Short-Form vs. Long-Form Articles: Which is Better?

Content is king. While this might be the title of an article written by none other than Bill Gates in 1996, it still rings true today. 

Content is essential. Critical. Vital. 

And it seems Gates was onto something. He went on to write, “content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” It’s safe to say he hit the nail on the head. 

One argument that is common nowadays is the one that exists between short-form vs long-form content. You might have even found yourself wondering, which is better regarding my content strategy for my business? 

We put together this guide to navigate through the differences between the two and help you decide which one is best for your content format. 

What is short-form content?

Depending on who you ask, you may get a few different numbers. However, most short-form content is between 500 and 1200 words (some people will cap it at 1000). It typically focuses on one subject and is quick, easy, and to the point. 

When is short-form content used?

Short-form is often used when writing:

Benefits of short-form content

Not to state the obvious, but short-form content is an effective way to get information out there without requiring your audience to commit to a lot of time. Thus,  it also requires you to spend less time creating it.   

In addition, some people prefer to read shorter stuff. We live in an on-the-go society. People are busy, and many don’t have the time or energy to read long, drawn-out content. Short-form is easier to read and consume.

And with over 4.3 billion people worldwide using their mobile devices to access the internet, short-form is also easier to make mobile-friendly. 

What is long-form?

You might be able to guess what long-form content is; content that’s more than 1,200 (or 1,000) words. Long-form takes a deeper dive into the subject, providing much more detail. As a result, it also takes your audience a little longer to read. 

When is long-form content used?

Long-form content is used in formats such as:

  • Lengthy blog posts 
  • Case studies 
  • Guides, tutorials, and evergreen pages 
  • eBooks
  • Slide decks
  • Whitepapers– an informational report that provides a solution to a problem
  • Webinars 
  • Pillar pages

Benefits of long-form content

While long-term content will require a little more time and effort on your part (and more reading for your audience), it brings a long list of advantages to your businesses’ digital marketing strategy. These benefits include:

  • Improves search engine rankings for your content 
  • Boosts reader engagement and social shares
  • Helps to build trust with your audience and authority in your business as an expert in your industry
  • Increases backlink opportunities to establish confidence within search engines
  • More room for engaging call-to-actions (CTAs) = increased conversions
  • Inspires more dialogue on your blog
  • Increases opportunities to produce more repurposed content

Choosing between long-form and short-form articles

Now that you know precisely what short-form and long-form content are, you might be asking, ok, so what’s the best when it comes to articles?

Before we answer that question, there are a few things to consider, such as what topics you usually touch on, the keywords that will be used, and which form will ultimately be effective for your audience. 

HubSpot reports that 73% of people skim through blog posts. While keeping that in mind, you also want to be sure you provide your readers with valuable articles to keep them on your website. 

The final answer

Yes, it’s important to analyze your competitors’ content. However, don’t rely solely on that information. What works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for another. 

Instead, focus on content that is as long as it needs to be to provide your visitor with the information they need and answer their questions thoroughly. 

Remember; when Gates said content is king, he didn’t specify which length. Take a look at your content strategy and base your decision on that. 

Need help coming up with killer content? Whether you need some direction with SEO or your content strategy needs a complete overhaul, Firon Marketing is here to help. We partner with small to midsize businesses to create individualized digital marketing efforts that get results!