For businesses and brands in all industries, establishing a strong and profitable online presence requires effective content that appeals to target audiences. But, if you’re new to creating written content, figuring out what length each type of content should be can be tricky.
When it comes to determining what length a piece of content should be, it largely depends on the type of content and its general purpose. In this guide, you’ll learn why length and word count matter and the ideal length for each content type.
Why content length matters
Content length is a core component of content marketing. The word count of a piece of content matters for a variety of reasons, including boosting audience engagement and improving your SEO ranking.
Here is a quick breakdown of four of the most important factors to consider regarding content word count and overall length:
- SEO ranking: Although Google says word count isn’t a direct factor for ranking, there is value in considering word count and length for your content. The length of your content can impact how in-depth your content is, the number of questions it answers (and to what degree it answers them), and the number of keywords you can include, ultimately impacting your SEO ranking. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and an SEO ranking is how high your content appears on search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google. The main types of content that affect your ranking with their length are blogs, articles, and web pages, though other types of content can impact it as well depending on where they appear online.
- Readability and scannability: Readability is paramount to the success of your content. Being strategic with copy—like using shorter, simpler words—can have an impact on how long visitors read your content and how much they understand. As for scannability, this is affected by the formatting and organization of your content. For example, is your list in bullet format or is it written as a paragraph? The former is typically easier for readers to scan and digest.
- Target audience: Knowing your audience is crucial. Some audiences will prefer long-form content, like blog articles or detailed web pages, that provide them with valuable knowledge. Meanwhile, other audiences prefer short-form content that gets directly to the point and clearly instructs them on how to proceed with a specific action.
- Content placement: The location of your content can decide the length as well. For example, social media platforms almost all have a character limit. This means that every word (and even punctuation) counts.
Keeping these three key factors in mind, let’s jump into the ideal lengths for different types of content.
The ideal length for blogs and articles
Blogs and articles are some of the most popular types of content you can find online today.
Though the words blog and article are sometimes used interchangeably (or as the singular term “blog article”), there is a difference in meaning between the two. Generally, the term blog is used to describe pieces of content that are 1,500 words or less and focused on an opinion or experience, while the term article is often used for pieces above 1,500 words and focused on hard facts and education.
Articles are also typically more detailed and include more external sourcing of information.
Additionally, both blogs and articles are used for a variety of different purposes, with each purpose requiring its own length range. While there are many different types of blogs and articles we could discuss, all of them tend to fall into one of three categories — response, staple, or pillar.
Below is an explanation of what these categories mean and the ideal length for each:
- Response blog posts – 1,500 words: A response post is the most common type of blog post. These types of blogs are meant to offer a quicker answer to a specific question.
- Staple blog posts – 2,500 words: A staple post is a long-form response post that answers a question and provides extra information and details. Staple posts generally range between 1,500 to 2,500 words. One commonly used example of a staple post is a how-to article that takes readers step by step through a process.
- Pillar blog posts – 3,000+ words: A pillar post is the longest type of blog and will typically have 3,000+ words. These types of posts are extremely detailed and cover topics that have a high search volume on search engines. Pillar posts are often used by blogs and websites to help increase their SEO ranking, as longer-form content helps rank higher for certain keywords
Considering these three types of posts, the overall average for the ideal length of blogs and articles is between 1,500 to 3,000 words total, with the sweet spot being around 2,500 words.
The key when writing blogs or articles is to have a clear understanding of the purpose each post serves and keep each blog or article you write within the length range of the post category it fits into. You should try to avoid writing blogs or articles that are longer than 5,000 words, as this length is better for long-form guides or ebooks. We’ll get to those later.
The ideal length for websites and landing pages
When creating a page for your website, you typically have at least one of these main goals in mind:
- To create a web page that ranks high on search engines
- To provide web visitors with a clear explanation of your brand, a product, or a service.
- To encourage web visitors to take a specific action (through a CTA).
The last two goals have more to do with the actual content on the page, while the first goal centers around two key factors — the length of your web page and the keywords used on it.
To understand how to create a web page that performs well on Google and other search engines, you must first understand how these search engines interpret and classify web pages.
