Friday, July 5, 2013

Author Blogging 101: How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?

by Joel Friedlander

How long should a blog post be? I get asked this question all the time, mostly by people who are concerned with “doing it properly.”

What can you say in response? Most books and courses on blogging will suggest that 250 to 500 words will do, depending on your subject. That doesn’t work for me, or for lots of other bloggers.

When I got started, I noticed most of my instructional posts seemed to reach the end right around the 1,000 word mark. I didn’t choose that, but it seemed like that’s where my “meter” was set.
Your results will vary.

Look at these three highly successful bloggers who can act like case studies in how long your blog post should be, and see what you think.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a marketing and branding expert with a huge following that has helped to propel many of his books onto the bestseller lists.

Even more than that, Godin is a true thought leader, with people in many places picking up on his ideas and being inspired by them.

His post today is Polishing Perfect, a classic Godin piece on how to stop deviating and get your project moving forward. Classic line: “Stop polishing and ship instead.”

Total word count of this post: 104 words.

Glen Allsop

Not quite as famous as Seth Godin, but Allsop is only 26, so give him time. He writes long, deep posts about the essentials of online commerce.

Allsop’s writings have had quite an effect on the online marketing world, and he built a highly popular site very quickly. Many of his articles get hundreds of comments from his rabid fans.

His most recent post is Case Study: Have Your Best Product Launch Ever (Without a Single Affiliate), an article that goes into remarkable detail about a product launch while, at the same time, whetting the appetite of thousands of readers for the product being launched. Classic line: “Selling is not about getting a customer once, but having them look forward to receiving more things from you in the future as well.”

Total word count of this post: 7,925

“The Passive Guy”

Yes, I know his name is David Vandagriff, and he writes the highly popular Passive Voice blog. An intellectual property attorney, Vandagriff has a different style. Instead of writing a lot of blog articles, he curates content, posting excerpts from articles he finds online.

Sometimes he’ll post the excerpt and link with no commentary, sometimes he’ll add a sentence or a paragraph, and once in a while he’ll let loose and write a few hundred words on a subject.
Today, Passive Guy published 6 blog posts, with a total of 150 words in copy. That’s for all 6 posts.

What Did We Learn?  Okay, the 3 very popular bloggers in our case studies had word counts that ranged from none (Vandagriff) or few (about 25 words per post for Vandagriff if you average it out) to almost 8,000. Allsop’s post is 76 times longer than Godin’s. Essentially, these numbers are meaningless.

The question, “How long should my blog posts be?” is unanswerable. Your blog posts should be long enough to do the job, whatever that job is.

What’s your offer to your readers? Godin, Allsop, and Vandagriff inspire amazing passion in their followers, and keep them coming back for more.

When your passions intersect with your readers’ needs, the question itself will cease to exist.

So blog on.

Joel Friedlander is a self-published author, an award-winning book designer, and an accomplished blogger. He's the founder of the Self-Publishing Roadmap online training course, and a frequent speaker at industry events where he talks to writers about how the new tools of publishing can help them reach and inspire their readers.

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