Ah, it’s one of the most common questions – how many words do I need to write? How long should a blog post be? Sadly, there isn’t a real, definitive answer to this question. Why not? There is no blog post success formula. Wouldn’t it be great if there was?
When writing a blog post, start by thinking about the story you want to tell, not your desired word count. I teach my teams to focus on storytelling because they write better content that way. If you tell a story that your audience likes or share information they need, they’ll read. If you focus solely on the required word count, your product won’t be as good. You’ll end up not go in-depth enough to get to the story’s essence, or you’ll add unnecessary, superfluous words to up your word count.
For example, this is word 150 in this post. If I were focused solely on my word count and going for 300 words, I would be more than halfway done. Is this article halfway done already? Personally, I feel like it’s missing a little something still. So, I’ll write a bit more, to fill out the story.
When you’re writing a blog post (or any content for that matter), think about your audience. Who do you hope is going to read the piece you’re writing? What questions might they have? Is there specific information that they’d need to know? Do they have the background knowledge to understand everything you’re going to discuss or is there something that would help them catch up?
When you think about your audience and their questions, it’s easier to find the heart of the story. Don’t bore them with things that don’t matter. At the same time, don’t assume they know everything you do about a subject and end up speaking over their heads and confusing them. Need a little guidance on this topic? Check out this post on creating the messages your audience wants.
Asking questions is a great way to grow audience engagement. If you’re working on a blog post and trying to figure out what information to include, asking your audience what questions they have can be very helpful. Ask your fans or followers – a quick status update could bring in useful information or do a little research. Try sites like Answer the Public or Quora to find out what people want to know. Use that information to build your story.
Yes. If you’re telling a good story, focus on doing it the right away. I know I’ve annoyed my writing team by sending things back for revisions, but the bottom line is it has to be complete. I know some think blogging should take a casual approach but I still believe blog posts should be well thought out, well written, and thorough. Maybe I’m old-fashioned. What do you think about the requirements for a blog post? Are they more relaxed or do they need to include beginning, middle, and end?
Some posts you write will be short and sweet and maybe 350 words. If it’s a simple topic that doesn’t need a lot of research or detailed explanation, that’s OK. Other posts could easily be 1,000 words or more. If you’re writing a how-to guide, they’re often more in-depth and could even be 1,500-2,000 words. Don’t be afraid of writing a longer post if it’s a topic that warrants the time and effort on both your part and the audience.
When you stop worrying about hitting a specific word count and instead focus on telling a great story, your writing will improve. And when you provide better content, your audience will likely read more. They might even come back because they know you’ll have something they enjoy reading. Take the time to think about what they need out of a piece of content. Write it for them, address their questions, follow basic writing guidelines, and turn out work you’re proud of every time.
If you're not sure what to include in a blog post, check out the post on How to Write a Blog Post for more tips. If you'd like to talk to the team at Etched Marketing about creating great content for your blog or website, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you!