As mentioned, keywords and total word count affect your ranking significantly — but why?
For starters, Google’s algorithm is responsible for generating SERPs and it values longer-form content that is above at very least 300 words total. Content that is shorter than 300 words is generally classified as low-quality, leading to a lower overall SEO ranking. As such, 300 words is the minimum length to aim for when writing a web page.
But when does a web page become too long?
In truth, your web pages can be as long as you want them to be, so long as the information provided serves the specific purpose you created the web page for.
Though total word count does matter on a web page, what matters infinitely more is how effective the copy on the page is. For instance, if you create a landing page for your new product line, this page should plainly describe the who, what, when, where, etc. about your products or services. While your language should be compelling, it should also be concise.
The ideal length for sales collateral
Sales collateral is a type of content that has the specific purpose of helping to move the sales process forward and take customers through the proper sales funnels.
There are many different types of sales collateral that often work in collaboration with each other to achieve successful sales funnels.
Four of the most useful types of sales collateral include:
- Sales scripts: Unlike many of the other forms of content discussed in this article, sales scripts are not intended to be read by the customer themselves. Instead, a sales collateral script is read aloud (although typically not word for word) by a customer service or sales representative to prospective customers.
- Brochures: Brochures have long been used as part of a sales strategy to help promote specific products or services. As the digital era of business continues to thrive, digital brochures have risen in popularity as an easy-to-digest type of content to distribute to potential customers.
- Fact sheets: A fact sheet is a promotional type of sales collateral content that is very concise. A well-written fact sheet will typically utilize bullet points to list out the main features and benefits of a specific product or service. Fact sheets will also often include links to longer explanations or sales pages where the reader can learn more about a product or service.
- Pitch decks: Pitch decks — sometimes called slide decks — are a type of presentation-oriented content commonly used when pitching your company’s products or services to corporate clients, investors, or other major business partners. Like fact sheets, pitch decks are extremely concise and often use bullet points to boost scannability and keep the information well-organized.
Now that we know what these types of sales collateral are and their general purposes, let’s dive into what the ideal length for each is.
Sales scripts have less to do with specific word counts and more to do with the length of time it takes to read them aloud. Additionally, many sales scripts will include different options for what to say next depending on how the customer responds to a certain question or statement.
Ideally, a sales script should take no longer than 15 to 30 minutes to read aloud. This generally equates to around 500 to 1,500 words, though this total word count can vary depending on how many alternative routes you include for different customer responses.
However, the introduction of a sales script should be considerably shorter than the rest of the script, as the introduction is where a customer will choose to either continue the conversation or end it.
As such, the introduction to a sales script should take no longer than 3 to 5 minutes to read aloud, or be roughly 200 to 500 words total. The introduction to your sales script should also be highly compelling to convince the listener that they want to learn more.
Brochures are a short-form type of sales collateral meant to intrigue a reader and entice them to get in contact with your team to find out more about specific products or services.
Since this type of content needs to be concise, you should strive to keep the length of your brochure between 200 to 350 words total. For more detailed brochures that are intended for customers who already have a base knowledge of your business, you can aim for between 350 to 450 words total.
Keep in mind that a brochure should be extremely scannable, so focus less on creating large blocks of text and more on writing compelling headlines and headers with concise descriptions or explanations.
Fact sheets are usually the shortest form of sales collateral, often including 200 words or less.
Moreover, these words should be organized with bullet points to make the fact sheet very fast and easy to read. The goal of the fact sheet is not to land a sale but rather to move the customer into the beginning of a sales funnel.
As you write your fact sheets, try to include statistics and other quantifiable information whenever possible. Quantifiable facts are crucial, as they help to show the real-life value a product or service has to offer.
Pitch decks are often used for spoken presentations, helping to introduce the main points you want to cover without overwhelming your audience with large walls of text on each side.
In terms of length, a pitch deck should typically be no longer than 20 slides, with around 50 to 60 words per slide. Remember that you will be presenting this pitch deck, so you can always expand upon the points listed on each slide verbally.
The ideal length for social media posts
Social media has become the content king in recent years — and for good reason.
