Content Strategy: Length and Frequency

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Andy Crestodina
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I try to write a book every day after breakfast. But mainly, I’ve been working on my masterpiece: a single magnum opus tweet. I hope to finish it someday after I retire. . .

Why is this ridiculous? Because there is an inverse relationship between content length and content frequency. It’s impossible to write 150+ pages every morning and it’s silly to spend years writing 140 characters. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at content length and frequency.

I often recommend that people do more writing. I truly believe that writing is one of the best things you can do for your marketing. But when I tell people this, you can see a change in their eyes—they suddenly look nervous or even sad. “How am I going to fit this in?”

This article is not about the content or tone of writing. Of course, the style and substance will depend on what you’re writing. This article is about how much and how often to write. Think about these things, and it will be easier to commit to consistently producing material.

Here are some guidelines on average length and recommended frequency for various types of content.

When we plot this on a graph, it looks like this:

twitter chart

Notice the connection between brevity and frequency. The shorter the content, the more often you can create it.

Makes sense. How is this useful?

If you’re already creating content, check to see if the length and frequency line up. If you’re blogging 3 or 4 times a year, you may want to either blog more often OR write something longer on those rare months when you do find time. If you’re not already creating content, you can commit to writing by using these tips:

  1. Commit to a frequency, then choose length.
    Plan to write every week?  Shoot for a typical blog post length of around 250 words.
  2. Commit to a length, then choose frequency.
    Got a lot to say? If it’s going to take 1000 words, don’t expect to create that much content (and don’t expect people to read it) every two weeks.

 

Thinking this way should help you commit to a regular schedule.

In the end, it’s all just content…

Yes, I completely ignored some big issues: purpose, audience, style, substance. Of course, white papers and press releases are very different. Generally speaking, shorter content should be a bit more entertaining. Longer content is expected to be more informative, deeper and more educational.

But content is content. Regardless of the style and tone, many forms of content can and should be promoted through the same simple channels. That’s right:  Any content in the 100 – 1000 word range can be posted to a blog and promoted with email and Twitter. That’s why I didn’t add “email newsletter” to the list above.  Email is an easy way to promote any content longer than a tweet.

Content doesn’t care how it reaches the reader.  As readers, we all casually bounce between tweets, articles, books and any other content we find interesting or useful.  We find all types of content in all kinds of ways.

The key to reaching people is to bait the hook with any content you have and get it out into the water however you can. To do this on a regular basis, set realistic expectations with yourself about how often and how much you can write.

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Comments (3)
  • You inspire me, Andy. You are a natural leader… a “lead by example” guy. It’s admirable. And you are indeed an excellent writer. Great stuff!

  • Well thought out and concisely written. The best part is, you continually offer up innovative ideas. Keep up the awesome work, Andy!

  • Loving the graph, really outlines things well.

    A lot of expo experts recommend a 600 word minimum for articles. A 300 words can work though too if there is enough content outside of the article.

 
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