How to be a better financial writer [part 2]

And the award for perfect post length goes to...

300 words? 600 words? 1,700 words? 2,000 words?

Your audience has countless articles at their fingertips. So what’s the best word count to ensure they stick with yours?

Advice is all over the map. 

If you’ve ever wondered about how many words make up the perfect blog post, keep reading!

How do we love thee?
Let us word-count the ways

Last issue, we shared how each first draft at Finance Studio goes through two editorial reviews and how our editors apply our “SLACC” editing method, which stands for:

S – Structure
L – Length
A – Accuracy
C – Consistency
C – Clarity

While confirming that our  “Structure” criteria are met, our editors consider the second pillar of our editorial guidelines: Length.

First, here’s how a few other content pros weigh in on the subject:

Medium found posts taking an average of seven minutes to read, or about 1,600 words, garnered the highest engagement on the platform. Buffer says the same.

HubSpot says the ideal blog length is somewhere around 2,100 words.

Neil Patel in his Quick Sprout case study reveals 2,000 to 3,000 words is short enough where people will read it and long enough that you can go in-depth and provide value.

But blog length isn’t the only factor (for SEO, anyway) you also want to pay attention to:

  1. The number of outside domains linking to your website
  2. Your use of targeted keywords
  3. Your use of keywords in article subheaders
  4. How much time people spend on your site
  5. How short your post feels (meaning: does it have scannable headlines, bullet points, and bigger paragraphs at the beginning)

The long of it

The typical length of posts we deliver to clients usually falls between 1,000 to 2,000 words.

We find that when it comes to SEO, blog posts with at least 1,000 words usually perform better in search results for a few reasons.

For one, there’s more space to create a higher-quality reading experience for your audience and keep them reading longer.

But mainly, Google’s algorithm considered blog posts with less than 300 words “thin” by their standards. And Google is the standard.

4 more things that count

1. SEO practices and search engine algorithms are continually evolving

Google’s recent updates have focused more on the quality of content and its ability to answer user queries comprehensively, which could favor longer more detailed articles. 

While it’s important to keep a pulse on Google changes, it is overall user experience and interaction with your content that should be the primary consideration.

Factors such as thought leadership, presenting a hot take, readability, page layout, and mobile optimization play critical roles in how content is consumed.

If search engines detect readers staying with your content, you’re doing it right. 

2. Different demographics may have varying attention spans or informational needs

B2B readers, say, an institutional investor might prefer long and detailed content that delves deeply into complex financial subjects. 

A consumer fintech customer might appreciate shorter, more concise articles that quickly convey the key points. Tailoring the length of your content to match the preferences and expectations of your customers can boost engagement and retention rates.

3. The nature of the content can also help dictate optimal length 

How-to guides or tutorials might require a longer format to provide comprehensive instructions and ensure clarity. 

Thought leadership pieces, which aim to showcase expertise or introduce new perspectives tend to be lengthier to enable you to develop concepts thoroughly and convincingly. 

On the other hand, short and sweet case studies, updates or product reviews allow readers to grasp the essentials without a significant time investment.

Long-form content also helps search engines grasp the topic of your content more easily to rank it properly and place it in front of the right eyes.

A mix of long- and short-form content, with a few whitepapers sprinkled in for lead capture, is likely to perform better than a blast of 4,500-word articles, which can lead to reader fatigue and declining traffic.

4. Integrating visuals and multimedia

Readers do not have the same learning style. So infographics or video tutorials, which don’t require lengthy text, help keep content concise but make information accessible to visual learners and be more engaging across different audience segments.

The short of it

In the final analysis, it’s much less about word-count than about the value you provide to readers.

When your content is well researched, has a great title, uses targeted keywords in headers and subheads, relies on a solid structure, makes appropriate use of images and data, and contains a call-to-action that is a logical segue in your content funnel, it’s going to work exactly as it should.

Speaking of research … “Accuracy” is our next editorial step and the key to building bullet-proof confidence in your claims and increasing trust with readers.

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