Suggested length: 1,000+ words
Unless you’ve already established a reputation as a thought leader in your space, your post probably needs to be more than a couple hundred words. It’s tough to become known as an authority if you never have much to say.
“What about Seth Godin? Doesn’t he write like 200 word posts all the time?”
Seth Godin is a New York Times bestselling author. He’s written like 20 books on marketing. He’s an outlier. He can write daily 200 word posts about whatever he wants and people will gobble them up because they already see him as an authority on marketing.
If you’re trying to establish yourself as a thought leader, you need to provide something more substantial.
Maybe you have access to data no one else does. Or a unique perspective or experience to speak into your industry.
When you take the time to share what makes your insights unique and explain where they come from, it’s easier for people to trust and appreciate them. Making unsupported assertions and stating uncited facts takes fewer words, but it doesn’t do much good in terms of building authority.
Our thought leadership piece on fintech blogging is about 3,300 words. It involved a lot of research, and if we’d cut the length of that post in half, it would’ve been a lot less helpful. (We’d probably have fewer fintech companies reaching out to us about content marketing opportunities, too.)
We recently created a visual guide to Cambridge Analytica that runs about 1,500 words. There were already thousands of articles about Cambridge Analytica, and many of them were comprehensive pieces that covered the whole story. People weren’t interested in reading another thorough post about Cambridge Analytica. But there was room for a more clear, concise explanation of what happened.
How long a thought leadership piece should be really depends on what you’re writing about. (More on that later.) But generally speaking, aiming for 1,000+ words is a safe bet.
I want to start a discussion
Suggested length: Doesn’t matter
If your goal is to start a discussion about a topic, these two things matter a lot more than the length of your post:
- How engaged your audience is.
- What you tell them to do.
The Write Practice recommends your blog posts be 275 words or less if you want to create a discussion, using a very short post with 300+ comments as an example.
If you actually look at their example though, you’ll see that it’s less about the length of the post and more about their call-to-action. (And probably, the fact that they have a large, engaged audience.)