What Is The Perfect Length For Content (and 15 Ways To Hit This Target)
What is the ideal length for blog posts?
That is a question that I get asked almost every week.
And for good reason.
The web is packed with confusing advice on how long the ideal blog post should be.
Well in this data-driven article you will learn exactly how long your blog posts should be and also 15 solid tips from the trenches to help you write this amount daily, including:
- You will learn what online tools are out there to help you write faster
- Mental tricks to ensure you are in the ‘writers zone’.
- Reverse engineer a viral article (so your article will go viral)
- And much more.
Let’s do this:
How Long Should My Next Blog Post Be?
In fact an analysis of the posts that rank highest on Google showed that long form content is more likely to get your content ranked on page 1 of Google, not to mention studies show that longer content is likely to attract more social shares and increase the amount of time that a visitor spends on your site which is great for SEO.
It is pretty clear that if you are in the business of digital content creation, then you need to be putting together long form posts.
However it is all well and good saying this, it is entirely another thing to crank out 2700 words posts, 5 days a week.
But what if I told you that you could start creating long form posts quickly and not only once a week but once a day?
Sounds too good to be true?
Well stay here and I will share with you my 15 tips that helped me to do just that, and in the process allow me to get thousands of social shares for clients.
The image below shows my Grammarly account ‘words checked’ ratio for a week of high content production.
Now all of those words weren’t from blog posts but over 5 days it works at 9,310 words each day, and yes this was what I refer to as a ‘power week’. This is where I create a lot of client work in rapid succession.
So how many words do you need to be creating to try and write 5 posts each week that are around 2700 words?
Well, simple maths will tell you 13,500 (and yes I needed a calculator for that bit of simple maths).
Now if you want a bit of fun, walk over to the person responsible for your company blog and ask them to start writing 2700 word posts each day.
I will be willing to guess that their face would soon drain of all colour.
That was me a few years ago.
I wrote 500-word blog posts, and I thought I had done a great job.
These days, if I write 1500 words for a post, I think I have had an easy time of it.
But like I say, it wasn’t always like this. I struggled to write a few hundred words, but over time, I picked up lots of tips and tricks that helped me to write more.
And so here are my 15 best tips to help you to create amazing articles every day:
15 Tips To Help You To Write Long Form Blog Posts (Every Day)
1. Write About A Subject You Know To Craft Creative Digital Content At Speed
Genuine knowledge is far different than just regurgitating a subject. That’s why I like working with a client over a 6 or 12-month period.
Over that period my knowledge of their subject or field gets more detailed and as such my posts tend to become more personal to the audience.
When I first started doing this I had no clue what I was doing; I just tried to write for an audience and things fell flat. However over time I have created a system which gives me a real way to supercharge my knowledge.
a)The first step is to head over to my Amazon and start going through the best books in my clients industry
b)Next up I will go to my Blinkist app or to their home site to see if those books are on the app.
Blinkist is an app where all sorts of non-fiction books have been broken up to the essential bite size chunks or Blinks as they call them. So you get all of the good bits and zero of the fluff, and this helps me to increase my knowledge in a subject.
c) I will also purchase the number 1 textbook for that industry from Amazon as well.
Now, this may seem like a lot of work. However, my clients and more importantly, their audience deserve this level of detail.
But wait, that’s not all.
My next step is to go to Buzz Sumo and start to look at what posts have been shared the most in a subject matter.
This will also help me to look deeper into the subject audience to know what people care about and like to share. In the above example, it is clear that people are concerned about the amount of hidden sugar in their drinks. However, this system works for any audience.
My research period for a new client lasts about 4 weeks, and I will map it out using a tool called Scapple.
Scapple is from the same people that gave you Scrivenor
It is pretty straightforward to use but what I do is map out my subject into sections.
For example, I will start with the core subject such as Nutrition:
I will then add to the outside of this core subject all the important secondary subjects that the audience relates to the core. For example, people tend to search for articles on nutrition when they suffer from illnesses or have friends that do.
The next step is to add another level of subjects onto each broad category and research all the top posts in each of these. In the end, I have a map that looks a bit like this (I have only used this as an example using Nutrition)
As you can see I soon have all the best articles for any field all at a click away, and this also gives me numerous things to write about.
