There are many pros and cons of publishing long-form content and short-form content. They each serve different benefits and suit different types of people/businesses.
If you’re considering creating some long-form content, check out my long-form content writing packages—you may get to avoid some of the cons on this list by outsourcing your content writing.
Types of short-form content
- Social media posts
- How-to guides
- Thought leadership posts
- Blog posts
Short-form content pros
It’s a great introduction to what you do
When content is only a couple of hundred words long, it’s a really good introduction to you.
If readers don’t know who you are, they’re not going to be as invested in what you have to say and they’re probably not going to read it in as much depth.
Shorter content is less of an investment, so they’re more likely to explore what you have to say.
It works well on social media
Short-form content is quick, snappy, and to the point.
Perfect for social.
It sums points up into bite-sized chunks, which is exactly what people want on most platforms.
It helps clarify your ideas
When you haven’t got a lot of space to do something, shorter content helps you clarify your ideas or direction because of its restrictions.
If you struggle with this, you could dictate what you want to say first, or brain dump ideas into a note then condense them down to the key points.
Editing it while getting everything out of your head will help you to see if you are covering multiple things in the same place, rather than trimming it down to the bare minimum.
You never know, you may even find that you get even more content ideas out of it then you would have done if you’d written it all and published it as it was.
It’s easier to put together on the fly
Since shorter content is, you know, shorter, it’s a lot easier to put together on short notice.
This can be useful if you forgot to draft something for the day, if you’re really busy, or if you’re just the type of person who prefers to write things on the day so they feel fresher and don’t go out of date quickly.
There’ll always be a place for this type of content, just like there’ll always be a place for evergreen content that was written well in advance and doesn’t date.
Short-form content cons
It’s easier to get side tracked with shiny ideas
It’s really easy to get side tracked with shorter content because you feel like you’re not going into enough detail, and you want to share more.
But the point of this is that it’s a bite-sized snippet of what you know or what someone can learn from you, and if they want to find out more, they can come to you and read some more of your content.
You can’t go into a lot of depth so it leaves your reader with a lot of questions
It can be great to publish content that offers a window into your industry.
Although, if it’s a short blog post, it can sometimes leave people with a lot of unanswered questions and wondering whether they can get them answered on your site, or if they need to go elsewhere for those answers.
So, if you’re writing something that’s more research-based or more of a think piece, you probably want to go into more detail explaining what each element is.
Anyone who’s already familiar with those areas will just skip them to get to the point while you still get the SEO benefits of going into more depth.
Types of long-form content
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Case studies
- How-to guides
- Thought-leadership posts
Long-form content pros
It can be broken down into shorter content
When you’re short on time, content repurposing is your best friend. It means you can explore one topic in depth then repurpose it in different ways like shorter written content, videos, podcast, infographics, carousels, and so much more.
Because you’ve already done all the research and already phrased it in a way that appeals to your audience, all you need to do is take snippets from your creation and tweak it to fit the new medium.
It shows off how much industry knowledge you have
When you really want to impress prospects, putting together long-form content to show off everything you know about a particular topic is a really good way to do that.
Whether you’re compiling other people’s research or you’re putting together your own, it shows how well you know your industry and what people are talking about right now.
It’s good for finding your brand voice
Longer pieces are really good for finding your voice because you have to refine it so that it flows.
There’s nothing worse than reading something on the longer side that has a disparate writing style. It’s really disconcerting and can make your reader less likely to trust you even if they can’t explain why.
It works well for your blog or as a downloadable PDF
Because of the SEO benefits, long-form content is really good for your blog.
Alternatively, it’s really good as a downloadable PDF, whether you gate it or not.
Putting this type of content behind email address capture is becoming less common as people get wise to the concept, but whether you decide to use it as a way to capture email addresses or not is really up to you.
What you could do is have it as readable on your blog for the SEO benefits, then ask for email addresses if people would like a printable version they can take and read away from the screen.
This way you get the SEO benefits, and you may also get their email address if they’re particularly interested in what you’re saying.
And your readers get the option of enjoying your findings in the way that works best for them.
It’s great for SEO
SEO absolutely loves longer content. If you’ve got a really tiny niche, you might be able to get away with writing 300 words on a topic and still ranking for number one.
But it’s unlikely that you’re going to have answered your prospects’ questions in those 300 words, because unless it’s a really simple how-to guide, most explanations take a lot longer than that.
Long-form content cons
It can be time-consuming to create
Since long-form content is usually several thousand words, it’s really not the kind of thing that can be put together at the last minute.
You need to know when you want to publish it and what you want from it, otherwise, it’s going to end up very haphazard, looking badly organised and it may not help you achieve the goal you were hoping for.
Unless you’re working with a professional writer, those thousands of words are going to take a long to write, too. And that doesn’t even include all the rounds of edits required to polish it.
You need a really clear concept
When long-form content doesn’t have a clear concept or vision, it tends to end up taking longer and being more stressful to create. This then leads to frustrations for everyone involved and means that it’s less likely to help you achieve your goals.
It can go wrong easily
Because of how long it can take to create long-form content, it can go wrong really easily.
Particularly if you have a larger team or multiple departments collaborating on it, because they’ll each want something different from that piece of content. That’s why it’s really important that everyone involved in the process agrees on a concept or direction before you sit down to create anything.
The amount of work involved creating it can lead to procrastination
There are many people who just do not like writing, and the thought of writing thousands of words brings back horrible flashbacks of being at school and given a 1,000-word essay on Pavlov’s dogs. That can be really off-putting if you don’t like writing.
So, instead of creating that really awesome long-form content that will share exactly what you know and how amazing you are, you procrastinate on it and time just seems to escape from you because you’re not making this potentially game-changing piece of content a priority.
(This is why outsourcing it can be so helpful.)
To get the most out of your content marketing, you really want to publish a balance of long-form and short-form content.
Use whatever you write about in your long-form content to inspire your short-form content, reinventing or creating something new every time you want to publish content.
Once you’ve got a topic you want to cover, write about it from every angle, including some new ones that you may not have considered had you not done further research.
That way, you’ll ensure you answer all the questions your audience may have about that particular topic.
And they don’t have to go to a competitor to find more answers or learn something new.
Don’t forget, if you’d like some help creating long-form content, I have a selection of packages available.