With more than 4 billion social media users worldwide, having a strong presence on social platforms is essential. However, simply having branded social media accounts is not enough; you must also create optimized content that performs well on each platform.
Some of the top text-based social media platforms today include:
*Though Instagram is primarily an image-based platform, captions of photos are highly influential on engagement and should be optimized. Additionally, SaaS companies and others without a tangible product to sell will often lean on stylized text, leveraging their brand colors, fonts, and other design elements to create text-based posts that are visually compelling.
Here is the ideal length for posts on these three social platforms:
On Twitter, posts are referred to as “tweets” and include a character limit of 280 characters. As far as the ideal length of a Tweet goes, the sweet spot for Tweets is regarded as being between 70 to 120 characters. Additionally, to keep your Tweets within this limit, the language you use should be simple and concise, as this character limit does not allow for many words.
Instagram captions allow you to not only explain a photograph but also to promote a product or service.
On Instagram, the caption limit is 2,200 characters, though most Instagram users won’t generally read captions that use the full character limit. Instead, an optimized Instagram caption should be kept much shorter, ideally between 125 to 150 characters total.
If the content you’re sharing requires more exposition, consider implementing a “link in bio” that points to longer form versions of your social posts.
Facebook Posts offer one of the largest character limits, capping posts at 63,206 characters total.
However, like Twitter and Instagram, you should rarely use this full limit. In fact, Facebook posts between 50 to 200 characters total tend to perform the highest.
Think of it like this — rather than making the Facebook post your main source of content, these posts should instead be used to build hype and public interest by offering short explanations and links to longer-form content, like blogs or web pages.
The ideal length for guides and ebooks
Guides and ebooks can vary pretty drastically in length, depending on the purpose behind the piece of content. In general, a guide or ebook is often used as a lead magnet — a type of content offered to potential customers in exchange for a specific action, such as subscribing to an email list.
Both guides and ebooks can be either short-form or long-form. When used as lead magnets, these types of content should be easy and quick to read, keeping the total word count for short-form guides and ebooks between 2,000 to 5,000 words.
Ideally, a lead magnet should be readable within 10 to 20 minutes.
As for long-form guides and ebooks, these are often seen as sellable content that you can offer to customers as a product. Since they are often bought by customers, long-form guides and ebooks should offer a high level of detail and value, ranging between 5,000 to 10,000 words total.
As with blogs and articles, guides and ebooks should utilize headers, bulleted or numbered lists, and other structural writing devices to organize the content and make it highly readable and scannable.
The ideal length for emails and newsletters
For our last type of content, we’re talking about emails and newsletters.
Email marketing is one of the best tactics for lead nurturing, as it helps you to stay in contact with potential and existing customers.
As for how long an email or newsletter should be, there are different ideal lengths for each component of an email’s structure. An email structure is composed of three main parts — the subject line, the preview text, and the email body text. In a newsletter, the email body text is replaced with the newsletter content.
Let’s now look at each of these main components:
- Subject lines: The subject line of an email is the very first text a recipient will see and is generally regarded as the email’s title or headline. For a subject line to be effective, it should be short and snappy, ideally no more than 10 words or roughly 50 to 60 characters.
- Preview text: Below the subject line in an unopened email is the preview text. This text should offer a brief summary or preview of the content found in the email. For your entire preview text to show up in full, it should be kept short — between 30 to 90 characters, depending on the recipients email provider and settings.
- Email body copy: In a standard email, the ideal length for an email’s body text is between 50 and 125 words. Recipients spend about 10 seconds reading your email so the copy needs to be punchy and to the point. By making your emails short, you ultimately make them easier to fully read, making it more likely that you will receive a response or click.
- Newsletters copy: Newsletters can be a bit longer than normal emails, as they often cover multiple topics and offer previews of and links to longer-form content. However, a newsletter should still be kept relatively short, ideally between 200 to 300 words total, which equates to around 15 to 20 lines of text.
The bottom line
Written content is immeasurably useful for anyone trying to grow an online presence — but the success of your written content largely depends on how well you optimize it.
By sticking to the recommended lengths discussed here, you can create valuable content of all kinds that helps you increase your sales, boost your engagement, and establish an awesome online presence.