There’s a big argument that’s been plaguing the expert SEO world for the past few years, and it’s one that doesn’t seem to have a clear winner: the argument about content length. Some businesses swear that their best success comes from in-depth, long-form content that goes in depth on a particular subject; others insist on what’s called ‘snackable’ content that can be consumed in 2 minutes or less. Yet more believe that mid-length content like the kind promoted by most WordPress SEO plugins is the way to go.
The truth is simple: all kinds of content can be winners. The choice between snackable and long-form content isn’t a choice between a ‘better’ and ‘worse’ form of content — it’s a choice between attracting different market segments.
- Long-form content is most attractive to people who are already experts in the subject, because it offers insight and angles on the topic that they might not already have, and experts crave that stuff. Most SEO-related content is long-form these days, because most people who Google SEO-related topics are experts in the first place.
- Mid-form content (like this blog post) is most attractive to people who interact with the topic, but don’t live it. The middle management guy who heads the expert’s department, or a student who has yet to get a job in the field, for example. Most customer-service-related content is in this format, because very few people are genuinely “customer service experts.”
- Short-form ‘snackable’ content has the broadest target audience by far: anyone who is interested in the topic, but doesn’t necessarily interact with it directly (much/yet). Note that this can potentially be anyone if the content itself is provocative, because as the guy who invented TED talks says, “knowledge itself is interesting.”
Why Choose Snackable Content?
Snackable content is the easiest to share on social media, because it’s much more socially acceptable to send your grandma, spouse, and best friend from high school an interesting 2-minute skim than it is to send them a 25-minute in-depth tome.
Snackable content is the cheapest to produce for a few reasons. First, you don’t need an expert to create it. Second, it’s short, which means less cost per-word or per-minute or whatever. Finally, because it’s intended to be super-sharable, you don’t need to spend as much expert SEO time on it.
The best course of action for a comprehensive content marketing/SEO strategy is to mix and match — create bits of content at all lengths. Just do about 1 long-form to 2 mid-length to 4 snackable pieces, adjusted to match your target market segment of course.