Editorial Theories on Article Length

What is a good article length to strive for?

When taking article length into consideration, the type of article needs to be addressed first. Do you have a full-length story to tell, or only a couple tips to share? Your audience should also be considered – do they read your content on the go? Or do they sit down with a tablet in the evenings, expecting high-quality long-form journalism?

Although there aren’t set specifications for article lengths, here a few audience development tips to keep in mind:

Article length tip #1: Make sure your article is long enough to provide value. This can be expressed as an actionable tip or a news piece with added insight. For a quick, informative read, 300-500 words can suffice.

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Article length tip #2: 100 words, and 300 characters. Do not use under 100 words or 300 characters if you want your content to have SEO value.

Article length tip #3: Make the article skimmable. The Internet culture is accustomed to skimming articles when they don’t want to read the entire piece, or if they are looking for specific information. Breaking the article into sections with the help of subheads allows you to make the article skimmable for any type of reader that’s interested in the content.

Article length tip #4: Use an article length appropriate to the content. Long-form journalism is finding a digital home due to the increasing popularity of tablets. Don’t feel you have to edit down every piece of content you produce.

Article length tip #5: In conjunction with tip #4, if you have a long piece of content, and want to find a way to get the most out of it, you can break it into a content series. Linking to all the associated articles will help drive users to each part. If the topic is popular, having a featured series go out in email newsletters may entice more email signups.

Do you have any rules you follow pertaining to article length? Please share your tips in the comments below.


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