc. simply should be as long as it needs to be to not leave any questions unanswered.
Here are a few things that can affect content length:
- Substance: If what you’re trying to say requires 2,000 words, that’s fine. But if you can shorten it, than you may want to do so.
- Frequency: How often you’re publishing affects how much time you can spend on each post. Good content takes time to create.
- Format: This has the biggest impact on readability. I’m talking headers, images, and paragraphs. It can ultimately dictate how long your content becomes.
- Audience: Know what your audience wants. If they prefer pictures and infographics do that. If they love long copy, do that. Whatever makes them happy and reading your content should be your end goal.
- Medium: Plan ahead and decide where you will be publishing your content. Each medium has a different set of criteria and best practice to follow. Your content may not translate well on all of the different platforms
Now, check out these highlights from SumAll and Buffer then check out the full infographic below:
- the ideal word count for a LinkedIn post should be 25 words
- it should take 6 minutes to view a SlideShare
- a domain name should have 8 characters
- Tweets should be between 71-100 characters
- Hashtags should only be 6 characters long
If you want to read more about the data-backed findings they used to create this infographic, read the entire post here!