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Content Preferences: Long vs. Short - What Works Best?

What do you prefer, long or short…talking about content here :) - coffeetable  

In a fast-paced digital world where most people speed read through articles and posts, retaining information that catches our eye, content creators often find themselves in a fix over long-form and short-form content. Short-form content includes blog posts, social media posts, slideshows, infographics, and email campaigns with a word count of fewer than 1,000 words. In 2019, Buzzsumo stated around 75% of B2B businesses are still largely creating short-form content, which is sure to have increased by now– the reasons for which are: 

Content Preferences

Briefly, please 

With so many things to cross off our to-do lists and even more distractions, it’s a miracle we even get shut-eye at night. Social media channels work according to this very principle: users don’t have as much time as they used to in the past so let’s cut to the chase with what we have to say (i.e. 240 characters on Twitter, 15-second stories on Instagram on top of a 24-hour expiration).  

A survey found that 39% of B2B buyers wished B2B vendors could be concise and hence more impactful with shorter content. We want answers. When do we want them? Now. How do we want it? 

It’s a no-brainer!

If you’re outsourcing content, then naturally short-form attracts you most because it’s quicker to deliver for the third party and less pricey for you. With little effort, you have a bunch of snappy posts by midday and half your checklist checked. Just because it’s shorter, doesn’t mean it's any less powerful. For most strategies, videos under ten minutes cash in the highest ROI.

On the downside, long-form content, though more intensive, keeps readers on page for longer (check out my next post). 


At a glance.


As partakers of the Information Age, we’re consuming more media than one can imagine. Our screen time crosses 10 hours and our media is ample. We don’t have the capacity and the patience to read through every nugget of info we stumble upon. We’re professional skimmers and short-form content is where we shine. Since it takes mere seconds to view and absorb, it becomes the highlight of every content creation strategy. 


It’s on the tip of my tongue!


Is it though? Because if it were you would've said it. We read so much, so often that we easily forget and long-form content doesn't help us with recall. Audiences can forget the brand that published the article which can backfire if you aimed to raise brand awareness. 

 Nevertheless, there’s a silver bullet and its name is short-form which maximizes relatability and emotional appeal, to help you and your audiences stay in the loop.

I have to squint to read this. 

Data analytics report users’ average smartphone screen time a good 5-6 hours, making mobile content a significant part of daily life. In a majority of circumstances, those viewing content on mobile devices are more likely to indulge in short-form content, as it’s easier on the eyes. Clips like Reels and Tik Toks which combine crisp text with audio and video were designed keeping smartphone usage in mind and are the reason why they’re the latest wrinkle. 

Your content must be as long as to completely answer the reader’s search query and that’s it. Any successful content marketing strategy is a blend of both short-form and long-form. However, if you still think you must maximize one over the other, check what your SERP competitors are writing. Understand the intent before you start creating content! Determine whether your audience is the most receptive to long-form or short-form content with metrics such as traffic, conversions, and engagement.

Produce short-form content if your business goals are to:

  1. Produce content quickly

  2. Post a large quantity of content promptly or on a pre-set schedule

  3. Create a mobile-friendly website

  4. Be remembered by your audience

  5. Be accessed by mobile device users

  6. Increase engagement

  7. Communicate a single or simple idea

Also, do not forget to maximize on short-form if your audience prefers to:

  1. Skim a piece of content

  2. Engage with a short-form video for education or entertainment

  3. Stay up-to-date with local, national, or international news

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