Once I have a good knowledge of a subject, my writing speed about that subject rapidly increases.
2.Read All The Other Posts on Page 1 and 2 of Google To See What I Need To Surpass
Once I have my map of all the best/ relevant posts on the web, I HAVE to read them.
If I do not, I will not be able to see how I can improve on them.
I did this for my post on Social Media Strategies. Having gone to Google in my research phase, I saw the top results for the search term.
I looked at all the posts on the first page and started to ask myself one question:
“If I searched for this in Google would I be happy with the result?”
The answer was, of course, no, and I went about building a post that I thought people would find useful. So far the feedback has been amazing and in time, it will rank on Google as this blog evolves and I promote the post.
However, you can’t write great content unless you read the posts that have already been written on the subject.
Once you have done that you can save time by writing better posts.
Although this might not mean you write more words (sometimes less is more).
You do not want just to repeat what has already been written, but you can pick up great ideas by reading all the best posts on the subject and this saves time.
A lot of time you might see a post that has good content in it that is poorly explained or lacks detail, this is your chance to improve the content.
3. Learn To Type Faster To Fire Out Rapid Content
It is without a doubt that my years in the police helped me to become a faster typist, my two fingers are pretty quick (people used to joke that the 2 fingers were like my six shooters) but I know I could up my game seriously if I started to learn to touch type.
Neil Patel wrote an excellent piece about typing faster, and I am also trying to learn this process.
However to get started, you can take a test and also pick up some lessons at keyhero.
Just head over to their site and take the free test to check out your speed.
Once you have taken the test and have an idea of your speed simply go to the free lessons and start to follow the instructions and get your scores:
In his book The First 20 Hours Josh Kaufman (who also wrote The personal MBA) takes you through a variety of methods of Touch Typing.
He settles on the Colemak keyboard to increase his typing speed and touch typing. He chooses this method because Qwerty touch typing takes more effort
Although he goes into detail on how to change your keyboard into a Colemak version in the book, the keyboard layout looks as follows:
Whatever method you choose, by increasing your typing speed you will see your content production increase.
4. Save Content As You Discover It To Have An Abundance Of Great Ideas and Links
While I do a hell of a lot of research for every article and read a book on my clients niche before doing anything. I also study well in advance by using Pocket.
Pocket is my favourite app as it allows me to save almost anything on the web.
While on my general web surfing routines I look for interesting articles and links that I might use in the future. Once I see them I click on the Chrome extension, and it is saved.
Over time, I have collected a huge database of useful articles and resources
Although there is a free version, I have the super cheap premium version so I can sort into lists and never lose anything.
However in both the premium and free versions there is a great recommended feature which shows me useful articles across the web based on my interests
The result is that I have an endless supply of articles to reference and link to in my content and that is really helpful when it comes to the writing process.
5. Write How You Speak To Speed Up Your Typing
If you struggle with writing, one of the best copywriting tips is to write in a ‘conversational tone’.
Freelance writer Laura Spencer has written over 1400 blog articles, and she states that writing in a conversational tone helps to build credibility and rapport with the reader.
In my experience, it is certainly easier to write in this manner than to try and use overly complicated phrases into my articles.
The best tip I have is to write as if you were talking to a group of people and your words will soon start to flow.
6. Quit Before You Write A Frankenstein Post
I know this sounds counterproductive, but trust me.
If you are writing a post and it starts to suck, or you are getting bored of writing it simply quit before you create a monster that no one loves.
I call these types of posts ‘Frankenstein’ posts.
A bad post can do serious damage to your brand and bad posts happen when you are getting fed up with a post and that takes place a lot when you are writing super long ones.
If you look at another blog, I run you will see that there are 148 drafts and 80% of them are posts I abandoned because they just came out wrong.
Sometimes it may take me about an hour or two before I start to realise they were terrible, but as soon as I do I quit the post and move on.
Save yourself time and create epic content that is fun to write.
7. Use Images To Inspire You
I love images, in fact, I have a premium account with Fotolia for that purpose.
