"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Does Size Matter? Examining the "Perfect" Blog Post Structure for Your Audience

Let's face it: during tough economic times, everybody's trying to get a greater yield for their time and money.
With a "supply and demand" mentality, businesses are responding accordingly with "value added" deals and super sized options. 

In the publishing arena, many bloggers believe that they should follow suit. That the more words they use to create, elaborate and elucidate, the greater the "perceived" value of their intended message.
Not necessarily. Not always.

A prime example here is Seth Godin, a best-selling author, marketer and speaker.
He has a huge, cult-like following, and much like E.F. Hutton, "when he speaks, folks listen."
Seth is legendary for his unique, short and insightful blog posts that often resonate with readers in less than 250 words. You can check out his powerful pieces here:

 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Now, to the post at hand...

Are you in a "blog fog" when deciding how long your posts should be?
Or maybe how frequently you should post updates?

I've got you covered. Today we'll look at a few factors you should examine when you sit down at the keyboard.

But, before we embark upon our journey, let's be clear here: at the end of the day, it's a personal choice. Do you!
Still, to maximize your efforts, compete with other sites in your niche area, and to "work smarter, not harder," you'll need a strategic approach going in.

With this in mind,

HERE'S WHAT YOU SHOULD TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION...
  • Your target audience
Who are they? Are they stay at home moms? Lawyers? Students? Pet lovers? Working professionals? What's the age range? The more you know about them, the easier it becomes to identify their lifestyle and readership needs. For example, many of my followers are busy professionals. They work as writers and editors, in addition to juggling other careers, family obligations, etc. As such, I try to construct posts that are brief but substantive in nature. Posts that value their time and constraints. You should too.
  • The purpose of your blog
What is the main objective of your site? Is it to share recipes? Increase awareness of an important cause? Showcase your work? To rant? To dish the dirt on celebrities? Align the size of your post with your readers' "appetite." In other words, if I am visiting a site that is recreational in purpose, I don't want to be held "captive" with a 2500 word book review or rant on a bad boss. Thanks, but no thanks. I've already read through "War and Peace." I will, however "consume" a 2500-word post that addresses important literary techniques to improve my craft, or one that shares a personal and compelling essay, with excellent take-away value. There's great validity to the expression, "Less is more."
  • Your "gift to gab"
Writing can be compared to verbal conversations. And if I'm being honest here, not everyone has the skills to "entertain" and engage for a lengthy period of time without becoming boring. Do you feel me here? I like to think of it this way. When I'm getting to know someone, I would much rather leave our time spent together with a desire to learn more, to be intrigued by a sense of mystery, than to feel overwhelmed and imposed upon. How about you?
  • The time you have to devote to "connecting"
When blogging works as it should, it enhances your creative career, builds important relationships, and improves your bottom line. Which means that it should never conflict with important assignment deadlines for clients, keep you from completing that novel, or require a real "mental haul." My point? If writing long posts takes up valuable time that should be devoted to other important pursuits, adjust accordingly. Maybe you should do a combo of short and long installments, as your schedule dictates.
  • The Call to Action
What would you like readers to do after they read your particular post? Buy something? Comment? Think differently? Register for a class? Purchase property? If your piece is promotional or instructional, typically it should be relatively short and to the point. After all, you don't want folks to be too exhausted after reading your content to carry out the desired task. Hello?
  • The Clues and Comments
Often we can find the needed answers to our blogging questions by simply reviewing the analytics and readers' feedback provided at our site. For instance, I've noticed that weekend posts typically receive fewer views comparatively than the ones posted on Tuesdays.
I've also discovered that I garner more comments on personal posts than I typically do with guest posts featured; though results sometimes vary.
Assess. When you look at your posts collectively, do longer ones or the shorter receive more views? More comments?  "Lather. Rinse. Repeat."

WHAT THE "EXPERTS" RECOMMEND...

I would be remiss if I didn't mention here that studies on blogging and related behaviors suggest that longer posts, (2000 words or more) typically:
  • Receive more social media shares
  • Result in more search engine traffic
  • Allow you to leverage the power of long tail keywords
  • Result in more link-backs

Well folks, that's the long and short of it.
My contention here is that size without substance should never be your goal.
Choose wisely.

Thoughts?
What size do you prefer?

5 comments:

  1. Great article. I believe the best piece of advice is find your blogging purpose. Mine varies, as sometimes it is to entertain, make announcements, inspire or inform. I am sure if I tightened my focus and targeted a specific audience, I would have more followers. Related photos draw attention.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much, Linda. Purpose is indeed the key.

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  3. By the way, Congrats on your recent achievement!

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