One of the things that I'm really excited about is when I look at the traffic stats for my most popular articles. They are almost always also the longest ones. In other words, if you put in the work, long-form content absolutely works!
Here is a list of the top articles over the years:
- 2016 -
- 2015 -
- 2014 -
As you can see, the only one that stands out here is the one about in-app purchasing (which got seriously popular with 441,000 views). But I then followed it up with another more in-depth article that was 4,744 words long, or 18 pages, and that article was the 3rd most popular in 2014.
Mind you, I'm not saying that short-form content is failing, as such. The image below illustrate the popularity of all the articles I have posted this year (82,000 words / 500+ pages in total), and what you see is that both the shorter and the longer articles perform in a mixed type of way.
In other words, it's not really the length that defines the popularity. It's the content and the 'moment' it's designed for. But you will notice that the shorter articles are slightly less popular (on average) than the longer ones.
All of this follows several studies that we have seen recently. Like this one from PEW or this one from the American Press Institute.
Stop defining your content strategy by length. Define it by purpose, behaviors, needs, and moments.
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"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
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