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Long-Form Vs. Short-Form Content: Which Is Better and How Are They Different?

Investing in content marketing is crucial to building brand awareness, showcasing your authenticity, and educating your customers. While long-form content establishes your brand and provides valuable in-depth information to your target audience, short-form content keeps them satisfied when a quick answer is needed. Read on to learn the pros and cons of short-form content vs. long-form content.

long form vs short form content

What Is Short-Form Content?

Short-form content is snappy and direct. As a general rule of thumb, short-form content is almost always under 900 words or less than three minutes for videos. Of course, short-form content is usually far shorter than that!

Short-form content is easier to create and quicker to share a message with an audience, making it easy to consume. Some common examples of short-form content include advertising landing pages, infographics, short videos and mini-podcasts, social media posts, slideshows, one-sheets, email campaigns, and, of course, shorter blog posts.

Pros of Short-Form Content

The following are a few pros of short-form content which should be considered when deciding your content scope and length.

Easy to Read and Consume

Listening, reading, or watching content is easier with short-form content because ideas are precise and to the point.

Meets a Growing Demand

Short-form videos are an example of short-form content with high demand due to a faster media cycle, short attention spans, smartphone ubiquity, and other factors. This creates a need for value-driven short-form content by consumers.

Designed for Quicker Conversions

Short-form content includes short, direct messages that persuade your target audience quickly. It also offers grab-and-go answers and other immediate solutions.

Quicker and Less Resource-intensive

Short-form content is typically easier to create and takes less time and resources to produce. This is due to short-form content requiring less overarching detail and supporting data. That said, your content still needs to be accurate!

Cons of Short-Form Content

While short-form content offers numerous benefits over long-form content, there are certainly some cons as well. The following are a few of those cons:

Less Authoritative

Short-form content can be less authoritative and often delivers fewer SEO opportunities. Search engines often want to see content that shows a high level of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness). In many cases, this may mean ensuring your content has the depth to truly show you have in-depth knowledge and experience with the topic.

Overflowing and Undifferentiated Content

Short-form content can also lead to overflowing low-quality content due to faster creation time. Since short-form content requires less research and presentation of evidence, more people stick to creating this type and depth of content, making it harder to stand out against the competition and deliver true value.

Long-Form Content

Long-form content often refers to content with over 900 words or videos running for over three minutes. It includes content that ranges from longer blog articles and guides to webinars, live event recordings, white papers, case studies, product roundups, and e-books. The content is often very thorough and research-intensive to deliver all the necessary information to the target audience.

Pros of Long-Form Content

Can Rank Better in Search Engines

Long-form content is often very detailed and includes thoroughly researched information and examples, making it ideal for searches. Typically, long-form content also cites other third-party resources and studies that allow visitors to deep dive into a specific subtopic. However, if you’re writing long-form content just for the sake of improving your SEO, you’re missing the point. Write content that truly delivers value to your audience, regardless of if it’s short-form or long-from content!

Ranks for More Keywords

Longer content often provides in-depth topics that fully address questions and related subjects while introducing fresh ideas and thoughts around the issue. This arguably allows the content piece to potentially rank for more keywords thanks to search engines like Google becoming better at understanding passages and various subtopics within longer text.

Highly Actionable and Shareable

Long-form content often outperforms short-form content as it contains more actionable information regarding the topic, making it more shareable. Think about the last online resource or blog post that you thought was valuable and shared with others? Was it shorter or a more in-depth analysis?

A Reputation and Credibility Booster

Brands with a healthy dose of long-form content tend to become thought leaders and inform audiences that the brand cares about their problems and is willing to invest the time to thoroughly address a topic.

Cons of Long-Form Content

Despite its benefits, long-form content has a much higher production period and requires significantly more resources to create. Additionally, long-form content can be harder to read on mobile devices.

However, you can optimize long-form content and make it easier to skim and search using various tactics like proper heading structure, formatted text (e.g. bullets, lists, and sections), summary graphics, TL;DR sections, clickable table of contents, and more.

Is It Better to Write Short-Form or Long-Form Content?

Honestly, it depends. Both short-form and long-form content can be extremely powerful for your business. And, more importantly, both types of content can help your audience if executed properly.

The question for your specific writing topic is which type of content will work the best. To get a better idea of which format to use, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the goal of my content? What am I hoping to achieve?
  2. Can I truly answer the question or cover the topic in a short, concise manner?
  3. If I keep the content short, will my readers potentially be left with more questions or concerns than when they started?
  4. Does my audience appreciate in-depth content or quick answers to highly specific questions?
  5. Do I have the time and resources to pour into long-form content research, data analysis, recommendations, etc.?
  6. Do I have the expertise necessary, or access to others with the necessary expertise, to write in-depth content?
  7. How quickly does my content solve my readers’ problems or questions?
  8. Does Google seem to be ranking short-form or long-form content on the topic? Note that this answer may not point to one specific format, but you must critically evaluate the intent of what Google is trying to deliver to searchers.

Start Creating Content That Converts

Need Professional Help Creating Content?

If you need help optimizing your short-form or long-form content, we at Igniting Business may be able to help you. We provide personalized content marketing services tailored to your goals and budget. Contact us to get started.

Simply Need Some Tools to Make Content Creation Easier?

Alternatively, if you are simply looking for some tools to make your in-house content copywriting a bit easier, check out some of our favorite tools below:

We hope some of the above tools save you some time and effort in your content creation process. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletter to get more marketing, SEO, and web design tips delivered to your inbox on a monthly basis.

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