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Less Is More: 6 Reasons Why Long Form Content May Not Work For You


MARCH 2017

There is still an on-going debate as to which form of content you should use in content marketing and promoting your brand. An expert content provider may say long form is better since you can put in more information, more keywords and give more value. Others will say K.I.S.S. Keep It Short and Simple especially in the Internet world full of distractions and readers’ shorter attention spans.

Yet, many recent researches say that long form still reigns supreme over short form. People actually prefer and share long form more which, for marketers, is quite time consuming to produce and it also eats up on the budget. So, do we still invest in it? Is it still worth it?

Does this mean you should snub long-form altogether? Maybe. In some cases, short form may be most appropriate for your brand. The debate is still raw. Do you go for long form or short form? Do you emphasize curiosity or short-attention spans?

Let’s consider some reasons why long form may not work well for you:

  1. What to prioritize?

While you may want to prioritize feeding your readers’ curiosity – readers who always want to know more about what goes on around the world – you cannot satiate his hunger. There are just too many things he is interested in.  It’s obvious that long form requires more attention from readers to consume every bit of information you offer. Can your expert content provider produce long form articles that guarantee this kind of attention? Probably not. Therefore you should produce one that engages your readers to your topic. Something that can be difficult to do.

  1. Do they have time to read?

It’s not only about short attention spans. It has more to do with multi-tasking and too many things to do and go over around the Internet. People won’t always have the luxury of reading long form. Yes, there’s always a SAVE button for later reading, but if you’re like me, I hardly go back to my saved posts. Not only because I forget about them. I also save too many for me to read at a later time. Most of which don’t get relevant anymore.

  1. Does it go viral?

Yes long form gets to be shared more but it doesn’t go viral in most cases. You want your brand to spread like wildfire and be known instantly. This form doesn’t do so well in the viral scale. Short form still lords it over in going viral. Why? Because that’s just it! It’s in short, easily digested form, in multimedia format and most importantly, it’s highly entertaining. The fun part is hard to beat over 3,000 words. And this can be easily incorporated in a short fun article. Remember, making readers laugh is a sure-fire way to engage them.

  1. Is it long enough?

Length cannot guarantee a higher ranking. It will be shared more, but it may not land you high in SERPS. You still have to create good quality, engaging content to satisfy other factors. Your long form needs to be well written in terms of structure, form, visuals, etc. so that readers stay on and don’t click X. There’s still short attention span to consider when you want rankings.

  1. Do you just follow the leaders?

You might succumb to the pressure. Successful writers and bloggers who are so used to and known for producing long form didn’t start out that way. Your writing style may not take off right away so don’t think that, “Hey, the cool bloggers are doing it, I should be in on it as well.” Some people love Buzzfeed-ish blogs because of its short structures (animated clips, short sentences, etc.). These short form makers know what makes their audience respond to.

  1. Do you have the skill?

Can you write as well as those established bloggers? You’d be surprised as to how skillful or unskillful some writers are at making less than 1,000 word articles. How much more for 3,000 words and still make it interesting. Some topics may not require a ton of details so keeping it short may just be the most appropriate approach.


To consider doing long form may be a no-brainer for content 2017, seeing that many SEO gurus and content marketing help still highly recommend it. However, the disappointment lies in the business side of things. Marketers need to explain to business owners why they don’t get the results they were expecting in the first place.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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