However, images do not only inspire my readers they also help me on a daily basis, so much so, that I devote a good portion of my day now looking for inspiring photos.
Luckily I stumbled upon the Chrome extension called Momentum
What this extension does is add a stunning image to your Chrome dashboard every time you open another tab.
This change has made a massive difference to my writing because I get to experience beauty every day even when stuck behind the laptop.
It’s a little touch that does wonders for my mood.
8. Write For One Reader That Can Change Your Life and Pitch To Them
A problem people have when writing is that it can be daunting when your are writing for a large audience.
This causes you to ‘over think’, and that slows you down.
Instead, you want to write as if your audience was just one person.
Not only will this help in becoming more conversational with your tone, but it is also because all you want to do is affect just one person!
You might not know but Social Media guru Gary Vaynerchuk has a great saying “One is greater than zero”.
Although the video below really explains it all in essence you have no idea who is reading your blog unless they go on to share it.
An example of this was a blog I once wrote that went viral. Facebook shares went through the roof because an Olympic Gold Medalist shared the post and I got pinged.
On another article I wrote recently for another client, I know that the boss of a leading sports organisation read the article because his office emailed some contacts of mine.
So I tend to use my posts as super long ‘Elevator pitches’.
I aim for every piece of content to be enough for that one person to want to use my services in some way.
I know, my articles affect and transform individual opinions, and that is my aim, I write each article as if I am writing a personal post to the chairman of a huge organisation that could change my business.
In the process, I will start to grab the attention of others but by focusing on writing for that one person, I can write far more effectively. Anyway, check this video that explains the one is greater than zero effect!
9. Reverse Engineer A Viral Article
Social Triggers was a term I first read about in the blog by the same name created by Derek Halpern.
In essence, the art of including social triggers is all about getting people to share your blog post. However, I have found that by focusing on their use it actually encourages me to write longer content.
In simple terms, I am triggering my brain to keep going’.
So how do I do this?
To start off, we need to have a brief idea of why posts go viral. Fortunately, Jonah Berger who is an associate professor of marketing wrote a super book called Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
It is a manual of virality, and it contains all you need to know about achieving this result. However to make life easy for you, in a nutshell, I try to make content:
Useful and practical, High In Emotions or also Positive.
As a blog writer, I need to have the drive and energy to keep going, so I tend to create my social triggers in the article in advance and build out from there.
For example, when writing this post (which I knew would be a long one) I had already done my research long ago but I wrote all 17 steps out in advance in the blog and then mass uploaded the images.
Once they were uploaded, I inserted them into the relevant sections.
The images and headlines were all high on utility and as such they were a great reminder of the goals of this post.
This is a massive change in the way most people write blog posts.
It is almost as if I build my post outwards.
I know that social triggers are really important, so I start there, then I add images because I also understand that images help to improve a posts engagement.
This small writing trick has made a huge difference to my writing because I am constantly reminded about the value of utility.
In other posts, I make sure the positive emotions are included in sub-headers throughout the post.
I almost always change them but these general ‘social sharing’ triggers help me to get to the end of a big post.
10. Keep A Note Book To Keep Article Ideas
It sounds too easy to be of use, but a writing diary is something I have used for years.
I have loads of them all filed away.
So what’s in them?
Basically, everything I have ever learned about SEO, writing and all my ideas that just hit me.
It was after reading James Altuchers book ‘choose yourself’ that taught me to take it a step further.
I have a small book that I keep on me or in the car. This is my idea book.
I try and write ideas for business and also headlines in this book every day and aim for 10 each day. We will discuss headlines later. However, my diary allows me to make notes on things I learn from and the headline writing is key to my progress.
11. Take Breaks To Become More Productive
Even though it is great to quit a post if isn’t going to plan, you also need to recognise that becoming more productive is essential to getting more done.
I used to work with a guy that everyone thought was super productive.
Every day he would answer and make calls, he would go to meetings and be in and out of the bosses office holding a piece of paper.
One day my boss was talking about ‘how hard this guy worked’. So I was forced to ‘call him out’ on it.
“Ok, he works hard but just what has he produced?” I asked.
