July 12, 2012 E3

Complete Guide to Writing a Blog Post (3/4)

Knowing the proper length and frequency of posts is critical to the success of your blog.  If you recall, in Part 1 of the Complete Guide to Writing a Blog Post we discussed how to make your content unique and useful.  Then, we talked about effective post titles, opening lines, and scannable content.  In this article, I’ll introduce granular posts and some factors that affect your brand’s optimal length and frequency of posts.

Granular Post Strategy

Write Granular Posts

You want each post to focus in on a specific, tightly targeted topic.  Often times a beginner blogger will want to cram an answer to every known question in a single post.  This creates a post that is too long and unfocused, generally confusing the reader and prompting them to leave because they can’t easily find what they’re looking for.  You’ll want to break down your overall blog topic into categories and then finally into posts.  Keep in mind that granular does not mean short, it simply means the topics and content of posts are organized logically and filtered appropriately.  To illustrate:

Granular Blog Posts

So for example, E3’s blog topic is internet marketing.  We then break down that huge concept into a number of categories, such as WordPress, Video, and SEO.  Then, we write smaller, targeted posts relevant to those categories.

Optimal Blog Post Length

How long should my post be?  The answer is it depends.  The proper length of a blog post is unique to your topic and audience.  You’ll want to utilize a balancing approach and consider these relevant factors:

  • Reader Attention Span:  This varies depending on your audience.  Blogs concerning professional or sophisticated topics such as physics, law, or business do best with longer, more in-depth articles.  Consumer oriented blogs discussing topics such as gaming, sports, or fashion do much better with shorter posts; don’t have a lot of text but do have a lot of charts or pictures.  Consider who you want to be reading your posts and what you think they would want to see.  Also, check out a few of your competitors and see how long their articles are.
  • SEO:  While no one knows the Google algorithm exactly, empirical evidence has been gathered for long enough now to work out some of the algorithm’s preferences.  Search engines prefer relevancy and rank posts accordingly.  It has been a tried and true internet marketing rule that search engines like posts that are longer than 350 words, but less than 1000.
  • Comprehensiveness:  You’ll want to cover the post’s granular topic comprehensively; no more, no less.  This varies with topic, but keep your audience in mind.  If you can comprehensively cover the latest new video game release in 350 words that’s great, stop there.  If you need 900 words to discuss the impact of a new law that has passed, that’s OK too.
  • Genre:  The genre of the post can have an impact on its optimal length as well.  News posts or updates are generally shorter than product reviews or how to tutorials.

Proper Frequency of Posts

In general, the more often you write posts the better.  Search engines like sites with lots of fresh, frequently added content.  Furthermore, audiences become more connected to your blog the more often they see updates that you’ve written new content.  They interact and engage with you the more you remind them that you’re out there.  You should balance the following factors with your overall blog topic and target audience:

  • Writer Burnout:  How often can you write?  A post a day is best, but many times you’re busy doing other things, such as managing your business, studying at school, or going to your day job.  Consider how often you could actually sit down and write a post and plan accordingly.  Keep in mind each post should have at least 2-3 hours of thought, research, and proofreading.
  • Reader Burnout:  Too many posts can annoy your followers and turn them away from you.  Think of brands that you constantly see updates for.  Often times, you will unsubscribe from their mailing list.  This varies across industry.  It’s generally true that short frequent posts are good for consumer oriented topics, whereas longer, less frequent posts are better for professional or academic blogs.
  • Blog Breadth:  Some brands will have teams of writers and dozens of topics to cover.  Consider blogs such as Gizmodo or Engadget, they write dozens of posts a day and cover dozens of different topics ranging from consumer electronics, to video games, to current news events.  Consider how broad your overall blog topic is and how many resources your brand is able to bring to bear to cover all those granular posts.
  • Visitor Type:  Similar to your blog’s topic, consider who your optimal visitor really is.  Is it a purchasing agent at a large manufacturing firm?  Is it teenagers who you want to reach with your political message?  Or is it professors who want updates on current events in particle physics?  These readers want varying frequencies of posts and you should develop your post strategy to meet their preferences.  How often can your audience absorb the stellar, unique content you’ve been writing?  Too often is too much, too little is not enough.  Don’t know?  Ask ’em!

While there are no set in stone answers, the above discussion will guide your blog to make a successful content strategy in terms of post length and frequency.  Keep in mind granularity, and you’ll be golden.  In Part 4 I’ll reveal the top 15 types of blog posts, that will help you figure out just what the heck to write about!

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Comments (3)

  1. Blog is the best way for submission of link and taking of the link juice from the other sites because it content two link from different way and effect that url to place in the page ranking

  2. Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was truly informative. Your website is useful.
    Thank you for sharing!

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