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“This blog post is too long.”
“We need to cut this down to 500 words.”
“Make this shorter. Maybe split the blog post into two?”
As a social media manager, I’ve heard these comments numerous times before. Many marketers are biased against long-form content. “Less is more,” they claim. “People have short attention spans.”
It is true that being concise is often a good thing. That’s why Twitter is such a hit: It forces us to distill our thoughts and communicate only what’s truly important.
But having short content for the sake of having short content is not valuable…and it’s not a good content strategy. Brevity shouldn’t come at the price of completeness.
The rise of Big Content
In the past year, several well-respected SEO and marketing folks have been advocating for “big content.” And when people say “big content,” they often mean long-form content. But it’s worth noting that marketers and analysts are using the term “big content” differently:
- Craig Roth from Gartner says big content is “a term that helps highlight the subset of Big Data related to the less-structured side of it. Big Content isn’t new or different than Big Data; rather it helps focus on uses of Big Data for unstructured information for the kind of folks that think the Library of Congress is filled with ‘content’, not ‘data.’”
- Contrast this with this definition from Moz’s Dr. Peter J. Meyers’ definition. He says big content is the type of content that takes time and effort, that breaks the mold and that talks about big concepts. In other words, he’s talking about pieces of content—either a blog post, an interactive infographic, an ebook, etc.—that is well-researched and that is often (but not always) lengthy.
Big content should serve a higher purpose in your company than just to increase pageviews. In this post, my focus is more aligned with Moz’s definition. I’ll cover why long-form content should be part of your content marketing mix. (To be clear, I am not advocating that you stop creating shorter blog posts. The point of this post is to highlight why creating long-form content in addition to shorter pieces is a great idea.)