My boss stuttered because he didn’t know.
This same issue can affect content creators.
Facebook, emails and everything in between can distract you from your goals.
One technique worth considering is The Pomodoro Technique
The premise of this is that you set a timer for 25 minutes and work distraction free before having a 5-minute break and moving forward.
While this is a great approach, I have found that just having a ‘high-quality break’ can help me to achieve more.
By high quality I mean going to the gym, going for lunch or even watching a film. I have found they can add to my productivity. Although good luck telling your boss you are off to watch a film at work.
Interestingly enough I have found Facebook and the general news to be the biggest distraction. To solve this, I turn my phone on airplane mode and log out of my desktop
Every bit helps!
12. Write First Edit Later
Hemmingway has been accused of saying: “write drunk edit sober”. While he may or may not have said this the advice is designed to get you simply writing freely and then edit.
My process looks like this:
Write 1st Draft
Wait A Day
Read And Edit
Wait A Day
Read And Edit Again
Run Through Grammarly (my grammar app)
Send To Client
This might sound alike a long process because it is. And guess what……
I still make mistakes and errors. However if I start trying to edit the article while writing it I end up slowing down and this makes for a bad experience for my article on a whole.
So the message is to write more content, just get writing and take care of the spelling later.
13. Understand The Flesch Reading Ease Test
The Flesch Reading Test might not be something you know much about but if you use word press and have the SEO by Yoast plug-in installed you will see that the plug-in assesses your post for the way it reads.
However do you know what the Flesch test is?
Well according to our friend Wikipedia the Flesch- Kincaid readability test was developed in 1975 for the Navy and later used for the Army.
The goal of the test was to make sure that manuals were able to be read by people and that they weren’t too complex.
We see this all the time, textbooks, blog posts and studies that are simply too over complicated.
With a combination of technical terms, long sentences and complex words that no one really understands all add up to making content that no one wants to read.
Instead of making your posts over complicated you need to write in a way that your audience can absorb, this is what the Flesch test is all about.
I aim to make all of my posts between 90 and 70 scores, not because I have 11-year-old readers, but because I want my readers to enjoy being here.
To finish off I have a great analogy….
My old boxing coach used to say to me “make an easy night for the judges, all they do all night is watch boxing, make life easy for them so they can score the fight. Land clean and crisp punches.
The same goes for your content audience.
They read content all day long, often at night as well so make their life easy and don’t try and be clever, just deliver content in a format they can read, learn and absorb.
For you, this means you just need to focus on writing, and not trying to be clever. It speeds things up for you!
14. Focus on Headlines Last
One of the best tips that I ever had was writing headlines.
Your headline is perhaps the most important thing you will ever write.
According to stats only 2 out of 1o blog visitors will read past your headline, so you better be certain that your headline matches the content or that back button soon gets pressed.
How to get past this?
Get writing headlines every day.
Super blogger Jon Morrow is a big advocator of headlines, and he provides several free guides.
I can spend up to 2 hours on a headline, but I started to shorten this by a huge amount.
My trusty notebook of course.
Because I write headlines everyday, I have a ton of them all lined up. All I do is change the keywords.
Now imagine if I chose to write the headline first?
You got it; nothing would get done. There would be no post, no article and my content would production would stall.
So do not start worrying about the headline, just get writing about the subject.
15. Get Up Early
Our final tip is simple.
Get your ass up early!
I started getting up at either 5 am or 6 am, and it helped my content creation levels rise by 30%.
The answer comes down to that adage; work smarter not harder.
I started off by planning my morning routine last thing at night, so when the alarm went off, I was able to go downstairs and crank out a few thousand words before the kids got up.
So when the rest of the world woke up I was ahead of my content creation plan for the day and could answer emails, go on client calls and more.
So there you have it.
15 ways to rapidly create more content.
No one said this was going to be easy, but that is why content is expensive, it takes time and effort.
However over 12 months of writing as a professional with my own digital content creation company I have learned some hacks that can really get me cranking out high levels of content.
Now go out there and see if you can get a 2,700-word post done in the next seven days.
Set yourself the challenge and let me know how you go on.