It’s easy to write a small novel when writing content, but this only overwhelms your audience causing them to disengage. I know, because I still struggle to keep content information simple, targeted and to the point. So, I did some research to find the ideal length of content for readers and thought I’d share what I learned with you.
Content Length To Keep Your Audience Engaged
Some people say that your post needs to be as long as it takes for you to get your message across to your audience. This is true, however, people want fast reliable information that will solve their problems NOW.
Other factors to consider in your blog post that I won’t address in this post are:
- SEO optimization so that you rank high with the search engines like Google;
- Catchy headline that grabs the attention of your target audience;
- You have properly identified your target market, their problem and your solution solves the problem you have identified.
Research Results: Content Length
You have about 30 seconds to grab the attention of your audience with your content before they lose interest and move on. It’s in providing posts that “say more with less words” that Seth Godin built his publishing empire in a “write tight” style with posts containing 200-300 words.
To determine the ideal length of content for online text and media, two social media tools, SumAll and Buffer, partnered together to research audience engagement based on clicks, shares and other interactions of content. Here are some of the highlights:
Blog Post Headlines
6 words. People read the first three words and the last three words. Make every word count.
Your ideal blog post should begin around 1600 words and read in about 6 minutes. Blog posts over 2,500 words had the greatest number of shares. However, this is still rather large. Yoast SEO suggests that ideal content be at least 300 words.
Open paragraphs should be 40-55 characters. But note, this is not the number of words. You can always increase the font size in the first paragraph to make the paragraph more pleasing to your reader.
Podcasts should be around 22 minutes. After 22 minutes your audience’s attention rate crashes.
YouTube videos should be about 3 Minutes. This is based on the average number of minutes videos were viewed on YouTube.
Facebook Live Stream Video
The report did not show any information regarding live stream video on social media platforms. However, based on my own engagement and suggested video time length from industry leaders like Ray Higdon and Nadya Melton, take into consideration why people are on social media, to socialize. Most people will not watch the live stream, but they will watch the replay.
To increase the number of people watching your live stream give people advance notice for when you will go “live”.
The length of time depends on the number of people engaging in your live video stream. If not many people are engaging, keep the length around 2-5 minutes.
If you have several people present during the live stream get the engaged by asking them questions. You can keep the live broadcast going as long as you have an interested, engaged audience.
Status updates on your personal page should be around 40 characters. These posts get around 86% more engagement than posts that are longer.
Posts on LinkedIn should be around 25 words to receive the most shares.
The optimal length of a Tweet is 71 to 100 characters.
Content Length Research Infographic
The following infographic summarizes the research findings for content length.
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