We live in a world of nanosecond attention spans. One of the reasons why publications like USA Today came into being is because they wrote pithy, front page blurbs, used a lot of colorful graphs and visuals, and limited their story length to a few hundred words.

 As social media emerged, as marketers, we talked a lot about bite-sized or snack-sized pieces of content because the audience didn’t seem to have the tolerance for long-form information anymore. All of that makes the latest study from Orbit Media so interesting.

This is an annual survey with about 1,000 respondents who are all creating content for a business blog or website. Every year, data is gathered around the concepts of readership, interaction, content collaboration, and challenges and overall effectiveness.

The findings seem to defy the bite-sized content assumptions and suggest that people are actually experiencing better results when they write longer pieces based on data in keyword searches and other analytics.

Two of the most significant themes in this 2019 data show that:

 Bloggers who adopt the “more is better” attitude are getting better results. The respondents who are reporting the most engagement and ROI for their efforts are: 

Writing pieces that are 2,000+ words

Including several images per article or post (in some cases, over 10 per piece)

Crafting multiple headlines and testing them against the keywords and analytics before hitting the publish button

The 2018 study hinted that short, punchy content wasn’t delivering as well as expected, and marketers clearly took note and made some adjustments. 

Consistency matters. Bloggers who publish more often report stronger results. But there is a point of diminishing returns. The most common publishing frequency among the respondents was once a week. Those who publish multiple times a week or daily showed the highest level of engagement. 

 There is a direct correlation between the shift to meatier, longer content, and the publishing frequency. Thirty-eight percent of the respondents who said they spend more than six hours per article reported strong results. In 2014, the average blog post was written in just over two hours. Now, the average is almost four hours. 

The research also shows that the content creators who are using data to define and shape what they write are getting better results. The marketers most likely to report success have: 

Researched keywords and selected topics based on that data

Collaborated with others internally to develop the content

Use the insights from their analytics to guide future articles and topics

What are the takeaways for us?

Don’t dumb down our content to fit the snack-sized assumptions. Not only does this research support that theory, but Google has made it very clear that it prefers meatier content as well. Studies show that longer content produces higher search rankings and dominates page one of the search rankings.

Google has been clear that their algorithm prefers content-rich sites. It looks like Google also is drawn to articles of 2,000+ words.

Create a rhythm and stick to it. The good news is you don’t need to publish something new every day. But once a month isn’t going to cut it. Educational and helpful content creation needs to be a priority if you are counting on prospects finding you through search and coming back for more once they’ve found you. 

As you think about your 2020 marketing plan, hopefully, these insights will help you define your content strategy.